Saquon Barkley is back to full practice for the New York Giants. After missing time with a hamstring injury, the rookie running back has practiced fully the past two days as the Giants prepare for Thursday’s preseason finale against the New England Patriots.
“He had a good day. He’s been practicing. Practiced well yesterday and today. He looked good,” coach Pat Shurmur said on Monday. “You can reveal to the world that he’s out here practicing full. Let’s reveal it. I know there’s – sometimes when you’re up here and you hear the questions, I see it differently because I’m on the behind-the-scenes day-to-day, but he’s doing very well.”
That’s good news for the Giants, who will be able to pair Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. with quarterback Eli Manning when they open the season Sept. 9 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here are some other takeaways from Shurmur’s Monday session with the media.
No going easy at practice
The Giants practiced in full pads Sunday and Monday despite having just played the New York Jets and with a preseason game Thursday against the New England Patriots.
“I think we tried to take advantage of the heat and the pads and did a little bit of extra conditioning – pursuit drill and then kind of a tempo no-huddle drill for the offense just to take advantage of this heat,” Shurmur said. “When you don’t have the padded practices and the heat goes away, we’re done with it so we took advantage of it today. I thought the guys responded and we got a lot done.”
Connor Barwin returns to practice
The veteran outside linebacker, out since the first preseason game, returned to practice on Monday. Barwin has been suffering with a knee injury. His return is good news with Olivier Vernon now potentially sidelined for the season opener with an ankle injury.
“He was out there today,” Shurmur said. “Probably did the most in practice he’s done in a while and so we’ll just see how the knee responded when we go in here this afternoon.”
Romeo Okwara stepping up?
Okwara, who could be on the roster bubble, got some first-team reps in Vernon’s place on Monday.
“He’s done a good job,” Shurmur said. “He’s actually – he’s caught our eye again. I tend to watch edge players so Romeo and obviously what Lorenzo’s (Carter) been doing. They can crank up the pass rush and I think he did a good job today based on what I saw.”
Expectations for 2018
There really aren’t any for the Giants after a 3-13 season.
“I just told the team today, and I’ll say this, I’m not into predictions. I’m not into – I told the team today really don’t worry about Jacksonville, let’s just make the rest of today as good as it can be and then we’ll see where we go with it,” Shurmur said. “I remember the feeling we had last year [in Minnesota], Sam Bradford gets hurt, Teddy’s (Bridgewater) not in there, we start Case Keenum and everybody was – and the message was hey let’s have a really good practice and get ready to play the next opponent and then let’s just be better than them on that Sunday and see where it all falls.
“I’m not smart enough to predict, but I’m smart enough to stay in the moment and try to make it as good as it can be.”