Aug 062019
 
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Kareem Martin, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 6, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (back), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

“(Wheeler is) dealing with a back thing that’s… Those are a little bit tricky sometimes,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s sort of day-to-day.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM SY’56…
Even though a practice two days prior to a game can seem boring and uninformative at times, I still found value in being there. First, it was great to catch up with gidie. That guy does a lot of work behind the scenes for BBI so you guys can enjoy it…and I hope all of you remember it. Second, we had some decent conversation about the noticeable and maybe not-so-noticeable differences in this team. So while there really wasn’t a ton to write about today regarding practice, the wheels were spinning on what exactly needs to go right for this team to get back in to contention-mode. After all, gun to my head I think this team finishes under .500 but I’ve seen too many “sure things” go in the opposite direction to pretend I know what is going to happen. In sports, anything can happen.

One glaring missing piece, and we all know this, to the defense is a lack of edge presence. I didn’t oppose the trade of Olivier Vernon because of what it brought back and Vernon never really stuck with me. But that trade nearly left the cupboard bare and one of the most frustrating, team-killing components of this team in recent years has been the lack of pass rush. They have ranked bottom three in the league three of the past four years – yes you read that right. One who looks like he is ready for the next step is Lorenzo Carter. The tools he brings to the table are second-to-none when it comes to height, newfound bulk, and speed. If the skill set develops, I see a potential Danielle Hunter (MIN) in him. If he breaks out in 2019, the reward for the defense could be enormous as I think the inside DL will be getting plenty of push from Lawrence-Hill-Tomlinson.

Back to the OL…the acquisition of Kevin Zeitler cannot be underestimated. He isn’t just a solid presence, he is an elite 330+ pound pass protector who constantly makes good, powerful contact as a run blocker. Will Hernandez – Jon Halapio – Zeitler might be the heaviest (332-316-330) interior group in the league if I have my information correct. The OL has held this team back more than anything you can think of and even though the RT spot is a weaknesses, if these guys can be as dominant as I think they can be, the entire outlook of the offense changes.

Those who have been around the past few years, you know my affinity to quality linebackers. I have wanted the team to put serious resources in to the position (free agency money/high draft picks, etc.) and I realize it may not be among popular belief. But I look at a team like Dallas and the impact they have had from their second level defenders and I see what a Darius Leonard has done for IND, I just can’t shake the thought. Maybe I am stubborn. Anyway, the battle for the spot next to Alec Ogletree is going to be interesting. Tae Davis is the smallest, but quickest among the three who I think will end up competing for the spot. B.J. Goodson is, by far, the most imposing and physical. Rookie Ryan Connelly looks like the gamer who knows the defense so well and can really take in coaching. They are awfully different players and a lot will depend on what the coach wants out of that spot, but whomever gets the job needs to help rid the NYG defense of getting torched week-after-week, year-after-year in the middle of the field.

The backfield is going to need to be more than good if this offense is going to soar. As I said last week, I just see too many limitations in the passing game for me to think they will be dangerous. That is fine. However the running backs need to be elite. We have that in Saquon Barkley, nothing new there. But as good as he is, you can’t run this guy in to the ground with 35 touches a game every week. He and Wayne Gallman appear to be much more assertive and explosive. Part of that will come from the confidence of better OL play, but I think they are making it a point to keep themselves moving forward as they diagnose the lanes and holes. Both, more so Barkley, had a tendency last year to side shuffle too much after getting the ball. Those extra 1-2 yards per carry mean more than you think if you know anything about analytics and “early down success.” With the way this offense is put together, these backs need to stick with this “fall forward” approach much like we see Ezekiel Elliot do so well.

My general point in all this, and it is backed up by analysis around the league, these second/third year players MUST make the jump if this team has any shot at competing. Rookie contracts are arguably the greatest asset to a franchise on the field and the ascent in levels of these guys is completely critical. Veterans like Manning, Latimer, Solder, Ogletree, Jenkins…etc., we know that they are and we can only hope they don’t decline. The performance on the 2019 Giants mostly sits on the shoulders of these young guys, maybe the rookies as well, taking it to the next step. If they don’t, see ya next year.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM GIDIEFOR…
It was warm and overcast today. You could smell the rain in the air, but the rain held off, and the players and coaches got practice in before any rainfall. The players were all in shells. As has been the usual the players were out in groups with their coaches doing drills as we waited to get on the field. Today, TE Evan Engram, WR Sterling Shepard, and RB Saquon Barkley were right in front of us throwing passes at the practice net trying to make baskets from about thirty yards away. Saquon Barkley is a pretty accurate thrower. Sterling made a few quite a few himself, or at least hit the net. Engram hit the net a few times himself. The four quarterbacks in their red shirts were again to the right of us practicing their footwork. There was not a lot to read into today’s practice, some of it was with cards, and they mostly practiced setting up play action in their sets without hitting. The Giants were getting ready to play the Jets in two days.

