JULY 27, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
For the first time this season, the New York Giants dressed in full pads following yesterday’s day off. Another first? The Giants’ offense showed signs of life.
There was Eli Manning firing long balls and connecting, while looking poised in the pocket. There was a developed pocket, time to throw and holes to run through. Victor Cruz heard his signature chant bellowed from the crowd after a sliding catch. And linebacker Devon Kennard continued to flash on defense.
Overall, you could say it was an eventful day in East Rutherford.
Below you will find our complete practice report from today’s camp.
SETTING THE STAGE…
As is the case with each report, here’s a your scene setter. Xavier Grimble sat out the practice’s duration with a ‘slight’ hamstring issue. Speaking after practice, coach Tom Coughlin didn’t seem too worried. Odell Beckham Jr. was out again today aside from fielding punts and catching balls from the jugs machine. Unlike Grimble, Coughlin seems worried about Beckham. Trindon Holliday sat out the positional and team portion of practice because he “tweaked a leg” during a punt return. There were 3,552 fans in attendance and a crew of referees to keep the players on their toes.
THE WALK THROUGH…
I very rarely mention the walk-through in the training camp report, mainly because the media isn’t allowed to watch. If anything, we catch the final five minutes or so of the special teams. Either way, some eventful note-worthy action took place.
- With the returners simply fielding the ball, it looked like Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. had a little competition going on between them. Cruz started it by fielding a ball one handed. Beckham Jr. responded by – I kid you not – palming the ball from the jugs machine as if he was an outfielder catching a fly ball. He made this look insanely easy. He simply put his hand up, grabbed the ball over his head and pulled it in.
- During the team stretch, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore decided to race each other. Moore just beat JPP by about a step.
The Giants opened up practice as they always do with special teams drills. Each day it’s a different starting unit that spends some time together. Some days it’s the punt team, others punt coverage. Same with kick returns and kickoff coverage.
- Returners were as follows and in this specific order: Trindon Holliday, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz. Preston Parker and David Wilson also fielded punts.
- Starting gunners are no change from organized team activities. Zack Bowman is on the right and Bennett Jackson on the left. Second unit featured Charles James II on the right and Ross Weaver on the left.
- On a punt return, Jerrel Jernigan – who had a very, very nice practice – made quite a few people miss.
- Kendall Gaskins and Cooper Taylor got into a pushing match on a return. Gaskins blocked Taylor to the ground, Taylor didn’t like that and came up with a few shoves.
- It was Josh Brown’s day to kick field goals. He went 3-of-4. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 6/8 for Brown and 8/8 for Brandon McManus.
I stuck with the offense today. I will turn my attention to defense tomorrow. The ‘O’ ran a few different variations of drills we hadn’t seen in camp yet. It started with the quarterbacks, running backs and fullbacks working through drills. The wide receivers and tight ends then joined the group for a full offense (minus line) drill.
- It looks like the fullback position may be Henry Hynoski’s to lose. He was the first man on the field today.
- A couple times during the QB/RB/FB drill we saw a shotgun draw to the fullback. Both Hynoski and John Conner got reps here.
- Andre Williams made a very nice catch out of the backfield on a swing pass. Ryan Nassib – which is becoming a regular occurrence – threw one low on a swing route. Williams reached down and pulled in a shoe-string catch. The impressive part was Williams didn’t lose his balance.
- When the offense came together, it looked like Andre Williams got himself confused a bit and didn’t know what to do. Just before the snap, Williams motioned to a coach who came over and moved his hands in a motion that looked to be outlining a route. Williams shook his head once he was reminded and the play went on.
- Interesting formation displayed: With three wide receivers and a tight end already lined up, Ryan Nassib motioned David Wilson into the slot. Wilson then ran a quick out. It looks like Ben McAdoo is thinking of ways to get Wilson the ball in space.
TWO MINUTE DRILL…
While every reporter in attendance generally has a difference in opinion at some point in time, it seems like everyone agreed on one thing: The Giants’ offense had its best practice of camp. When the starters were in, the Giants moved up and down the field in the no-huddle offense. It was impressive to see, and for the first time, displayed what Ben McAdoo’s offense is capable of when everyone is clicking.
- Victor Cruz heard his named chanted by the home crowd when he made a diving grab. It looked like he came from the complete other side of the field and Eli Manning hit him with a pass in between two defenders. It was a bit out in front so Cruz dove and hauled it in before stepping out. Cruz made another grab when he freed himself with a double move to get by Antrel Rolle and I believe Walter Thurmond III. We’ll get to it later, but Thurmond didn’t have the best practice.
- As much criticism as Nassib takes, the one thing he does do well is extend plays. He’s deceptively mobile and is pretty good at throwing on the run. With that being said, he did not have a very good practice again. Passes were bounced or thrown high, and that was before the defense joined the offense. He gives up on plays and gets flustered in the pocket pretty quickly.
- Marcus Harris continues to have a very, very nice training camp. The second-year wideout catches everything thrown his way and today hauled in a 20-yard touchdown from Nassib on a double move.
