Ryan Nassib (9), Eli Manning (10), Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (May 29, 2014)

Ryan Nassib, Eli Manning, and Ben McAdoo – Photo by Connor Hughes

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For the first time this season, the New York Giants allowed media access to the team’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices. While rookies WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and RB Andre Williams were not in attendance due to an obligation for the NFL’s “Rookie Symposium,” the rest of the team was.

For nearly two hours, New York displayed Ben McAdoo’s new offense, a retooled secondary and a revamped offensive line. Below you will find a few highlights from this afternoon’s practice.

Earlier this week, we asked you, the fans, what you wanted us to focus on at today’s OTA’s. You answered, and we obliged. At the end of the recap, you will find your questions answered. This will be a trend that continues throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp.

Please note, this blog will contain a bit more scene setting as this is the first time the media was allowed to see players in action. In following reports, you’ll get many more highlights.

Before we get to practice, I’ll set the groundwork and foundation for the afternoon. Practice was held at Quest Diagnostics Performance Center and media were permitted to stand on the patio. The Giants practiced in the corresponding field but little was able to be seen of the offensive line, quarterbacks, or wide receivers in their individual drills. The groups practiced just past where the eye could clearly see what was transpiring. The two-minute drill, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 were all conducted on the near field driving towards the media. These we were able to get accurate details of, but not much from the line perspective. With three levels of defenders standing in front, it was tough to gauge what was going on in the trenches.

  • As mentioned above, WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and RB Andre Williams were not in attendance as they were at the Rookie Symposium held by the league. WR Mario Manningham and OG John Jerry were in attendance, but both were not practicing. Tom Coughlin addressed the media afterward and said the two will be held out until training camp. Manningham is still recovering from a knee injury that cost him all of last season Jerry recently had a scope. LT Will Beatty also did not practice as he is still recovering from his broken leg.
  • Much has been talked about in regards to those that make up the Giants’ running back corps, but little has been said about RB Peyton Hillis. The bruising one-time Madden cover boy quietly put together a solid season last year and this season looks like an absolute monster. Hillis is ripped, isn’t afraid to show it, and is sporting a nice mohawk to pull the look together. The Bergen Record’s Art Stapleton referred to him as “Peyton Hochuli” and there may not be a better name.

  • The Giants opened practice with individual drills and split the punt returners off to the side to work on fielding from the machine. Those that occupied the group were RB David Wilson, CB Walter Thurmond, WR Victor Cruz, WR Trindon Holliday and WR Rueben Randle.
  • During the above drill, an interesting technique/practice was used that I personally have not seen before. The returner turned and faced away from the machine, lay flat on his stomach with his limbs spread out, waited for the ball to be shot out before popping up, locating and eventually fielding the ball.
  • S Stevie Brown, who is recovering from knee surgery, seemed to be moving pretty well in the individual portions of practice. The safety cut and broke on the ball without much hesitation. Brown also is working with the No. 1’s opposite S Antrel Rolle.
  • Troubled safety Will Hill was also in attendance and a full participant. Hill was working with the No. 2 defensive unit and paired with Quintin Demps. Coughlin spoke about Hill after practice and said it’s “difficult” not knowing the 24-year-old’s status and has no idea when that status will be determined. When on the field, Hill is a dynamic player.

Now on to the highlights, we’ll start with the two-minute drill…

  • Stevie Brown, New York Giants (May 29, 2014)

    Stevie Brown – Photo by Connor Hughes

    The Giants initial team-related function was a two-minute drill. It was tough to really gauge a depth chart in this particular portion of practice because the No. 2 skill position guys were working with the starting offensive line against the No. 1 defense. QB Ryan Nassib took the first reps.

