EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants held their first padded practice of 2023 training camp Tuesday evening at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Here are some of the takeaways.
The main event
That would be the 1-on-1 drills between the offensive and defensive linemen.
Rookie center John Michael Schmitz had two 1-on-1 reps against Dexter Lawrence and acquitted himself well. Lawrence appeared to bullrush Schmitz on each and, while Schmitz gave ground, he stayed in front of the 340-pound All-Pro defensive tackle both times.
Second-year right tackle Evan Neal struggled to match Azeez Ojulari’s speed on one rush, though he may have guided the third-year edge defender around the pocket. Matched up with Kayvon Thibodeaux, it looked like Neal controlled Thibodeaux initially but then lost to an inside move.
The highlight of the 1-on-1 drills came when edge defender Tomon Fox knocked Tyre Phillips, lined up at left tackle, on his backside.
The defense appeared to win the day.
The Giants have heavily emphasized run defense, and while the fact that there is no tackling to the ground makes it difficult to exactly judge how successful/unsuccessful running plays are, it looked like the defense contained most of the running plays attempted by the offense. Linebacker Bobby Okereke did have what looked like it would have been a tackle or loss on a run up the middle by Matt Breida.
Giants’ quarterbacks did not throw any interceptions on the day, and I don’t know the exact number of plays blown dead as possible sacks, but quarterbacks were under a fair amount of pressure.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was up to his usual tricks, using stunts and blitzes to create confusion along the offensive line.
There was also an ugly offensive play where Daniel Jones failed to handle a high snap from Schmitz.
Safety Xavier McKinney had a pass breakup on a fade intended for Darren Waller. It wasn’t a Jason Pinnock one-handed interception, but it was a nice play.
No fights wanted
Coach Brian Daboll said before practice that he doesn’t want to see fights, but he pretty much acknowledged that eventually there will be at least one.
“I don’t think there’s any ... I don’t want to fight in practice,” he said. “To me, it’s undisciplined, it’s 15-yard penalties. I understand that it’s a competitive situation but you can’t do it in the games so being able to maintain your composure and be disciplined, I think, is important. With that being said, I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a camp where there wasn’t one but certainly something that we don’t want to do.”
Quote of the day
“I’m in a car wreck every week at practice.”
— DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches on the after-effects of the car accident he was in a week ago
Veteran edge defender Jihad Ward once again sat out of practice. Daboll said only that “Haddy’s got a little thing.” Ward was doing resistance work on the side at the beginning of practice.
Undrafted rookie tight end Ryan Jones returned to practice after sitting out a few days with a knee issue.
Wide receiver Jeff Smith left practice early for an unknown reason, and defensive tackle Ryder Anderson finished practice with a wrap on one wrist.
The Giants continued shuffling lineups as they look for the right combinations at several positions.
Rookie Tre Hawkins III got first-team reps at outside cornerback with Adoree’ Jackson in the slot for the second straight day. Hawkins continued to acquit himself well, breaking up a deep shot intended for Jalin Hyatt. Jackson had a pass breakup on a short sideline throw intended for Isaiah Hodgins.
Would the Giants consider going into 2023 with rookies Hawkins and Tae Banks starting at the outside cornerback spots?
“We’ll see. That’s why we’re using all these combinations,” Daboll said. “It’ll be different. It’s been different throughout camp. We’ll just keep rotating them.”
The head coach said Hawkins “earned” the opportunity to practice with the first team.
“He had a couple of good days [so] we gave him an opportunity,” Daboll said. “We’ll try to do that with all the positions (and) every day’s an evaluation so if we think you’ve earned an opportunity to do it, and that’s what we did.”
Cor’Dale Flott also got some first-team reps in the slot, Jason Pinnock took first-team safety reps, and Darrian Beavers was at inside linebacker. In a three-man defensive front, Rakeem Nunez-Roches joined Lawrence and Leonard Williams.
Schmitz took first-team center reps. Joshua Ezeudu took all of the first-team reps at left guard. Newly-signed offensive lineman Sean Harlow worked at left guard with the third team. Sterling Shepard practiced Tuesday, and caught a couple of passes working with the second team.
The Giants are off on Wednesday. They practice Thursday and Friday mornings at 10 a.m., and Saturday at 5 p.m. The Saturday practice will be the final one open to fans.