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Giants training camp takeaways, 8/9: Saquon’s back, and other things we learned

Monday was a light practice for the Giants, with preseason opener looming

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Saquon Barkley is back! Sort of. In a limited way. Barkley is off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and back to practice with the New York Giants. The Giants, though, are still taking baby steps with Barkley as he returns from last season’s major knee injury.

Let’s get to Monday’s practice report.

Saquon’s day

Saquon Barkley’s first practice began the way all first practices for new players should begin — with introductions.

Barkley said some of his teammates asked “who’s that?,” shook his hand and introduced themselves.

It felt good to just be back out there playing football,” Barkley said. “The most fun part I would say is being back out there with your teammates. Obviously, the next step in my rehab process and just thankful to be able to go back out there and play football with my teammates and be able to get to practice. It’s what I love.’

Barkley, in his fourth season, said there were times when he “felt like a rookie out there.”

Barkley did not participate in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 team periods. He worked with the offense during walk-through portions of practice, caught a few passes during individual drills, did a lot of running on his own, caught a few balls from Daniel Jones while teammates were working special teams on a separate field, and was one of the last players off the field as he caught passes backup quarterback Clayton Thorson.

Coach Joe Judge said Barkley has been “tapping his foot for a while” wanting to get back to practice.

“This guy, he works tirelessly hard, he’s been champing at the bit,” Judge said. “The biggest thing I just hit him with this morning was I can’t ask him to be patient because that’s not really natural for an athlete in his situation, but I can ask him to be understanding and trust the people that are making decisions with your interest at heart.”

Barkley will not play Saturday in the preseason opener vs. the New York Jets.

“it’s not like I’m trying to blow smoke or anything like that. To be honest, I don’t know,” Barkley said when asked if he would be ready for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.

Judge did say that “theoretically” he would be OK with putting Barkley into a preseason game.

“Am I looking to put Saquon into something that’s not going to be in his best interest? Absolutely not, but at some point the doctors say, ‘He’s ready to play,’ and if we have the opportunity to get him in at a certain point, we will,” Judge said. “But I’m not going to press that timetable.

“As they [doctors] keep green-lighting Saquon to do more and more, we’re going to let him do more and more.”

Barkley didn’t object to the idea of playing in a preseason game, but added that he “wouldn’t really be worried” about going into the regular season without any live contact.

Judge tried to tamp down any expectations that being off PUP meant Barkley would be ready Week 1, saying the team would take a “long-term perspective” with the star running back.

“I don’t think this changes anything at this point. There’s nothing different now than what I’ve talked about the entire time. We’re going to be patient with him, we’re going to watch how he responds to each situation, and when the doctor says he’s green-lighted to go out there and do something, he will,” Judge said. “I’m sure the next question is going to be something about preseason. When he’s green-lighted to do something, we’ll go ahead and keep advancing him. I don’t have an answer for anything right now preseason-wise or regular season-wise. We’re just going to watch him on the field and see how it goes day by day.”

For now, Barkley is back on the field. That makes Monday a good day for the Giants.

Oshane’s back, too!

Oshane Ximines [hamstring] returned from the PUP list on Monday, as well. Somehow, that was overshadowed.

He said the shoulder injury that landed him on IR is “in the backseat now.”

“Injuries, that’s a part of the game,” Ximines said. “That’s something that basically everybody’s gotta deal with.”

Ximines joins an edge group that includes Lorenzo Carter, Azeez Ojulari, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Elerson Smith [if he gets back on the field], Niko Lalos, and perhaps Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin.

“I just know that we’re going to bust our tails here. Coach, he’s going to make sure the best guys play,” Ximines said. “That’s something I respect.

“Coach Judge made it clear this was going to be a competitive camp and we’ve got a bunch of good guys in the room.”

Judge is really killing these guys

Joe Judge may have a reputation as a tough guy, but to be honest he isn’t really crushing the Giants physically during this training camp — aside from the gassers and pushups after the fight the other day.

Monday’s practice, following an off day, was a walk thru/jog thru without pads that lasted less than 90 minutes.

Judge seems very cognizant of what NBA coaches might call “load management.” It’s more of a new-school approach than some might have expected.

Planning for preseason opener

Judge said that there has been no final decision on how much anyone will play Saturday vs. the New York Jets, but that the game could look like a traditional fourth preseason game with starters mostly sitting out.

“I will say this, the priority for me is to treat this more like a traditional game four and when I say that, it’s more of a make sure all of the players that we really have to evaluate get an evaluation,” Judge said. “Because of the rules this year, we have to cut five guys after the Jets game. I want to make sure that we don’t make any decisions that impact our or their future without a proper evaluation.”

Miscellaneous

  • I had Daniel Jones as 7 of 8 today during 7-on-7 drills. His only miss was a deep ball off the fingertips of Darius Slayton, who had beaten Darnay Holmes.
  • Austin Mack and Jarren Williams were among players working with trainers on Monday.
  • Nothing to really report on the offensive line. No pads on Monday, so no real blocking. At least no one retired.