New York Giants Training Camp Report: August 5, 2017

The New York Giants completed their longest and most intense practice of training camp, a two-hour, 14-minute affair that, as head coach Ben McAdoo promised, featured a lot of situational football.

Overall, the head coach liked what he saw.

“It was a good day of practice today. Situational football was cranked up a little bit, the players responded. We had a nice day out there today,” McAdoo said.

One of the things the Giants worked hard on was their red zone offense, which last year wasn’t very effective. Tight end Evan Engram stole the show in the red zone, showing exactly why the Giants liked him so much to draft him first overall.

“Today was a really good day from a mental standpoint for me,” Engram said. “Still some things to work on, but definitely getting more comfortable in the offense and knowing more of what I’m doing. That definitely allows me to play faster.”

McAdoo also was pleased with the tempo of the lengthy practice, noting that the team finished seven minutes ahead of schedule.

“The tempo was outstanding, we had good physicality in there, good intensity. A lot of tight work down there and when you’re playing down there tight – it’s a game of anticipation–can’t have any hesitation and we played with good speed on both sides of the ball.”

Besides the red zone work, the team expanded on special teams, which saw the coaching staff stage 1-on-1 competition between veterans and the young guys.

The veterans won the competition. Worth noting is that safety/linebacker Eric Pinkins had himself a good showing during that part of practice.

“I thought it was a great day for special teams for us. We took a step in special teams. We had a competition – we split up some veteran guys, we split up the young guys. We kept score and they really competed their tail off today,” McAdoo said.

The biggest takeaway from the practice? There were fewer errors made, the players flying around rather close to game speed out there.

McAdoo’s verdict? “It’s one of our better days,” he said.

Michael Strahan’s Speech

Former New York Giants defensive great Michael Strahan was a guest at practice today. The Hall of Fame defensive end had a chance to address the team after practice at the request of head coach Ben McAdoo, which Strahan did so for about five minutes before breaking down the huddle with a team chant of “We are the New York {bleeping} Giants!” at the end.

“He talked about the love of the game, he talked about the pride in the Giants organization,” head coach Ben McAdoo said in summarizing the G-rated version of Strahan’s pep talk. “About how the teams he was on are connected to the team that we have here today, and what a special place this is.”

Strahan, whose teammates from the 2007 Super Bowl team will be honored this year as part of the 10th anniversary celebration, also urged the players to make sure they leave camp without any regrets. “Make sure you get everything out of camp, and have no regrets moving forward,” McAdoo said.

Toward the end of practice, Strahan was seen chatting up with some of the veterans, including receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Injury Report

Linebacker Keenan Robinson remains in the concussion protocol. Receiver Sterling Shepard came outside to stretch with his teammates, but he worked on the side. Shepard did some agility drills with a trainer and really looked no worse for the wear. I don’t think we’ll see him for next week’s preseason opener against Pittsburgh, but there is zero reason to believe he won’t be back in action before the end of the summer.

Tavarres King (ankle) didn’t work. King was overheard saying that his injury isn’t a long-term affair and that he was confident he’d be back sooner than later. … Rookie offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (foot) remains sidelined, as do the two players on PUP, linebacker J.T. Thomas and running back Shaun Draughn.

Defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body) and cornerback Valentino Blake (back) were back in action with no apparent restrictions. Running back Shane Vereen (lower body) limited.

Lineup Notes

B.J. Goodson is getting a bunch of reps in coverage in the nickel thanks to Robinson’s absence. Goodson actually hasn’t look that bad in coverage either. … Dwayne Harris took some snaps in the slot. … Mark Herzlich has been playing middle linebacker with the second team defense with Keenan Robinson out.

Although Weston Richburg was back in full action, he was occasionally spelled by Brett Jones at center.

Bubble Boys

McAdoo had an interesting, if not telling responses to a question about third-year tight end Will Tye.

To set the stage, McAdoo was asked if rookie Evan Engram’s presence pouts the squeeze on Tye, who has finished the last two seasons as the Giants’ starting tight end.

“We have a lot of guys on the offensive side who are on the bubble,” McAdoo said. “The thing about being on the bubble is sometimes it takes your fears to bring out the best in you. That’s what we’re looking from those guys.

“What are you going to do? Are you going to step up or are you going to step back? All it is is an opportunity for them to get better.”