  • From watching practice today, it appears as if this was a very vanilla version of what we can expect from McAdoo’s scheme. With that being said, the ball certainly comes out of the quarterback’s hand faster, but some familiar aspects were still there. We saw quite a few draw plays and screen passes.
  • Speaking of screen passes, something was shown on multiple occasions that I have not seen on a consistent basis since the Jeremy Shockey era: tight end screens. Quite a few were run, one in particular to Adrien Robinson stood out. It appeared as if it would have picked up a good chunk of change down the sideline.
  • There was no clear-cut No. 1 tight end displayed today, as Coughlin & Co. seem to have the competition completely open. Everyone saw reps and a few stood out. Adrien Robinson hauled in three passes from what I saw. Daniel Fells made a nice grab. Larry Donnell stood out for the opposite reason, dropping a wide-open pass down the seam. For what it’s worth, Fells was the first tight end on the field.
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie looks very, very good early on. A few times we saw him matched up with Victor Cruz and he shut the Pro-Bowl wideout down. There was little, if any, window for Eli to fit the ball in.
  • With David Wilson awaiting a hopefully medical-clearing MRI (scheduled for June 4), Rashad Jennings is the back getting reps with the first team. He looked as good as a running back can look with no contact. Jennings caught a few passes out of the backfield and ran it a few times on draws.
  • WR Julian Talley, who made the practice squad and saw action at the end of the year, dropped a pass down the seam on what appeared to be a fourth down. He rebounded later with a grab between two defenders.
  • Little variation of a trick play, first and only we saw today. Ryan Nassib faked a handoff then handed to to Jerrel Jernigan on an end around.
  • Ryan Nassib certainly didn’t have a very impressive practice, but he did stand out on one specific occasion. In the two-minute drill, a rusher came off the edge (couldn’t tell who), Nassib pump-faked, got the defender in the air, rolled out to his left and threw across his body for a completion on the sideline. I believe it was Daniel Fells who made the sliding catch.
  • S Nat Berhe had a near interception of Nassib, jumping in front of a deep in. Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell could be heard nearly 100 yards away screaming, “Come on Nat!”
  • Adrien Robinson looked good in the action he saw. By my count, he caught two passes in the two-minute drill and showed some good burst. He stood out among the other TE’s.
  • During the two-minute drill, New York had two play clocks set up. A nice touch considering how many times Eli was called for “Delay of Game” last year.
  • Unlike the offense that ran variations, the starting defense was the starting defense during the two-minute drill. The lineup read as follows from left to right looking behind defense: Mathias Kiwanuka, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, and Jason Pierre-Paul on the defensive line; Jameel McClain, Jon Beason, and Spencer Paysinger at linebacker; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Stevie Brown, Antrel Rolle, and either Prince Amukamara or Walter Thurmond in the secondary.
  • The reason I say Amukamara/Thurmond is because the two switched out nearly every other play, while Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) stayed on the field the entire time.
  • John Conner, who is competing with Henry Hynoski for the starting full back position, looks very, very big. He caught a screen pass out of the backfield and several reporters, and myself, had to double check the roster for who it was.
  • Jon Beason dropped a sure-fire interception when Eli Manning overshot Peyton Hillis on a screen pass. Yes, a screen pass that didn’t go as designed.

Now onto the 7-on-7’s…

  • Victor Cruz, New York Giants (May 29, 2014)

    Victor Cruz – Photo by Connor Hughes

    This may have been when the Giants’ offense struggled the most. The team opened with Randle and Jernigan split outside, Cruz in the slot and Robinson at TE.

  • There was quite a bit of miscommunication in this drill. WR Trindon Holliday and WR Preston Parker ran into each other once. WR Travis Harvey did the same another time. A few times the wide receiver broke in when the quarterback threw out, or vice versa. It’s early, very early, and with a brand new offense these kind of things should be expected.
  • CB Charles James notched the lone interception of the practice. Randle ran a curl, Nassib threw it a bit behind him and James jumped it for what looked like a pick-six. That sent the defensive players and coaching staff into a frenzy.
  • There wasn’t much dispersion with quarterback reps as Manning and Nassib took nearly them all. Curtis Painter saw a few reps in the 7-on-7 and Josh Freeman got a few (3-4) in all three drills.
  • Will Hill got two reps opposite Rolle with the No. 1’s.
  • One interesting wrinkle, Trindon Holliday caught a pass with first team on an in-out route and had a LOT of room to run. Curious to see if McAdoo ties to work the speedy returner into the offense.