- After Harris’ touchdown, Eli Manning came in for Nassib and proceeded to find Jerrel Jernigan for a touchdown on an in-route. Jernigan had his best practice of the camp, coming down with a second touchdown in one-on-one’s later in the afternoon.
- On the goal line, Rashad Jennings took it in from five-ish yards out. He ran through a gaping hole between Brandon Mosley and Justin Pugh.
With how much money the Giants invested in the cornerback position this offseason, the one-on-one drill may be the most interesting of camp. The concept is simply this: Get open.
- Friday, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie talked about how he sometimes ‘baits’ quarterbacks into throwing his way. He’ll play a step or two off a wide receiver so the quarterback throws the ball; he then breaks on it and makes a play. We saw that in the one-on-one’s. Rodgers-Cromartie played two steps off of Rueben Randle, Manning threw the ball and Rodgers-Cromartie hit a second gear to bat the ball away, nearly intercepting it.
- Jerrel Jernigan’s fine practice continued when he beat Walter Thurmond for a touchdown on a streak. Ryan Nassib threw a nice ball to the back corner of the endzone and Jernigan outran Thurmond to it.
- Preston Parker jumped in the air and pulled in a toe-tapping sideline catch. He beat Ross Weaver.
- Corey Washington beat Jayron Hosley off of the line, then beat him again coming back to the ball on the curl and made the catch. Knowing he was beat, Hosley held on as Washington was coming back to the ball. Washington still made the catch and the ref threw a flag. The penalty was the second on Hosley today.
- Charles James II intercepted Ryan Nassib when Marcus Harris fell down. The offense was looking for a flag, saying James pushed Harris, but none was thrown.
Side note…While this was happening, the offensive line, backs, linebackers and defensive line were having a full-contact running drill. From what I gathered from BBI friends Conor Orr and Art Stapleton, the highlight of practice took place:
David Wilson just got popped by Devon Kennard in the open field after an inside run. Another wow moment for the rookie LB from USC #NYG
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) July 27, 2014
Curtis Painter getting first team reps, because why not? They've been all runs. Kennard just laid out Wilson. #nyg
— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) July 27, 2014
There wasn’t too much going on of note in the seven-on-seven portion of practice. Either way, a few highlight are worthy of mention:
- Eli Manning had his choice of two wide receivers, both of whom ran streaks. Marcus Harris beat Walter Thurmond and Preston Parker beat Prince Amukamara. Manning went to Parker down the sideline. Manning came back later to Harris who once again beat Thurmond. Again, Harris continues to shine.
- Devon Kennard got beat badly by Daniel Fells down the seam.
- Dan Fox jumped up high in the air from his zone coverage position to bat down a pass intended for Julian Talley. Fox has been working a lot with the No. 2 linebacking unit. He’s flashed a few times and if he doesn’t make the Giants’ final 53, expect him to be a prime candidate for the practice squad.
Practice ended the same as it always does with a full-team, full-contact 11-on-11. Here are the highlights:
- I saw a different formation from the defensive line. Jason Pierre-Paul lined up as a defensive tackle, Cullen Jenkins moved to defensive end and Devon Kennard put his hand in the dirt as an end.
- David Wilson continues to take shots, this time it was from Jacquian Williams on a stretch play.
- Mario Manningham beat Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a comeback route, but dropped a perfectly thrown ball form Eli Manning. Manningham rebounded later in practice with a really nice run slant route.
- Back shoulder completion from Ryan Nassib to Kellen Davis who beat Nat Berhe. Nassib makes some very, very nice passes at times, but they’re overshadowed by terribly inaccurate ones.
- Another Devon Kennard sighting. This time he had a would-be sack on Nassib when the quarterback tried to roll out.
Little interesting note, J.D. Walton fist-bumps each of his offensive lineman before each huddle. Looks like the group is trying to build some chemistry. It’s something so small, but seems pretty cool.
- Adrien Robinson dropped one in the flat. He did come back and make a sliding catch later in practice.
- First long-bomb of practice. Eli Manning let one fly to Rueben Randle who got past Rodgers-Cromartie up the right sideline. No catching up this time from DRC.
- There were three big hits to break down, depending on how you look at it. The first came on a run play when Devon Kennard came up and met Henry Hynoski head-on in the backfield. Did Kennard make the tackle? No. But he ate up Hynoski in the backfield allowing a fellow linebacker (I believe McClain) to come up and make the tackle. The way I view that? A win for Kennard. John Conner had his own big block when he took on Justin Anderson. Both fullbacks looked good today.
- Andre Williams had one of the more interesting runs I’ve seen all camp. It started when he knocked/ran over Johnathan Hankins, but then as he got three yards down the field he was lit up by Markus Kuhn. The funny thing, Kuhn didn’t help Williams up. He simply walked back to the defensive huddle.
The Giants will once again hold another full-pad practice open to the public on Monday. Players will talk to the media from 11:15am-12:15pm and practice from 1:20-3:30pm. Miss anything from today’s practice? Recap it all with our LIVE blog.