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Giants training camp, 8/3: Takeaways from first padded practice

Offense has an outstanding day

NFL: NY Giants Training Camp Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Let’s see. There was a massive donnybrook at the end of New York Giants practice that made head coach Joe Judge go ballistic. High-priced free agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay left practice with an apparent hamstring injury.

Those are the big stories of the day at Giants training camp. Lost in all of that, though, is the fact that Tuesday was — by far — the best day of practice thus far for the Giants offense.

You might even go so far as to say that Daniel Jones and the offense were outstanding.

Admittedly, I lost focus on a few plays after Golladay was injured as we tried to piece together a quick story on that.

By my unofficial count, I have Jones as 10-for-10. There was also an 11-on-11 goal line session during which the offense scored a number of touchdowns. The media’s view of most of that was, though, blocked by a line of players waiting to get reps.

“We had some good plays and the defense had some good plays,” said Jones. “Thought it was good competition.”

The Giants’ defense had dominated the first couple of days of team drills.

Coach Joe Judge had said before practice that he didn’t want players to ride a daily “roller coaster” based on which group performed better.

“I think every player on the team right now needs to keep improving on the system basis. There’s been a lot of positive things. There’s no one player, no one position group, no one unit that’s put it all together yet. At this point, we’ve all got to coach better and play better,” Judge said. We’re looking for significant improvement each day in camp but that comes from daily practice. There’s still a lot of things to get done. Obviously, there’s things internally that we coach every player to improve on. Every player has something to do. We’re far from a finished product.

“Look, at this time in training camp, you’re going to see offense flash, defense flash, certain phases of special teams or players flash at different times. You can’t ride that roller coaster, you’ve just got to watch the tape and coach the fundamentals, keep it consistent with what you’re demanding of the players so they understand what they’re doing on a daily basis, and just make sure that we coach them well enough that they can improve every day.”

Perhaps Jones’ best play of the day came on the only play I noticed where he faced significant pressure from the pass rush. Jones stepped up through the rush and completed a ball across the middle to tight end Evan Engram.

Additionally, by my count backup quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Clayton Thorson were a combined 7-of-7. So, aside from the Golladay play (which was a debatable drop) there wasn’t an incomplete pass during the entire practice.

So, for at least one day the Giants’ offense looked like it might not be terrible. It might even have a chance to be good.

One thing that is interesting is how the Giants have structured practice. Most of the first few days has been red zone and goal line, with Judge saying that was partially to work on that and also partially to keep players from going all-out in the open field early in camp.

On Tuesday, the Giants opened things up more. They had more play into the middle part of the field, and that seemed to help open up the offense.

Kenny Golladay injury

The bummer of the day for the Giants was Golladay leaving practice early with an apparent hamstring injury. The Giants gave Golladay, a four-year, $72 million contract ($40 million guaranteed) to be their No. 1 receiver.

That was a needed signing, and one that drew applause, but one that carries risk because of Golladay’s injury history. He played only five games last season, and has missed 17 over his four-year career. Golladay had hamstring issues in both 2017 and 2020.

No word yet on the real nature or severity of Golladay’s injury. The Giants need him, so let’s hope it’s not a long-term injury.

Kadarius Toney practices

Judge said on Monday that the Giants would continue to ramp up Toney’s workload after he returned from the COVID-19/Reserver list. On Tuesday, the first-round draft pick practices for the first time.

Toney worked in individual receiving drills and as a punt returner. He did not work in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.

“It’s good to see him out there. We’ll keep working. He’s a talented guy, can make a lot of plays, so we’re excited to get him out there,” Jones said. “I think you see his athleticism, his twitch, his quickness, and that’s exciting.”

Former players wanted

Former Giants Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka spoke to Giants players on Monday.

“That was huge for us. I’ve said it from the beginning, this is a different organization, there is a connection between past players, past history of these teams and the players that sit in these chairs today. It’s important our players understand and have respect for the history that they come after. They have to understand what’s happened, the players who did it, and the culture and the standards that remain consistent throughout those great times of this organization,” Judge said. “Some organizations, you kind of come and go. This is one of the different ones where history matters, history carries over. In terms of former players coming back here, if anyone hasn’t heard my voice yet, I hope they hear it now, I want them back. I want them here, I want them involved with our team, I want them here at practice, I want them in meetings, I want them around our players, I want our players to understand the pressure they should have on them from past players who achieved great things here. I want these guys in this program.”

Umenyiora was also at practice on Tuesday.

Miscellaneous

  • Right tackle Matt Peart worked in team drills for the first time. He split reps with Nate Solder.
  • With Shane Lemieux still sidelined, Zach Fulton and Kenny Wiggins took reps at left guard.
  • Second-year cornerback Jarren Williams left practice with what appeared to be a left leg injury.
  • Wide receiver David Sills continues to stand out. He caught a number of passes from Mike Glennon on Tuesday, including a touchdown in a goal line drill.
  • Blake Martinez was activated from the COVID-19/Reserve list and participated in a handful of team reps.
  • Graham Gano went 6-of-6 during a field-goal drill. It was the first time since camp began that Gano kicked during a live drill.
  • Interesting note during punt drills. The Giants split onto two fields with Riley Dixon punting on one field and Ryan Santoso punting on the other. This marked the first time I have seen Santoso, who handled punting and placekicking in college, work as a punter. Santoso looked solid.