Hey, Giants fans! My name is Jeremy Reisman and I’m the managing editor over at Pride of Detroit, the SB Nation blog for the Detroit Lions. I’m here at the request of your glorious leader Ed Valentine to bring you personal observations from Tuesday’s joint practices between the Lions and Giants. While I’m sure many of you know the Giants a little better than I do, I think I’ll be able to put the Giants’ performance into context in a unique way, considering I know a lot about the players they’re going against. With that in mind, and a little guidance as to what may interest you, here are some observations from Tuesday’s practice about the Giants, but from a Lions point of view.
Slay vs. Beckham
Let’s be honest, you were going to skip to this section first, so I may as well lead with it. We’ve seen Odell Beckham Jr. and Darius Slay face off twice before, but both matchups underwhelmed. In the first, Slay left the game in the first half with an injury. In the second, Beckham was coming off an injury of his own and didn’t quite look like himself.
Tuesday, both looked full speed, and I must admit, Beckham got the better of Slay. The 2017 Pro Bowl cornerback has looked unbeatable in all of training camp, but it’s clear he hasn’t been lined up against anyone the likes of Beckham. Odell wasn’t completely dominant, but he consistently had a step on Slay and Eli Manning was able to find him more often than not.
Also, during individual drills Beckham roasted rookie undrafted free agent Chris Jones for a bomb, which isn’t a nice thing to do to a guy with no chance of making the team.
Kyle Lauletta getting the rookie treatment
I heard y’all have a backup quarterback battle brewing, and nothing grabs more headlines than a backup QB battle.
Well, on Tuesday, it didn’t look like much of a battle. It’s not that Kyle Lauletta looked bad—he didn’t. It’s that the Giants barely gave him a shot. During one-one-one drills, Lauletta was busy checking down to running backs against linebackers, while Eli and Davis Webb were throwing bombs to the wide receivers vs. corners.
And when it came to full 11-on-11 drills, I could count the amount of reps for Lauletta on two hands. Toward the end of practice, each team (first, second, and third) got a single drive against the opposing defense. Lauletta didn’t even get a full drive. He split it with Alex Tanney.
As for Webb, he had a very inconsistent day. He threw a couple deep dimes during the one-on-ones, but when it came to the full 11-on-11s, he looked much more uncomfortable. He sailed a handful of passes Tuesday, and when the Lions came with an A-gap blitz, you could see the panic in Webb, as he sailed a pass well over the receiver’s head and was nearly intercepted.
It’s hard for me to give an honest review of Lauletta at this point in considering the very limited sample size, but it’s clear to me the Giants coaching staff isn’t ready to hand the fourth-round rookie too many responsibilities at this point.
Saquon looks fine
I’m no doctor, but I wouldn’t expect Saquon Barkley to miss any time once the regular season rolls around. Though he obviously didn’t practice on Tuesday, he did just about everything else the coaches would let him. He was even sporting pants and a helmet—missing only the shoulder pads.
You can see above, he went through the motions of position drills early in the day before taking the rest of practice off.
While I’m not going to sit here and tell you Team A was better than Team B, I will say that the Giants were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball when the first teams were facing off. Jonathan Stewart seemed to slip through considerably-sized holes on a fairly regular basis. While that isn’t all that surprising from Detroit’s point of view—the Lions’ front seven is the team’s biggest weakness—it’s definitely good news for the Giants.
When the Lions had the ball, the trenches were a little more evenly matched. Though the Lions running game continued to struggle, Matthew Stafford sat pretty comfortably in the pocket for much of the day. However, when it the second and third teams took the field, it was clear the Lions’ offensive line depth was no match for the Giants’ defensive line depth.
However, the Lions’ skill position evened out the day. Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay made some impressive catches over Eli Apple and Curtis Riley. Additionally, the Lions running backs—specifically Theo Riddick and rookie Kerryon Johnson—were giving Giants linebackers fits in the passing game. To be fair, those guys have been embarrassing Lions linebackers all camp, too.
As for Eli Manning, I came away more impressed than not. He has a pretty clear command of the offense and looked decisive and comfortable the entire day. Perhaps it was just the juxtaposition next to Webb, but there was a certain command to the offense when Manning was in that made the Giants look efficient. The same can’t be said when Webb was i.
However, Manning’s day ended with a poor read on a two-minute drill, leading to an interception by Lions safety Glover Quin. That’s the Eli Manning I know.
If you want my Lions observations from Tuesday’s practice, head over to Pride of Detroit.
Our thanks to Jeremy for the extra work he has done for us here. Hope you all appreciate it.