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Practice report, 8/2: Odell Beckham buzz highlights Thursday’s practice

Let’s get to that and other takeaways from the seventh practice of training camp

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWOR

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There was lots of action on the field at Thursday’s New York Giants training camp practice, and plenty of wondering what might be going off of it. Let’s get to your practice report, so we can explain.

Beckham buzz

Beginning with a morning report that Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants had begun contract negotiations, there was plenty of Beckham buzz around the Giants’ practice facility on Thursday.

Co-owner John Mara was at practice. Several members of the Tisch family appeared to be at practice, though we did not see Steve Tisch. Beckham’s agent, Zeke Sandhu, was at practice and was spotted chatting with Assistant GM and Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Abrams.

Thus, plenty of speculation that something could be going on with Beckham’s contract. Nothing concrete, of course, but lots of interesting signs that there is movement toward a new deal for the star wide receiver.

“We basically did it for the fans”

That is how head coach Pat Shurmur described his reasoning for changing the team’s practice schedule. Prior to Thursday, each public Giants practice had begun at 2:45 p.m. ET. Thursday, the Giants started at 10:30 a.m., a schedule they will keep the next two days.

There is a concert at MetLife Stadium featuring Beyonce and Jay Z on Thursday night, and the early practice helped avoid traffic tie-ups.

“We wanted to make sure that they had a Giants experience today, so we practiced in the morning,” Shurmur said.

The coach also admitted he likes the idea of changing up the schedule, giving players something new to deal with.

“It’s not sudden change, but it’s change and they’ve gotta deal with it,” Shurmur said. “We’ve gotta perform at a high level whether we’re playing at 1 (p.m.) or 7 or playing in the parking lot, on a rooftop, on turf, grass. So, changing the schedule and making them adjust I think is a good thing.”


Let’s get to some of the action on the field

Another way to use Saquon

Twice on Thursday the Giants motioned Saquon Barkley out of the backfield and split him wide to the left side of the formation, forcing single coverage. Eli Manning successfully hit Barkley on short crossing routes both times.

Barkley had a limited workload on Thursday.

“We’re just managing him, like everybody,” Shurmur said. “He’s had a really, really big workload. This was a day for no reason other than, OK, just a little bit less.”

Eli had a nice day

Old man Eli Manning showed off some arm strength on Thursday with nice deep balls to Kalif Raymond and Sterling Shepard. Manning also had plenty on a mid-range shot across the middle to Shepard.

Speaking of Raymond, he made several catches on Thursday

Erratic day for Davis Webb

The second-year quarterback was excellent this spring, and in the early practices. Thursday, he forced a ball down the middle for Amba Etta-Tawo that B.W. Webb picked off, then he missed a couple open receivers and air-mailed a throw down the middle to, well, no one.

There was, though, one brilliant throw — a deep out to Rhett Ellison dropped over defensive back Orion Stewart and just in bounds.

Cornerback depth

Do the Giants have enough depth at corner? That has been a question on the minds of many.

“We like our corners and we like that group, but with any group we’re always looking to improve in any way. You can just fill in the blanks on a position and I will give you that very same answer,” Shurmur said.

Where’s the pass rush?

Through the first few practices of training camp, the Giants offensive line was clearly struggling to contain the pass rush from James Bettcher’s defense. Thursday, pressure on quarterbacks was at a minimum. Maybe there weren’t as many blitzes, it was hard to tell. Still, encouraging work from the first-team offensive line.

Kyle Lauletta’s ups and downs

The fourth-round pick from Richmond has been throwing the ball more accurately and more decisively in recent practices I’ve seen, and that continued Thursday. Lauletta threw several nice balls, a deep one to Alonzo Russell, a deep out to Marquis Bundy that was nicely timed and a nice quick out to Bundy in a tight window. Then, Lauletta went and undid much of Thursday’s good work by throwing a pick to cornerback Kenneth Durden. From my vantage point, it simply looked like Lauletta misread the coverage and didn’t expect a defender to be there.

Practice notes

  • Curtis Riley (hamstring), Donte Deayon (hamstring), linebacker Thurston Armbrister and defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson did not practice. With Tomlinson not working, Kerry Wynn took first-team reps at defensive end.
  • Thursday was Darian Thompson’s turn to work with the first-team defense at free safety.
  • Don’t forget the Big Blue View meet-up on Friday morning. Look for the Big Blue View flag in the parking lot, which will be manned by BBV’s Dan Pizzuta. Yours truly will stop in for as long as I can before getting over to practice.