Now on to 11-on-11’s…

  • Think this is going to be the largest section? Wrong. Much ado about nothing here. Few completions, few drops, nothing much to showcase.
  • One thing to take out of this is we did see the “first team” offensive line. Justin Pugh is at right tackle, Chris Snee at guard, J.D. Walton at center, Geoff Schwartz at left guard and today Charles Brown was at left tackle.
  • One interesting variation of the line we saw, Snee came out and Weston Richburg played right guard with the first team.

Overall impressions…

  • Ryan Nassib did not look very good today. No one looked “great” on offense, but Nassib stood out as noticeably struggling. He missed behind on a few occasions, had nearly three interceptions and looked rattled. It’s early, and he’ll most likely settle in with the new offense, but he didn’t look good.
  • I mentioned this above, but the offense we saw today I assume is very vanilla. Either way, lots of screens, draws and curls. A few shots down the field, mostly taken by Nassib, but none connected.
  • I don’t think Eli Manning made one pass more than 10 yards down the field, nearly everything was a screen, draw, or dump-off.
  • I figured some fans may be interested, so I kept completion stats for all quarterbacks. I did not keep them for 7-on-7’s, so this includes just two-minute and 11-on-11: Manning – 14/19 • Nassib – 6/9 • Freeman – 2/3.

Your questions answered:

From Tom in NY: 1. The O-Line….how is Snee moving? How are the Tackles, without Beatty (or even with), can the reserves stand up to NFL DEs.

  • Snee looks like he is moving pretty well. Took part in all aspects of practice. Tough to gauge how other guys did because of our vantage point.

From Tom in NY: The TEs — Robinson and Donnell…are both or either up to being a quality NFL starter?

  • I was impressed with Robinson, looked good. Donnell didn’t stand out much aside from a drop down the seam.

From DavidinBMNY: Is snee going to practice with the 1s or is he more of a backup…Does jpp look healthy…how does mainingham look? Which rb looks like the 1..

  • Snee practiced with the ones and looked healthy. Can’t say much more than that because he’s a lineman and there was no contact. JPP looked fine and assures everyone he is healthy. Manningham is out until training camp.

From BillT: A run down on the OL. Who is lining up with the 1s, 3’s etc.

  • Tough to say who lined up with 2’s because of our vantage point. 1’s were Pugh-Snee-Walton-Schwartz-Brown.

From dorgan: An inverted bone. Two backs (probably FBs) lined up behind the gap between guard-tackles at 3-4 yards of depth and a TB lined up behind QB at 5-7 yards.

  • This is tough because the offense was very, very vanilla today. I can tell you, as Robinson said last week, the TE position does move around a bit more. There was one formation which was a “trips right” featuring a WR and two tight ends bunched together near the right tackle. Also, I believe it was Donnell, lined up as a tight end before coming in motion and lining up as a full back in the backfield.

From Racer: Interested to hear if in the passing game they run spacing concepts with a trips receiver running a curl @6y directly over the ball like GB. Jim Miller mentioned on Sirius that this was something he expected to see from McAdoo. Appreciate all the work you’re doing.

  • Lots and lots of curls. Look above for trips description.

From Jay on the Island: I would like to know where Mosley lines up. Is he focusing mostly on LG or RG or is he seeing any time at LT or RT. Is he lining up with the 2nd or third team. Personally I would like to see him lined up at RG in the event Snee can’t rebound.

  • I’m sorry Jay, it was very hard to pick out Mosley from where we were standing.

From Klaatu: I’d also like to know how Beatty’s rehab is coming along, along with Snee’s and Mosley’s, too.

  • Coughlin said Beatty will “supposedly be ready for the fall.” Snee and Mosley both 100%.

From Sir-Yes-Sir: Leadership

  • Tough to tell this early. Beason stood out being vocal. Too far to tell for offensive line.

RiffRaff: Does JPP have his old step off the offensive line?

  • This is tough to say because it’s OTA’s and everyone is going at their own pace. JPP did say after practice he was going at full speed.