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Pat’s Perspectives: Thoughts from the first week of training camp

Communication on defense, the daily temperature take, and admiration for Corey Ballentine highlight this week’s thoughts

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWORK

And just like that, one week of training camp is in the books.

Big Blue View has been doing its best to keep you up to speed with the big stories, but as always, there are a few leftover crumbs worth talking about, so let’s get right into them.

The defense

Every year the defense always starts ahead of the offense — that’s just the nature of the beast.

But this year, I’ve noticed that the defense doesn’t have nearly as many busted coverages or missed assignments has it did in the past after one week of camp.

The reason for that has been communication.

“I think the communication has been great,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “For the first two days, all the camps I’ve been in, I can say that’s been good. You’re going to make some mistakes as far as technique-wise, but as far as communication, I think we’ve been doing a good job so far.”

We hear the word “communication” tossed around a lot, but without action backing it, communication can be sketchy at best.

For example, at any given time on the practice field, you’ll see cornerback Janoris Jenkins taking the lead and approaching youngsters like DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal after a play, or Bethea meeting with Jabrill Peppers or Julian Love as they jog back to the huddle.

Now I don’t know what’s being said, but I’m pretty sure they’re not talking about last night’s dinner.

The point is there is instruction going on not just from the coach, who is one man presiding over nearly a dozen defensive backs. It’s coming from the veterans who are out there and seeing things firsthand.

And speaking of communication, in the spring I made light of the fact that the Giants defense was becoming “Arizona East” with all the former Cardinals players signing here, but this is actually one spoke in Dave Gettleman’s off-season roster-building plan.

These former Cardinals know defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s scheme, having played in it. So, they sort of serve as “player-coaches” when something doesn’t quite go according to plan on a play and share the benefit of their experience with their younger teammates.

The result, as noted, is fewer busted plays and fewer yards allowed. Whether that translates to fewer points allowed remains to be seen, but the early results certainly look promising.

The daily temperature take

During the latest Big Blue View podcast that I taped with Ed Valentine, I interrupted him when he brought up Daniel Jones and joked about how I thought that after a few days, questions about Jones would start to die down.

They have not, and I’m starting to think they won’t even though Jones is probably not going to get any snaps in a game that counts for as long as this team is in the playoff hunt.

Now I understand why the questions are asked and why there is such daily interest given Jones’ draft pedigree. But I also have to agree with head coach Pat Shurmur about taking the temperature of where Jones is in his development every day.

I wrote for Forbes that I view Jones’ progress like being on a weight loss diet. If you are trying to lose weight and you weigh yourself every day, chances are you’re going to have days when you lose, days when you stay the same, and maybe even days where the scale creeps up a little bit.

But if you weigh yourself once a week, you’ll get to see a more significant weight loss number (assuming you’ve been good) that will really get you excited.

It’s the same thing with Jones. He’s going to have good days and bad days. There will be days when he doesn’t look any better.

Unfortunately, the constant charting of his pass attempts and completions you see in camp reports doesn’t tell the entire story. Questions such as how was the ball thrown, did he make the right read, did the defense do a nice job breaking up the pass, was the ball dropped and more are all part of the big picture.

That was Shurmur’s point, and he’s right. And this is all stuff that we’ll be able to see more clearly once Jones gets into a game, where, by the way, the quarterbacks aren’t allowed to wear the red “do not touch” jerseys they wear in practice.

Rookie respect

Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s not uncommon for newcomers to have to earn their stripes with their co-workers.

Well, if Corey Ballentine, who by the way is having himself a strong start to the summer, hasn’t earned the respect of his teammates, coaches, and fans by now, then something is wrong.

We all know what happened to Ballentine after he was drafted. What’s been impressive about this whole tragedy is how he’s handled it.

I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to not only take a bullet to your body but to watch your best friend be struck down before your eyes.

In his first public comments since that horrible evening, Ballentine revealed that the Giants have been tremendously supportive of him, offering counseling and other resources to help him deal with the tragedy at his own pace.

In listening to Ballentine speak, he not only was grounded, but he also seemed to find a balance between never forgetting Dwane Simmons, his friend who was taken from this world that night and wanting to move on to the future.

While I am not trying to compare Ballentine’s situation with football, that kind of emotional resiliency is going to serve this young man well when he does get on the field. Even the best cornerbacks get burned every so often. Some forget about it and move on, and others cling to their misfortunes.

Ballentine strikes me as a young man who will fall in the former category, and that’s going to be a tremendous asset in his toolbox as he begins this NFL journey.