EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The northern New Jersey weather finally decided to play nice, allowing a few brave fans who stuck out a torrential downpour that happened less than an hour prior to the start of the team’s sixth training camp practice.
The practice, by the way is the first of what head coach Pat Shurmur hopes will be at least three padded practices this week. The giants head coach told me that he’ll adjust accordingly based on the health of the players, but he is otherwise not planning to let up on the intensity of the practices by going easy on guys unless he has to.
So, what did we learn from today? Read on…
Shurmur became a little frustrated in his daily press conference when he was asked about injured players. He stopped the questions by pretty much telling reporters to look to see who was out there and who wasn’t.
Running back Jonathan Stewart returned to work after getting a planned day off Monday. Defensive backs Donte Deayon and Curtis Riley, both of who are dealing with hamstrings, remained sidelined. Also sidelined was backup linebacker Thurston Ambrister (unknown).
Running back Paul Perkins (NF-Injury) and defensive tackle R.J. Mcintosh (NF-Illness) remain sidelined.
A familiar sight
The crowd who stuck around for today’s practice got to see an all-too familiar sight from last year: quarterback Eli Manning taking off when his protection broke down.
Manning actually managed to gain about 10 yards on the rush, which delighted the crowd, but pardon me if I say I found the play concerning after seeing Manning take so many beatings and having to scramble for his life behind last year’s offensive line.
Fortunately, though, that was an isolated incident as the offensive line actually looked its best of the camp so far.
For most of the summer the Giants’ front seven was having its way with the first-team offensive line. Not so much today.
Both offensive tackles (Nate Solder and Ereck Flowers) had a solid showing. Solder kept Manning clean when he picked up a blitzing Alec Ogletree and drove him out of the picture.
The line also delivered the goods in the run blocking department on this beauty by Saquon Barkley.
The Giants waived offensive lineman Jarron Jones, as first reported by Dan Duggan. They were awarded OL Victor Salako (6-6, 316 pounds) off waivers from the Browns (in case anyone is wondering, the Giants are second in the waiver list priority order; I believe that re-sets after four weeks into the regular season).
It’s not clear if Jones was waived injured, but with the team down one offensive tackle for this practice, John Jerry stepped in to take snaps at right tackle with the third-string offensive line.
How did he do? You ask? I can best summarize that by saying that one two plays he was beaten by the defender and resorted to an illegal take-down of the first guy and a hold of the second.
Speaking of the tackles, the coaches switched Chad Wheeler and Nick Becton, who had been playing right and left tackle with the second-string offensive line.
Some speculated it was to give Wheeler a break from having to deal with Connor Barwin, who has made him look silly at times, but I wonder if perhaps the coaches are trying Wheeler back at left tackle since that is the position where he played most of his college career and where he would presumably be comfortable.
The linebackers are back, baby!
If you’re not old enough to remember the glory days of the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” — the nickname given to the Giants linebackers of the 1980s, you might just be in for a nice treat this year if this current group of Giants linebackers continues on the path they’ve started since the spring.
First, B.J. Goodson had himself probably his best practice of the summer. He laid a shoulder against Rhett Ellison which knocked the big tight end to the wet grass after he made a catch and came up with several other plays against the run by filling holes.
Alec Ogletree, who has also had a nice camp so far, was the guy who tipped a Manning pass at the line of scrimmage that ultimately fell into safety Landon Collins’ waiting arms for a Pick-6.
Not to be outdone, Mark Herzlich, working at inside linebacker with the second team defense, trucked receiver Kalif Raymond after a reception. Raymond got up and took inventory of his wits before going back to the huddle, but it was an authoritative hit.
Safety dance continues
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who is still trying to figure out who will be Collins’ partner at safety, tried William Gay back there for a play.
Gay has been working mainly as the slot cornerback, so when he came out of that role, B.W. Webb stepped in for him. I don’t remember seeing Gay at safety for more than a play or two, so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that the coaches weren’t thrilled with what they saw.
The Giants situation of the day (as in situational football) was the two-minute drill. In a word: sloppy.
There was a dropped pass in the end zone (I didn’t see who it was) and the offense didn’t score, and this was after the drill started at half speed so that the guys could presumably see how things needed to play out.
After practice, the offense was right back on the field for some extra work — I’m not sure if it was the two-minute drill, but it was extra work that was probably very much needed.
Kalif Raymond shines
Raymond had himself a nice practice today, catching a couple of tough balls. I already mentioned the play in which he got trucked by Herzlich.
Earlier in the practice, Raymond was no match for safety Andrew Adams and cornerback Grant Haley as he dashed down the sideline while Odell Beckham Jr. gave Raymond an escort.
- Tight end Evan Engram had a dropped pass today. By my unofficial count, he’s now dropped at least one in each of the last two practices. Last year he led all NFL tight ends with 11 dropped balls.
- Over the last two practices, the Giants offense has had a couple of plays where they have failed to snap the ball before the play clock expired. That can’t be making Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula happy.
- As has been the case throughout the summer, Odell Beckham Jr. stayed after practice to do some work with quarterback Eli Manning.
The Giants are changing things up Thursday as far as the schedule is concerned. They’ll be practicing at 10:45 a.m., so be sure to set your alarms and plan your day accordingly.