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Giants training camp, Day 2: A big commotion about motion

Observations from the second day of training camp

NFL: New York Giants Training Camp
Wide receiver Marcus Kemp, defended by Khalil Dorsey, makes a catch during Thursday’s practice.
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants concluded their second practice of training camp Thursday morning, another sweltering day at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center practice facility.

Let’s get to some of the takeaways.

Mixed bag for Golladay, Slayton

Thursday was an up-and-down day for veteran wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton.

During 11-on-11 drills, Golladay dropped a perfectly placed pass from Daniel Jones between defensive backs Julian Love and Darnay Holmes. From across the field, it was uncertain whether Love might have pulled the ball out. Had Golladay caught it, the play would have been roughly a 25-yard gain and put the ball near the goal line. Golladay also dropped a touchdown pass on Wednesday.

Golladay came up with a couple of nice catches later in practice, including one where he ended up sprawled out on the ground.

Slayton made a leaping touchdown catch during 1-on-1 drills and caught a short touchdown pass from Daniel Jones during a team period. Slayton, though, dropped an easy touchdown pass during 1-on-1 ones and a wide open pass from Tyrod Taylor that would have gone for a huge gain.

It might be noteworthy that Richie James and C.J. Board got significant reps with the first-team offense. James, signed as a free agent from the San Francisco 49ers, continues to impress. Whether he is working with the first- or second-team offense, the ball seems to find him.

Who is calling the plays?

Head coach Brian Daboll said on Thursday that offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who called plays throughout the spring, will continue to do that during training camp.

Daboll, offensive coordinator in Buffalo before becoming Giants coach, did not commit to allowing Kafka to call plays during the regular season.

“Mike has done a really good job in the spring, which he handled the scripts. And again, we talk on a day-to-day basis on plays and things to install. But he’s been on the headset with Daniel (Jones). And he’ll be doing that through camp,” Daboll said. “And as we get closer to it, we’ll sit down and discuss it. But I’ve been really happy with Mike. Not just his communication with the quarterback, but how he’s handled the offensive staff, how he’s handled the players. He has a really good demeanor about himself. Once we cross that bridge, which we’ve still got a little bit here to go, you guys will know.”

Much ado about motion

I noted on Wednesday that this was a different Giants’ offense, filled with motion and a variety of alignments. Asked about all the very un-Giant like pre-snap movement, Daboll jokingly said “we’re stationary.” He later looked at his Thursday play sheet, counted more than two-dozen plays that included pre-snap motion, and realized “stationary” was not the way to describe the offense.

Does all the motion and varying alignments make learning harder for players.

“What we’re trying to do is whatever we need to do to help our guys and cause conflicts, issues with the defense,” Daboll said. “Is it more to learn? Sure because there’s added calls to it. You start on one side and have to be on the other side. You got to start in the backfield and be out here. You know, there’s a little bit of thinking that goes along with it.

“Again, back to the identity. Smart is the first thing we look for. And we certainly put a lot on these players. One, because I think they can handle it, and if they can’t, we’ll tighten it back and make sure we do the things that they can do.”

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams acknowledged the pressure the movement puts on defenses.

“I’m a defensive lineman, so I get my checks most of the time from the linebackers and stuff like that. But I can just hear the safeties and linebackers and the second level communication, and it’s constantly changing. I can tell motions and stuff like that are happening while my hands are in the dirt because I hear those guys communicating in the back end,” Williams said. “It’s causing a little bit of confusion, and it’s good for us as well – as a defense – to learn our communication and the things that we have to check as well. Like I said, the offense is doing a good job as well of creating that diversity.”

Saquon Barkley on evolving as a player

Saquon Barkley said on Thursday that as he enters his fifth year in the league he wants to “evolve my game” and “become an overall better player.”

Barkley is being used far more creatively as a receiver, both from the backfield and aligned in the slot or out wide, than he has been in his first four seasons.

“I think this offense is giving me an opportunity to do that,” Barkley said. “I just want to be a versatile player and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

Barkley’s goal for 2022?

“I just want to show the Giants that the guy they drafted is still here,” he said.

Quote of the day

— Daboll on celebrating with Kadarius Toney when Toney made his spectacular catch on Wednesday.

Other observations

  • Offensive tackle Devery Hamilton is a long shot to make the roster. Thursday, when pass rushers continually seemed to be running around him, won’t help. Elerson Smith victimized him multiple times. Undrafted free agent edge Tomon Fox, too.
  • If Gary Brightwell is getting any offensive snaps, they are coming when I’m not looking. I’m seeing a lot of former Buffalo Bill Antonio Williams and undrafted free agent Jashaun Corbin, but don’t recall seeing Brightwell at all.
  • Undrafted free agent tight end Jeremiah Hall had a spectacular one-handed catch over linebacker Micah McFadden during one-on-one drills. Another undrafted rookie tight end, Austin Allen, also had a diving catch during 1-on-1s.
  • It has been really interesting to watch the special teams periods. The Giants are working in stations, and it seems like most drills are designed to work both the offensive and defensive sides of the play.
  • Darnay Holmes had a diving interception on a ball intended for Austin Proehl during 1-on-1s.
  • The deepest pass completion of camp thus far came Thursday when Tyrod Taylor hit Collin Johnson deep down the left sideline. Johnson had gotten behind cornerback Michael Jacquet.
  • Toney dropped a pass across the middle with linebacker Blake Martinez bearing down on him.