EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A pair of rookies continued to shine, an offensive lineman was lost to injury, and a veteran defensive back could be fighting for a roster spot. Those are among the takeaways from Monday’s practice at New York Giants training camp.
Lineup stuff ... whither Darnay Holmes?
The Giants have shuffled lineups at several positions — center, left guard, inside linebacker, safety, and slot cornerback being the most notable ones.
The most jarring lineup note from Monday was the sight of Darnay Holmes, the team’s primary slot cornerback for the past three seasons, working with the third-team defense. Holmes was even on the field during the practice-ending ‘developmental’ period with Tommy DeVito and a host of players who probably won’t make the season-opening 53-man roster participating.
A fourth-year player, the Giants would save $2.743 million against the salary cap with only $197,972 in dead money if they were to cut Holmes. Per Over The Cap, the Giants currently have $4.784 million in cap space.
Cor’Dale Flott was the first-team slot cornerback on Monday.
Micah McFadden worked with the first team at inside linebacker, and Jason Pinnock joined Xavier McKinney at safety.
On offense, John Michael Schmitz was the first-team center. Ben Bredeson and Josh Ezeudu each got first-team reps at left guard. Bredeson also got a few snaps in place of Mark Glowinski at right guard.
How soon would head coach Brian Daboll like to settle the competitions for starting spots, particularly along the offensive line?
“I think it will be settled by the players,” Daboll said. “Our job is to give people opportunity to go out there and compete and use different lineups, see how they react to different things, whether from tackle to guard, guard to center, center to guard. Every place I’ve been we’ve always done that with the offensive line.
“Those that deserve an opportunity should get the opportunity. What they make of it is up to them.”
The Giants have lost backup center J.C. Hassenauer, most likely for the season, with a triceps injury. Coach Brian Daboll said Monday that Hassenauer, signed in the offseason as a free agent, will have surgery. That means he is likely headed for injured reserve. With Hassenauer down, Jack Anderson has joined John Michael Schmitz, Ben Bredeson, and Shane Lemieux in the group working at center.
Rookie tight end Ryan Jones and veteran edge defender Jihad Ward were held out of practice for a second straight day.
Veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard was given a rest day after practicing for the first time on Sunday. Shepard, coming back from a 2022 torn ACL and a 2021 torn Achilles, had made reference on Sunday to possibly pushing himself too hard a season ago.
“I’ve got to be smarter myself in what I allow myself to do and not really push back, because I’m one of those guys that likes to keep going and going and going and I know that I’ve got to take my time this time. Do things a bit different than I have in the past and just be patient,” Shepard said. “I think that’s my main thing because I get antsy a lot of the times. I want to get in there three reps in a row – I may have to take one rep (and then) take a rep off, that’s just the way it’s got to go. I just think I’ve got to hold myself back sometimes.”
Monday, the Giants took that decision out of Shepard’s hands.
A couple of other veteran players got rest days. Tight end Darren Waller and defensive lineman Leonard Williams did individual drills, but were held out of team periods.
Tre Hawkins gets first-team reps
Rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins III, a sixth-round pick, has been impressive during the early part of camp.
“He’s done a nice job with the opportunities that he’s given,” Daboll said. “He’ll get some more chances.”
On Monday, Hawkins was given the opportunity to run with the first-team defense during several of the 11-on-11 periods.
On one red zone play near the end of practice Hawkins forced a Daniel Jones throwaway by blanketing Darius Slayton.
Hawkins did give up a touchdown to Parris Campbell on a deep ball from Jones, but Hawkins had excellent position and was beaten only by the combination of a great throw from Jones and catch by Campbell.
The Giants looked at a lineup with rookies Hawkins and Deonte Banks on the outside and Adoree’ Jackson in the slot. We will have to see if that is something we see more of going forward.
Jason Pinnock’s reaction to his interception
Safety Jason Pinnock went viral for a practice-ending one-handed interception on Sunday. Here is how he reacted on Monday:
Pinnock said Monday that he got a call Sunday night from his dad, who told him “great catch. But it’s about what you do tomorrow.”
Daboll said Pinnock’s interception was “pretty impressive, particularly when you pause it at the high point where he’s got it ... it was a good play.”
Here is the play, just in case you haven’t seen it.
Quote of the day
“First is my weight, which I haven’t really done a good enough job of.”
— Brian Daboll, when asked what things he would like to improve in his second year as a head coach
- Rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt continues to make plays, like this one:
The diving defender on that play is Xavier McKinney, in case you can’t tell. By the way, this is also a tremendous throw by Daniel Jones.
Hyatt also had a touchdown grab on a deep ball from Tyrod Taylor, running away from Nick McCloud.
- First-round pick Tae Banks has has ups and down through the first few days of practice. Below, a really good play from Banks on Monday, knocking away a pass intended for Darius Slayton:
- Veteran wide receiver Jamison Crowder had a highlight reel catch, snagging a quick out from Tyrod Taylor with one hand.
- There were more designed running plays called on Monday than at any other practice I have been to so far during training camp.
- Second-year wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton is facing an uphill battle to earn a roster spot. The two catchable balls he failed to come up with on Monday won’t help him.
- Nick McCloud had an interception of Tyrod Taylor near the end of practice, diving to grab an errant pass that appeared to be aimed at Pimpleton.
- The Giants really seem to like the look of Campbell running routes out of the backfield. We saw that a few more times on Monday.