We were let onto the practice area and escorted to the field at our far right. The defense was in white jerseys and the offense was in blue today. After the stretches, were position drills. We were standing where the backfield did their drills and watched them and I peaked at the offensive lineman drills at the edge of the field to our left, and saw LT Nate Solder knock T Paul Adams hard into the ground, and noted that LB Alex Ogletree has switched his uniform number from 52 to 47.

One of the conversations we had were about the differences between this year’s team and the team two years ago. As I have mentioned previously, it is noticeable that the Giants have invested in big men especially up front on both offense and defense. Consider that of the offensive line starters: LT Nate Solder is 6’9” 319lbs, LG Will Hernandez is 6’3” 332lbs, C Jon Halapio is 6’4” 315lbs, RG Kevin Zeitler is 6’4” 330lbs, and RT Mike Remmers is 6’5” 308 lbs. Sy’56 noted that the majority of the NFL isn’t built that way anymore, whereas on the Giants every lineman above 300 lbs and they range from 6’3” to 6’9” – the guards being a little shorter and nearly 15 lbs heavier than the tackles. The starters on the defensive line are DL Dalvin Tomlinson at 6’3 319 lbs, DL Dexter Lawrence at 6’4” 342lbs, and DL BJ Hill at 6’3” 310 lbs. These are all Giants. Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettlemen have stated that this is a big man’s game and clearly that is how they are building the roster with very big men who are strong and athletic and cannot be pushed around so easily.

As we watched the first sets setting up play-action, it is easy to see the Giants being a throwback team this year with the big men up front giving RB Saquon Barkley a little more breathing room, and we hope learning to keep moving forward, and buying time with the play-action to set up the quick-passing game. WR Sterling Shepard and WR Golden Tate will be key to this type of game with crossing patterns and other short passes and with getting big chunks of yardage on the fly after the catch. TE Evan Engram will also play a big role up the seam and running sideline routes. TE Rhett Ellison will be counted on as a burly outlet and has been stout in practice in the red zone. One or more of WR Cody Latimer, WR Alonzo Russell, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Darius Slayton – when and if they play – will be asked to stretch the field.

On defense, the big front will be tasked with stopping the run and penetrating the line to get to the QB. LB Lorenzo Carter, albeit that he has yet to prove it, is probably set up to be the Giants best weapon off the edge with LBs Kareem Martin and Markus Golden opposite him. By the way, the new LB/ER Joey Alfieri was given first- and second-team reps off the edge today and looked almost comical getting engulfed by LT Nate Solder and LT Paul Adams. He looks a little small, way too light at 226, and not too fluid. The other new addition, G Malcolm Bunche, does look the part of the big man, however, at 6’6” 310lbs.

Notes:

  • WR Cody Latimer made the first big play today with a 50-yard reception down field by the end zone.
  • We remarked how disconcerting it is to see CB Deandre Baker wear Brandon Jacobs old number. Also, WR Reggie White, Jr. wearing OBJ’s old number. Both of their body types are polar opposites to their predecessors. LB Ryan Connelly had his helmet off for a while today and looks a little like Mark Herzlich.
  • RB Paul Perkins looks like he is filling out, and looks more the part of a running back.
  • CB Deandre Baker made a strong play boxing out WR Bennie Fowler III on another long pass.
  • S Jabrill Peppers looks very comfortable out there catching punts, and build-wise looks a lot like Tiki Barber. He also wears Tiki’s old number.
  • WR Alonzo Russell made a nice catch today.
  • During the final series of 11-on-11’s and then 7-on-7’s, the team practiced getting into formation and getting the snap off before the 40-second play-clock elapsed.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Reggie White, Jr. for a 30-yard touchdown over CB Ronald Zamort.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta connected with WR Da’Mari Scott for a roughly 30-yard gain over CB Grant Haley.
  • S Jabrill Peppers broke up a short pass to WR Alex Wesley.
  • QB Alex Tanney hit WR Da’Mari Scott for a long pass down the right sideline.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins tipped a QB Kyle Lauletta pass that was intercepted by CB Grant Haley.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones on a corner route.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Bennie Fowler.
  • QB Eli Manning fired a touchdown pass to WR Sterling Shepard against CB Grant Haley.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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:

ARTICLES…

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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