EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants held an exceptionally light practice in MetLife Stadium on Thursday afternoon. That turned out to be excellent planning by coach Joe Judge with sweltering temperatures reaching at least 95 degrees and the heat index rising above 100 degrees.
Here are a few of the things we learned.
Daniel Jones won’t play Saturday
Coach Joe Judge had previously said he will treat Saturday’s preseason opener vs. the New York Jets like a traditional fourth preseason game, meaning starters will play limited snaps — if any at all.
Judge was non-committal on Thursday about playing time for specific players — except for quarterback Daniel Jones.
“He will not play,” Judge said.
Judge had previously said that star running back Saquon Barkley, who has only participated in walk-through portions of practice to this point, will not play.
“That’s [playing or not playing] not really up to me,” Jones said. “My job is to be ready.”
“Dress rehearsal” will likely be third preseason game
In a traditional four-game preseason, the third preseason game is considered the “dress rehearsal” game, when starters play the most. With only three preseason games this year, I asked Judge which game would serve in that capacity.
“So look, everything’s subject to change based on where our team is, but right now our plan is to go into the New England game and treat that as a traditional Game Three where we play maybe more of a full half,” Judge said. “At that point, the units have kind of established themselves. Nothing will be final at that point, but it will be an opportunity at that point to go, ‘hey, get those guys together for an extended period of time.’ “
That makes sense because that third preseason game, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 29, is two weeks before the start of the regular season on Sept. 12.
Old school or new school?
Judge is considered a hard-nosed, old-school head coach. His tirades and methods have sometimes brought outside criticism.
One thing, though, about Judge is that his practices have included a heavy dose of “workload management” for players like Kadarius Toney and now Saquon Barkley, rest days for various players and a number of light, walk-through style practices like Thursday’s.
“I always try to do what’s best for our players, so in terms of managing players, we have new information now. We have the ability to track what players are doing physically. We have the ability to understand what their past workloads have been, how the bodies have responded in the past while we’re trying to build them up,” Judge said. “We try to use all of our experiences and information to make the best decision for our players.
“Everything we do has a purpose. So when I talk about old school, I talk about more my philosophy and the fundamentals of the game and how I believe the game is built and how a team has to be centered on discipline and fundamentals. In terms of using information and the new tools we have, I just think it’s a responsibility of the coach and of the organization to do the best thing for the players.”
Judge said he “can’t control the perception on the outside” and added that “I think I run a camp that’s conducive to getting our players physically prepared for the season.”
Veteran cornerback Adoree Jackson was asked about Judge’s willingness to dial back the workload for some players.
“I appreciate it,” he said. “The thought process going into it.”
Offensive line depth
After a Wednesday practice that saw assistant coach Ben Wilkerson line up to take some walk-through reps with the second unit, Judge was of course asked if he was worried about the depth there. Especially with a preseason game coming up in which the plan appears to be for starters to play little, if at all.
“Look, it’s our job to go ahead and develop everybody on the roster. Right now, with the guys we’re working with, we see daily improvement, we’ve got to keep pushing them forward,” Judge said. “In terms of when we get closer to the season, there is going to be a lot of things that go ahead between now and then that change. At this point, I would say it’s early in camp, but we’re phasing to that kind of midpoint right there with the transition in camp. In terms of my focus, it’s on how they improve every day and making sure we’re put in the right position to successful.”
A few notes on the line from Thursday:
- UDFA center Brett Heggie, who left the field briefly on Wednesday, practiced on Thursday with what appeared to be a soft cast on his left hand or wrist.
- Veteran center Jonotthan Harrison, who had not practiced in several days, took part in the walk-through and did some running on his own.
- False starts have been an issue. Matt Peart and Kenny Wiggins were both pulled for committing false starts at separate times during Thursday’s practice.
- Edge defender Elerson Smith took some reps on Thursday. That’s the first time I have seen the fourth-round pick do anything other than work on the side.
- Toney and Barkley both participated after having rest days on Wednesday.
- Former Giants defensive end George Martin spoke to the team post-practice, continuing the trend of ex-players addressing the current team.