EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Training camp is off and running with Day 1 of practice is in the books for the New York Giants. The biggest story of the day is that wide receiver Sterling Shepard has suffered a fractured thumb and will be “week to week,” per the team.
We saw and heard from Daniel Jones. Kurt Warner was on hand to talk about Eli Manning. We heard from several players.
Below, our summary of what happened as the Giants got their 2019 season underway.
Daniel Jones says his focus is on improving. pic.twitter.com/01dOK75Nk5— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) July 25, 2019
Daniel Jones’ day
The rookie quarterback’s public day began with a press conference during which he deflected questions about competing with Eli Manning or when he might get to play. He said again and again that he was focused on improving. Jones, in fact, used the word “improve” eight times during his presser.
“You know, I think individually my focus is just to improve. Use these next couple days to pick up where I left off, to pick up where we left off. You know, every day improve, and what that looks like down the road, I’m not sure. My focus is on improving today and tomorrow and taking those steps.”
Jones then went out and showed during practice that he does, indeed, still have work to do.
He went 6-of-14 during four separate 11-on-11 stretches, beginning his day with an 0-for-6. To be fair, one of those was a deep ball that was dropped by a wide open Bennie Fowler. Jones was never intercepted, but he did throw a couple of balls that were batted and volley-balled around before falling incomplete.
Before practice, coach Pat Shurmur spoke about what he wanted from Jones during training camp.
“We’re going to try to have him continue with what he’s learned. I think the rookie camp was a continuation of what he learned in the spring. Each day he’ll build on that knowledge. It’s full steam ahead with him,” Shurmur said.
That didn’t take long
The Giants weren’t through their first 11-on-11 session with the first team offense and defense before a “We want Daniel” chant broke out in the stands.
Manning likely didn’t hear it. His next throw, though, was an excellent sideline ball to Sterling Shepard.
I did not total Manning’s completions for the day, but he was crisp throwing the ball and had a nice day — aside from an ugly screen pass intended for Saquon Barkley that was picked off by Lorenzo Carter.
Carter had a nice day
Well, I should say he made two really nice plays. The pick on the screen to Barkley was a diving one where he got in between Manning and Barkley. Right before that, with the offense hurrying to the line of scrimmage, Carter — with backside contain — diagnosed a reverse to Golden Tate and ran the receiver down before he could turn the corner and get upfield.
The Giants desperately need Carter to become a play-making force off the edge in his second NFL season. Thursday, those two plays offered hope that he might be able to do that.
The “All Ball” t-shirt Giants players have been given, modeled above by safety Michael Thomas, was not coach Pat Shurmur’s idea. The coach did approve it, but the idea came from Giants’ PR man Pat Hanlon.
“I think it can mean different things to different people,” Shurmur said. “I talk all the time that it’s all about the ball. It’s also about ‘let’s keep the focus on playing football.’ Each player may have a little different interpretation of what that is. But it’s kind of nice when we all get a new t-shirt.”
The brand is alive and well
A certain former Giants wide receiver claimed to have been keeping the team’s brand alive. It certainly appeared to be alive and well on Thursday, with a full and lively crowd in attendance for the first practice of training camp.
Giants fans enjoying training camp. pic.twitter.com/yoICoiyG8h— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) July 25, 2019
Manning also had a response to the Odell Beckham Jr. “brand” comment:
Eli on OBJ's comments that he was reason why Giants were in prime time often: "I don't think they bothered me. You just kind of shake your head and laugh. ... I won a few games before he was here."— Jeremy Bergman (@JABergman) July 25, 2019
— Evan Engram, who missed five games with injuries in 2018
Giants wide receivers and tight ends know they will likely be asked to do more this season with Beckham gone.
“That’s kind of an offense-wide mindset we have. There are going to be more opportunities for everybody. We’ve all been working our butts off this offseason, and the coaches have been doing a really good job putting together a game plan and giving the ball to our playmakers,” Engram said. “Definitely for myself, and I know for my teammates and for the other playmakers on our team, we understand it is a big opportunity for all of us.”
Evan Engram on increased opportunities in the passing game pic.twitter.com/KCIN19j8BE— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) July 25, 2019
Saquon out wide
It’s way too early to make too much fuss over a single play, but I have to point out one play I really liked from Thursday. The Giants motioned Saquon Barkley out of the backfield to the left, forcing the defense to adjust and winding up with Barkley 1-on-1 with Janoris Jenkins. That created a 1-on-1 matchup on the other side with Engram and Jabrill Peppers, and resulted in a quick completion to Engram.
I saw it an an example of how the Giants can get mileage out of Barkley’s skillset even when he doesn’t get the ball.
- As promised, left tackle Nate Solder and right tackle Mike Remmers were on the field. Both worked with the first team, though Brian Mihalik (left tackle) and Chad Wheeler (right tackle) got some first-team reps late in practice.
- It appeared that Jon Halapio took most of the first-team center reps, though Spencer Pulley got some.
- Defensively, Kareem Martin and Markus Golden split reps at one of the outside linebacker spots. Golden, who tore an ACL in 2017 and came back midway through last season, did not work during mandatory mini-camp.
- First-round picks DeAndre Baker and Dexter Lawrence worked with the first team defense. Sam Beal worked with the second group.
- Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta split third-team quarterback reps.
Play of the day
That goes to cornerback Antonio Hamilton. He stripped running back Rod Smith of the ball after Smith had cut back and was 1-on-1 with the corner. Hamilton swiped at the ball, stripped it, scooped and scored.
Kurt Warner on what Manning will deal with
Kurt Warner was the man Manning replaced as Giants’ quarterback. He knows what’s coming for the 16-year veteran.
“When you’re the veteran guy and you know there’s a guy behind you that eventually is going to play it was always one of those things where you had to fight not playing worried about making a mistake or getting tight and playing differently than you did before.”
Warner knows the question that will always be in Manning’s mind is “how long is my leash?”
“Go play. You’ve gotta play your game and if you don’t you’re not going to hold the job for very long anyway.”
Remaining Practice Schedule
Friday, July 26 — 2:45 p.m. (Closed)
Saturday, July 27 — 2:45 p.m. (Public)
Sunday, July 28 — 2:45 p.m. (Public)
Tuesday, July 30 — 2:45 p.m. (Public)
Wednesday, July 31 — 2:45 p.m. (Public)
Thursday, August 1 — 2:45 p.m. (Closed)
Friday, August 2 — 2:45 p.m. (Public)
Saturday, August 3 — 2:45 p.m. (Closed)
Monday, August 5 — 10:45 a.m. (Closed)
Tuesday, August 6 — 10:45 a.m. (Public)
Sunday, August 11 — 10:45 a.m. (Public)
Monday, August 12 — 10:45 a.m. (Public)
Tuesday, August 13 — 10:45 .m. (Public)