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Three players who battled injuries last year — CB Darnay Holmes, WR Kadarius Toney and EDGE Elerson Smith — have gotten off to fast starts, according to BBV's Ed Valentine. Among those that have struggled were the replacements for C Jon Feliciano, so much so that Shane Lemieux was moved to center with rookie Joshua Ezeudu sliding in at left guard.
Which lead to this observation from Newsday’s Tom Rock:
The best part about Shane Lemieux taking a few reps at center today was that it was hard to notice Shane Lemieux taking a few reps at center today. The ball was delivered cleanly each time.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) July 30, 2022
NBC’s Peter King stopped by East Rutherford on Friday.
Holmes ended up fracturing a rib last season, but the injury was the definition of wrong place, wrong time, close enough in location for doctors to fear he could puncture his lung by continuing to play before it healed.
"If you’re not available, nothing else matters, and there’s a lot to that physically and emotionally," said Holmes. "When you’re in that hospital bed, in that moment, and they tell you, ‘You’re out,’ that was hard for me for digest. I’m at a place now where I feel that I’m back, and my mind is at ease. I’m grounded as a player, and we’re grounded as a team, and we’re ready to take these steps forward as needed, ready for what’s next."
Kayvon Thibodeaux practice diary: Giants rookie learning ‘there are no plays off’ in NFL | The Athletic
The Athletic's Dan Duggan focused on Thibodeaux during Saturday’s practice to document the early stages of the 6-foot-5, 258-pounder’s development with a minute-by-minute account of him hitting the field.
For more on Thibodeaux, read BBV’s Chris Pflum’s article, Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux is striving for excellence in execution
BBV’s Michel Parra goes into detail about how, for the first time in his professional career, Xavier McKinney will quarterback the defense with a assist from former All-Pro Eric Weddle.
“(Weddle) gave me a lot of good insight,” McKinney added. “He definitely helped me. Just being in OTAs, obviously, I was the play-caller and he was the play-caller all the time, so he definitely helped me with being able to communicate it the right way and being on the same page with (DC Wink Martindale). He kind of just let me know that Wink is an open book, and he’s definitely a player’s coach – somebody that’s going to listen.”
“The offense is showing a lot of diversity, and it definitely confuses defenses,” said defensive lineman Leonard Williams. “I think when you have enough weapons on offense, you allow your offense to have that type of diversity. I think it’s good for the offense.”
During OTAs, offensive line coach Bobby Johnson said he had learned quickly that New York Giants rookie right tackle Evan Neal, the No. 7 overall pick, “puts a lot of pressure on himself.” Speaking with media on Saturday, Neal agreed with assessment.
“I like to say I’m my biggest critic. Nobody can criticize me harder than myself,” Neal said. “I focus on the bad stuff, but I’ve also got to acknowledge the good as well because there is good that I do. I just watch the film and I take away from it what I can and just focus on getting better, not making the same mistakes and building off the positive things.”
In the Giants’ locker room, offensive lineman Shane Lemieux is situated between Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, two defensive linemen. Saturday, that trio came together on the field in the most heated moment thus far of training camp. The first scuffle of the summer, on Day 4 of camp, was triggered when Lemieux, after a play was over, tackled the unsuspecting Lawrence — no small feat, considering Lawrence is 342 pounds. Angered by that, Williams stormed in, ripped Lemieux off his defensive linemate and body-slammed Lemieux to the grass. It came and went quickly, but it was fairly violent while it lasted.
“It’s just heated, man,’’ Lemieux told The Post afterward. “People were tired, competing. Stuff happens. The O-line and the D-line, we’re interfaces. I feel like if you get in someone’s face for so long it’s like, ‘OK, it’s enough.’
'This guy has been rehabbing unbelievable': Giants' Nick Gates vows return from gruesome injury | ESPN
ESPN's Jordan Raanan writes that while there might be doubters who believe he's just putting on a happy face, Gates views his situation as just another career obstacle.
"I've always been kind of the underdog," he said. "Nobody expected me to win the job in college. I won the job in college. Nobody expected me to be anything as an undrafted free agent. I became something. I was a captain. I think that is cool. I was undrafted and was a captain in the NFL for the New York Giants! There isn't much better than that."
“The last two years not going how I wanted, I kind of have been reflecting on that,” Barkley said following practice on Thursday. “Everything happens for a reason; So, the adversity, the injuries that were put in my way these last two years, God has a bigger plan and it’s all going to work out. I just want to show the (New York) Giants that the guy that they drafted is still here. I can still go out there and make the plays and help my team be successful.”
