The New York Giants have completed another day of training camp practice in preparation for the 2021 season. Yours truly was not in East Rutherford for this one, but here are some of the takeaways from what transpired.
Saquon unlikely to do team drills in Cleveland
Coach Joe Judge said Tuesday that Saquon Barkley’s first practice on Monday was “really encouraging,” as Barkley went through individual drills the day he came off the PUP list. Barkley went through a similar workload on Tuesday as the team practiced in full pads.
Judge said that next week when the Giants go to Ohio for joint practices with the Cleveland Browns, Barkley is not likely participate in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 drills against the Cleveland defense.
“We’ve got to make sure that we can put them in a controlled setting where their safety is best,” Judge said.
“I would not expect to see him next week in any kind of 11-on-11 or live action. Now that’s not a final deal, but I would just say based on what we know from our medical team and where he’s at in his own rehab we’re not going to try to artificially accelerate and get him involved just because of the competitive nature spiking up.”
Judge has assigned Barkley a defensive “shadow,” if you will. He is at times tasking linebacker Blake Martinez with — safely — giving Barkley a bit of competition.
“We did a drill yesterday where it’s a non-contact, just a space kind of tracing. We don’t do it as a tackle drill, and look, I told Saquon he was up, I told (linebacker) Blake Martinez, ‘Blake, you’ve got Saquon,’ because I know these guys can work with respect and what they’re going to do against each other,” Judge said. “It’s just two guys that we trust that Saquon can execute the technique, build in his rehab, get in a football movement. Blake can work what he’s going to do, and he also knows that he’s not going to do anything and make a mistake that maybe someone else would make. I’m not accusing any one of our players, but sometimes you may get someone who’s maybe a little outside their lane and we want to make sure we keep them safe.”
Looking forward to FanFest
The Giants will hold their ‘FanFest’ on Wednesday at MetLife Stadium. That will be the only training camp practice in New Jersey open to fans. Per the Giants PR department, ticket requests were capped between 50-and 60,000. How many fans show up for the 6 p.m. practice remains to be seen.
Players are excited about the event.
“I can’t wait, honestly. Honestly, I can’t,” said Evan Engram. “That’s been circled on my calendar. I do miss the fans at training camp every day like in the past. Just being back in the atmosphere and kind of getting a taste of what it’s going to be like come September 12th [opening day], I’m definitely looking forward to it and can’t wait.”
It’s going to be pretty fun,” said Dexter Lawrence. “Obviously, we missed the fans last year. They bring a different type of excitement, a different type of juice. Playing in front of them is just an honor, really.”
Offensive line woes
Starting left guard Shane Lemieux reportedly did more on Tuesday than at any time since injuring his knee early in training camp. That, though, was really the extent of the good news for the beleaguered offensive line.
- Veteran backup center Jonotthan Harrison did not practice for a second straight day, working with trainers instead.
- Offensive tackle Nate Solder suffered some type of injury, possibly to his arm, and did not finish practice. No word yet on that.
Since the retirements of Zach Fulton and Joe Looney, who the Giants thought would provide depth, the Giants have not added any offensive linemen to the 90-man roster. The retirements, and now the injuries to Harrison and Solder, make getting through practice — and perhaps Saturday’s preseason opener vs. the New York Jets — tricky.
There is, understandably, impatience in the fan base for the Giants to add to the offensive line depth. Truthfully, though, there are few appealing options right now. Austin Reiter is available, but he is a center only and the Giants have not shown an appetite for moving starting center Nick Gates to guard.
Otherwise, there are few — if any — veteran, plug and play options available. Pretty much anyone the Giants bring in would likely fall into the camp body to get them through the week category.
Quality improvements to the depth aren’t likely to come until roster cuts are made at the end of the preseason.
GM Dave Gettleman, appearing on @SiriusXMNFL on Tuesday morning, updated a couple of injuries.
- Edge Elerson Smith, who has yet to do much more than work on the side with trainers, has a hamstring injury suffered in the conditioning run at the beginning of camp.
- Second-round pick Azeez Ojulari has worked on the side the past couple of days because he “has a little bit of a boo-boo on his leg.”