It’s not just rookies and veteran players who would be considered low-hanging fruit at the bottom of the roster who are being coached hard by Joe Judge and his staff. Star running back Saquon Barkley said earlier this week that he wanted to be coached.
“I feel like the only way you can improve is by being coached. Obviously, I’m not naïve to the fact that I was blessed with a tremendous talent,” Barkley said. “The way you improve on that is by focusing on little things, focus on the details and listen to your coaches.”
At Tuesday’s practice, a fully-padded, physical two-hour affair that featured pushing and shoving between rookie offensive lineman Shane Lemieux and defensive tackle RJ McIntosh, Barkley got his wish. Pat Leonard tweeted that “the head coach set a tone that he will go after the team’s highest-profile player.”
“We coach everyone the same,” coach Joe Judge said during his post-practice videoconference. “We’re trying to demand the best out of everybody and make them improve every day. We’re not letting details slip.”
Judge said his team has responded well thus far to how hard it is being coached.
“The thing I’m most impressed with is how coachable this team is. They come in here every day they’re looking for details, they’re looking for coaching points. They want to improve. They want to do better. They understand it’s about the message, not how the message is always delivered. We coach hard, we’re very demanding. This is a tough job,” Judge said.
“We’re in New York City. This is a tough place to play and coach. We have to have guys with thick skin and understand we have to operate in high-pressure situations. We can’t go out there on the practice field and just sing Kumbaya together if we’re going to advance.”
Ralph Vacchiano tweeted that the two-hour practice was “very intense, hard-hitting ... Very old school.”
Already thin at cornerback, Corey Ballentine appears to have escaped serious injury after a scare on Tuesday evening. That’s good, since Ballentine could end up starting alongside James Bradberry.
Giants got a scare when CB Corey Ballantine went down after getting hit by WR Austin Mack in 1 on 1 tackling drill.— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) August 18, 2020
The cart came out for Ballentine, who appeared to hurt his shoulder. Ballentine never left on the cart and was able to finish practice.
Judge said after practice that Ballentine was “good to go.” He had no information on wide receiver Cody Core, who also left practice with an apparent injury.
The Giants were doing a rarely seen full tackling drill when Ballentine got hurt.
Joe Judge explained drill w/Ballentine injury scare. Basically offensive guy w/ball lines up 5 yards from defensive player on goal line. Ball carrier tries to run full speed through defender, who is tackling to ground. Judge said he’s done drill for 10 yrs, even during season— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 19, 2020
“We can’t get the guys ready to drive on I-95 by riding on back roads,” Judge said. “If we think the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming in here to hug us we’re all sadly mistaken. We have to train these guys in a physical manner to make it safe to play the game the eway the game’s played.”
Judge said the tackling drill is a “safe drill” in a “controlled space.” The coach admitted there can be a “shock factor” the first time fans or media see the drill.
The laps continue
Rookie Cam Brown apparently learned a hard lesson on Tuesday.
Rookie Cam Brown got reemed out by LB coach Bret Bielema late in the workout for lack of hustle and had to run TWO laps while the rest of the team practiced.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) August 18, 2020
Running back Wayne Gallman ran a lap for the second straight day.
Judge was asked about the criticism from Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe and others over making players run those laps.
“Everything we do has a purpose, and we’re very intent on explaining to our team why we’re doing things we’re doing,” Judge said. “I’m a big believer in educating our team in why we’re doing things, that we’re not just blindly out there winging it and trying to go ahead and force punishment.
“When you make mistakes on the field there’s consequences. In a game it’s penalty yards. At practice we have to understand there’s consequences for mistakes. This isn’t a punishment.”
A few clips and tweets from those in attendance as yours truly was not in East Rutherford for this workout.
This was pretty #TogetherBlue | @drivetoyota pic.twitter.com/WZS2zcUp77— New York Giants (@Giants) August 19, 2020
Some takeaways:— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 19, 2020
Rookie OT Andrew Thomas had ups and downs in 1 on 1 drills. Crushed w/bull rush by Zo Carter. Life as a rookie tackle
Best OT on field? Cam Fleming. Looks comfy at RT
Sterling Shepard looks really good so far. Caught TD vs Bradberry in live drills
Rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas was worked over pretty good in one-one- drills by Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Kyler Fackrell and Leonard Williams. They seemed to enjoy taking the first-round pick to school, too.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) August 18, 2020
Dexter Lawrence focused on fitness
“I didn’t really like my build last year, so this year I tried to focus on losing a little bit of weight so I can be better on the field,” Lawrence said. “I’m out there running and I feel a lot better than I did last year.
“That’s just a goal for me each year. To feel better and be better.”
Kevin Zeitler: Andrew Thomas “naturally gifted”
“The biggest thing I’d say is, obviously, he’s naturally gifted right off the bat,” he said. “But the way he approaches every day. He comes in to get better every day, he’s working hard, he’s taking in coach’s advice. Day by day, whether no helmets, helmets, or pads, he’s been getting better.”
The rest of the week
Practice schedule and media availability.
Wednesday, Aug. 19
12:10 p.m. – Player Interviews
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Practice
Approx. 3 p.m. – Head Coach Joe Judge Available
Thursday, Aug. 20
9:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Practice
Noon – Head Coach Joe Judge Available
12:10 p.m. – Player Interviews
Friday, Aug. 21
10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. – Practice
1:15 p.m. – Head Coach Joe Judge Available
1:25 p.m. – Player Interviews
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Players’ Day Off