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal says for the Giants it is their second year WR Kadarius Toney, writing that Toney will either "gain 1,000 yards or do very little; there is no in-between. I feel great about the chances of the former happening. Very few humans have the short-area explosion that Toney showed as a rookie. His stop-and-start ability often made NFL cornerbacks look unathletic. His routes weren’t as unrefined as draft analysts feared and many of his best wins were on the outside, in contested-catch situations. He still would be better off moving around the formation and playing often in the slot, which should happen this year. It’s hard to overstate what a better fit Brian Daboll’s offense will be for Toney compared with Jason Garrett’s. There is superstar potential here."
Slayton wants to stay with the Giants, but he grasps the business realities of the NFL.
“Obviously, I’ve enjoyed my time being with the Giants,” Slayton said. “Hopefully, I’ll be here for much longer. But at the end of the day, I love playing football. So whether I’m here or out there on the concrete or on Route 3, I’m going to be trying to break somebody off and get open and catch the ball. That’s kind of my approach to it.”
Every year, Football Outsiders puts together a list of the NFL's best and brightest young players ... who have barely played. About 80% of draft-day discussions are about first-round picks, and 10% are about the players who should have been first-round picks but instead went in the second round. Particularly if they were quarterbacks. From the Giants, CB Aaron Robinson was cited.
Coaches have fans in the stands as well:
The New York Giants’ organizationally struggles recently have become the new normal in East Rutherford. First-year head coach Brian Daboll’s job is to restore pride and respect to an organization desperate for it. But for now, his job is much simpler: put an end to the embarrassment, writes James Arnowich.
“There is some reason for optimism though. Along with Daboll—the former Buffalo Offensive Coordinator—the Giants brought in highly regarded Bills executive Joe Schoen as their new General Manager,” stated Arnowich. “With a pair of top ten picks to develop—former Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and Alabama tackle Evan Neal—Daboll only needs to show signs of improvement and competency to consider this preseason a success.”
Around the league
Van Jefferson's availability for the start of the 2022 season may be in question. The Rams wide receiver will see a specialist on Monday for a knee issue that has been plaguing him, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday. Rapoport adds that Jefferson faces the possibility of missing a few weeks because of the injury, but the 26-year-old will have more info following his appointment, including if he will need surgery.
Appearing on NFL Network, owner Jerry Jones said that Elliott “has to be the focus” of the team’s running back game. “He has to be the focal point,” Jones said. “There is room for Pollard while Zeke is in there.”
"Not at all. Not at all," Donald said when asked whether he'd be at camp if McVay had retired to work in television. "If Sean ain't here—I told Sean when he first got here. We came up with some things early and I first told him as long as he's the head coach here, I want to continue to build my legacy with him. As long as he's here and I got the ability to still play at a high level, I'm going to be here. When he's gone and it's all said and done, that probably will be when I'm hanging it up, too."
DK Metcalf contract extension: Details on new megadeal as WR market keeps skyrocketing | Pro Football Network
Star NFL wide receivers are having a very good year. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf became the latest downfield target to break the bank Thursday when he agreed to a three-year, $72 million contract that reportedly includes $58.2 million guaranteed with a $30 million signing bonus.
“I do think because of the soft blow, it’s kind of lending the players to use their heads a little bit more,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “I do think the first time when they take it off — anybody who has played football knows the first time you take your helmet off or you hit with the helmet or you have a collision, there’s a shock. I do think that if you’re waiting until the first game for that shock to happen. . . . I don’t know, time will tell. It’s just interesting with those Guardian Caps and what exactly are we trying to accomplish.”
In case you missed it
- Giants’ Kadarius Toney ‘just ready to show what I can do’
- Giants’ edge Elerson Smith off to fast start in first real NFL training camp
- How “Flood” could get the best out of Giants’ QB Daniel Jones
- Giants’ offensive line: Good but not great is enough
- Giants’ Andrew Adams is no longer ‘wet behind the ears’
- Film study: Is Nick Williams Giants’ next Austin Johnson?
- Giants host RB Devontae Booker
- How the lessons from football helped Carl Banks bring back a classic brand
- Big Blue View mailbag: OL flexibility, Saquon Barkley’s future, more
- NFC East notebook: Jerry Jones - ‘We are not screwing around’
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