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New York Giants training camp, Day 1: Saquon’s impact, and more practice takeaways

Training camp is underway!

NFL: New York Giants Training Camp
Leonard Williams cools off on Wednesday’s first day of training camp.
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have put their first practice of 2023 training camp in the rearview mirror. Here are some of the takeaways from the on-field portion of the day.

Saquon’s highlight catch

Saquon Barkley did not touch the ball often during Wednesday’s first practice of training camp. To my recollection, he may have had only touch as there was no 11-on-11 work the Giants did very little running in the 7-on-7 portion.

Barkley, though, did remind everyone of the impact player he can be with a tremendous touchdown catch from a scrambling Daniel Jones. Here’s the play:

That was safety Xavier McKinney victimized for the touchdown.

Jones looks sharp

Remember 2022 training camp, when head coach Brian Daboll was giving away offensive secrets to Wink Martindale and setting up situations that made Daniel Jones’ life miserable in training camp, and at times made him look bad?

Well, Wednesday’s first day of camp was a different story.

The Giants exclusively did 7-on-7 red zone work during team periods, with all of the snaps coming from inside the 10-yard line. This has become a somewhat common Day 1 practice since it limits the distances players are forced to run.

Jones was sharp. By my unofficial count, he went 16 of 19 with one drop. Jones’ 20th snap was a read option keeper. Again by my very unofficial count, I believe 11 of those throws went for touchdowns.

Jones’ most impressive throw of the day might have been a laser to Parris Campbell, who was cutting across the back of the end zone with Tae Banks in coverage, for a touchdown. This was a tight window throw with a lot of juice on it.

Darren Waller’s impact

The first pass of training camp went to Waller from Jones, with safety Jason Pinnock in coverage.

Waller later had a juggling catch at the goal line for a score when he was double-teamed by linebackers Bobby Okereke and Darrian Beavers. He also beat Micah McFadden for a touchdown.

Defensive groupings

As I previously mentioned, the team periods were 7 on 7, meaning no defensive linemen. The first team defensive group was Xavier McKinney, Jason Pinnock, Adoree’ Jackson, Tae Banks, Darnay Holmes, Bobby Okereke and Beavers. The second defensive group included Amani Oruwariye, Rodarius Williams, Carter Coughlin, Micah McFadden, Dane Belton, Bobby McCain, and Cor’Dale Flott.

Injury news

I missed this, but Jalin Hyatt apparently left practice early, but “it’s not anything serious.”

Quick hits

  • Placekicker Graham Gano made 8 of 9 field goal attempts, missing wide left from 39 yards.
  • Rookie defensive backs Gervarrius Owens and Tre Hawkins III had a much nastier than expected in a non-contact practice collision while defending a pass from Tommy DeVito to Bryce Ford-Wheaton. Fortunately, both were OK.
  • Parris Campbell caught a touchdown pass from Jones while lined up in the backfield.
  • Speaking of Ford-Wheaton, the undrafted free agent wide receiver made two nice plays for DeVito. He caught a pass at the back of the end zone on a high throw, tip-toeing to keep his feet in bounds for a score. He also worked himself open in a scramble drill situation, eventually catching another touchdown pass from DeVito.
  • The Giants will continue to work without full pads for at least four more practices, what the league refers to as the acclimation period at the start of training camp.
  • Hyatt was never targeted downfield while working with DeVito and the third group. His only touch came on a jet sweep/touch pass.
  • During special teams drills at the beginning of practice, Jaydon Mickens, Adoree’ Jackson, Kalil Pimpleton, Darius Slayton, Eric Gray, and Darnay Holmes were the punt returners. Hyatt, who worked as a punt returner in the spring, was not part of the group.
  • The Giants resume practice on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. That session is also open to fans who have received tickets.