AUGUST 7, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT… (by Sy’56)
Today was a little less eventful. I was glad to see they were in full pads, as I wasn’t sure what to expect considering the scrimmage from two nights ago and a game this Thursday night.
The team’s focus was red-zone offense/defense. All plays were inside the 10-yard line from what I saw, with several inside the 5-yard line. Because of this, the offensive play-calling was run-dominant. A lot of traffic, a lot of running into piles, and standing on the sideline was not the most ideal view for it. But with that said, here are some observations:
-The clear emphasis for the running backs was hitting the holes. No dancing behind the line of scrimmage. Daboll was on Saquon Barkley about that right away and he responded well. Barkley was full of juice, he lowered his pads, and sent a few violent jolts into tacklers. I think we sometimes forget Barkley is 225+ pounds and creates burst in a very short amount of time. Physical running, however, is more about mindset than size. It was good to see him take the coaching and respond with a few powerful runs. For those wondering about the speed and acceleration, it is 100% there. He scored a TD on an outside run of about 8-10 yards where he outran angles of safety Julian Love and corner Darnay Holmes.
-Matt Breida appears firmly planted as the team’s number two back. He seemed a little bounce-happy on his attempts.
-Antonio Williams was clearly the most physical downhill runner. The sounds he created when running into linebackers was different from everyone else.
-Evan Neal is a roller coaster. He shined on a couple down blocks where he came from his RT spot into the defensive tackles and got great movement. The running lanes he can create are massive. But overall I would say he got beat too often for TFLs. I counted two. He also allowed a sack to Jihad Ward. His approach here looks too all-or-nothing.
-Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano are definite upgrades over who’s been playing inside in recent years. But Leonard Williams had their number today. While I do like the push these guys get off of the line, something they had very little of last season, they weren’t sustaining good positions today.
-Josh Ezeudu played exclusively at left guard today. His hands were accurate, and the footwork looked really good. He continues to impress with pro traits considering where NYG got him in the draft.
-My biggest negative from the day was the inability of the tight ends to control their engagements. Daniel Bellinger, Jordan Akins, Austin Allen, Chris Myarick all lost more than they won. NYG had some success running inside but they rarely had success running outside of the tackle. In addition, the power-run defenders the defense uses on the edge (more on them below) were de-cleating the likes of Allen and Myarick multiple times and stuffing the inside lanes. This is going to be a problem for the running game unless they get someone else in here.
-Not much we can say about the quarterbacks, as Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor combined for about 8-9 passes. Taylor threw a couple of outstanding throws and he continues to find Keelan Doss all over the field. He has been making a name for himself.
-I put extra attention on the defensive line today and I’m glad I did. This is a really powerful, big, stout group. I think some don’t realize how big of a human Leonard Williams is. Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Jihad Ward epitomize “heavy hands.” Ward and Williams both had a TFL each. The former was abusing the tight ends from the outside.
-More on Ward: he plays the unique hybrid OLB role that Wink Martindale deploys. He is a heavy-footed, stiff athlete in space. His change of direction looks lethargic, but he hides it well. He plays such a powerful and savvy game. He feels blocks, keeps his pad level low, and anticipates the action. He also appears to have taken one of the leadership roles on this team. Fun dude to watch play and if he is used correctly, which I think he will be, he will be a difference maker in the running game especially.
-Justin Ellis was the fourth lineman on the field in their “base” package for this goal line-type defense. He made arguably the most impressive TFL of the day. Another huge body with such powerful traits. I expect this red-zone defense, notably against the run, to be a formidable unit.
-If you did not know Blake Martinez tore his ACL last year, you would have no idea right now. His burst and agility in traffic were outstanding.
-The backups were a little less dominant. Elerson Smith was abusing Austin Allen. He de-cleated him twice and sent him on to his back once. While his movement still looks a bit manufactured, he swallows so much space in a hurry. Easy bend, great length, and a strong lockout game. He is clicking and I expect to see him make an impact this season.
-A 3rd stringer who made two standout plays today is Ryder Anderson, UDFA rookie from Indiana. He has the size and body that Martindale is going to want behind Ward. If I made a list of three of the most impressive undrafted guys, he’s on it.
-Rookies Micah McFadden and Darian Beavers appear firmly planted into the backup jobs at ILB. Beavers rotated in with the 1’s at a point. Both got fooled badly on misdirection/play-action.
-Rookie D.J. Davidson is yet another young, big body inside and he has now flashed two times in a row. He beat Evan Neal on an inside move Friday night and made two plays at the line of scrimmage today. He is sneaky-quick.
-I’m curious to see if Quincy Roche is going to make this team. His power is notably a step behind the guys in front of him and I think Martindale will err more on the side of size and strength.
-Safety Nathan Meadors made the play of the day on an interception on a ball from Davis Webb. He came across and made an acrobatic grab, reaching the ball at the apex of his leap.
My main takeaway, if I had to choose one, was the upside I see out of this defensive front to stuff the run. For the personnel on this team last year, they underachieved. They allowed 4.5 yards per carry (10th worst in league). While that isn’t solely on the defensive line and missing Martinez was a factor, I expect them to be MUCH better in 2022. Martinez is back, Lawrence is in a better role for his play style, the Williams + Ward duo can be dangerous, and the depth is great. I will be curious to see what they do with Ward when Ojulari comes back.
Offensively, we all know this is going to be an uphill fight but I have little doubt it will be better than what we have seen in recent seasons. The scheme itself, I expect to be better and the OL will be improved. The concern I have from watching today is what these tight ends can contribute. It is one thing to struggle as a blocking force if big contributions are coming in the receiving game. I don’t see either here.
I plan to be at camp tomorrow, Tuesday is up in the air.
ROSTER MOVE – MARCUS McKETHAN DONE FOR THE SEASON…
The Giants announced on Saturday that rookie offensive lineman Marcus McKethan tore the ACL in his right knee during Friday’s scrimmage. He was placed on Injured Reserve and will miss the entire 2022 NFL season. The Giants selected McKethan in the 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
“For a young player to have a non-contact injury, it was tough,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll on Sunday. “But he’s in good spirits. So, he’ll have to start rehabbing. But we’ll try to do whatever we need to do. Whatever it needs to do, we’re going to try to do.”
The following players remain on injury lists:
- Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List: WR Sterling Shepard (Achilles), OC Nick Gates (leg), and OT Matt Peart (knee)
- Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List: LB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring)
WR David Sills (unknown), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (unknown), LB Carter Coughlin (unknown), CB Rodarius Williams (returning from ACL), and S Dane Belton (broken left collarbone) did not practice.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice Monday morning (10:00AM-noon). The practice is open to the public. The coordinators and select players will also address the media.