Tye, who has 90 career receptions for 859 yards and four touchdowns, is believed to be locked in a battle with Matt LaCosse for what could be the final roster spot at tight end if the Giants keep four at the position, which is the popular thought.

Click for information on our more detailed Giants training camp and preseason coverage.

This summer, Tye looks to have bulked up a bit in the upper body, perhaps to help him improve what has otherwise been ineffective blocking.

Tye has also been trying to make more of an effort to pick up yards after the catch something he wasn’t very good with last season, recording just 199 YAC, the lowest of any Giants receiver or tight end with at least 20 receptions last season.

We won’t know for sure until the games take place, but Tye is by no means a lock for a roster spot this year.

What He Said 

“No, not at all. I feel 31. Being out there with those guys, it kind of makes you feel young. When it’s over, no.”

–Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie when asked if he feels rejuvenated playing with the young guys on defense.

Fan Question of the Day

Note: I’ll also be doing a mailbag set to drop on Sunday.

Thanks for the question. Optimism always runs high in training camp, and certainly that this team is relatively healthy and is making progress in practice helps. Now with that said, it’s going to take the games for us to really get a feel for what this team has.

As Tom Coughlin, the former head coach used to say, “Talk is cheap; play the game.” So we’ll see if the swag and thumping translates to a winner, but I do believe that a certain degree of luck is involved here because should injuries start cropping up–and we can’t predict that–who’s going to remember these days of bliss when the tide turns?

Quick Hits

  • Evan Engram was an absolute beast in the red zone today. Think back to last year and how much the Giants struggled going over the middle. Well, if Engram keeps up what he’s bene doing, those days are gone, my friends. Engram is just so quick over the middle and smooth when catching the ball in stride. And he’s not afraid to get physical either. All those factors are recipes for success. The highlight of his day—and the highlight of practice—was a diving catch he made in the corner of the end zone on a fade pass from Manning during a 7-on-7s.
  • For a brief second there, it looked like the Giants had a trick play in the red zone drills. Orleans Darkwa took the hand-off and then looked like he was going to set up to throw the ball downfield. Darkwa then thought better of it after seeing the receivers were covered, so he tried to pick up yardage in the flat without much success. On another play, Darkwa did an excellent job with pass protection, chipping his man just enough before going out for a pass.
  • Jarron Jones, who is making the switch from defensive tackle to offensive tackle (right tackle to be specific) did a nice job on back-to-back plays. He intercepted defensive end Evan Schwan and then redirected him out of harm’s way. He then put defensive end Jordan Williams on the ground with as violent a hand punch as there was in this practice.
  • Defensive end Owa Odighizuwa put on a nice spin move that got him into the backfield and earned him a quarterback pressure.
  • Rhett Ellison has looked good as a blocker this camp, but he whiffed when he tried to block Olivier Vernon.
  • Evan Schwan is so fast off the snap. It looked like Adam Bisnowaty hooked Schwan’s arm on one play in which Schwan was already past the neutral zone on his way to the backfield.
  • John Jerry did a good job in picking up Vernon on a stunt.
  • Paul Perkins put a ball on the ground in an 11-on-11 drill.
  • B.J. Goodson, back from his foot issue the other day, forced an incomplete pass  intended for Beckham. I’ve noted this before, but with Robinson sidelined, Goodson is getting a golden opportunity to show that he can be an every-down linebacker in coverage.
  • As several folks have already noted, Ereck Flowers had one of his better days. He did have one play in which he grabbed Olivier Vernon around the neck, but I thought he otherwise held his own out there. One of Flowers’ good plays was sealing off Romeo Okwara on a run and then winning his battle against Vernon in a red zone drill.
  • The Giants didn’t work on field goals today, but they did have kickers Aldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent work on kickoffs.
  • Defensive end Devin Taylor, who had been sidelined for a few days with lower body soreness, recorded two “sacks” and one other pressure in team drills. Taylor took snaps from both defensive end and defensive tackle.
  • Geno Smith, who remains my guess as the backup quarterback, had himself one of his best days today. I thought Smith’s passes were as crisp as I’ve seen from him in a Giants uniform and his accuracy was much more on point. Smith connected with tight end Jerell Adams up the seam and would have had a touchdown pass had running back Khalid Abdullah not dropped a swing pass during a red zone drill. Smith did get charged with an interception when Mark Herzlich picked off a pass intended for Wayne Gallman, but to be fair, Gallman tipped the pass right to the linebacker. After practice, McAdoo praised Smith for his accuracy and for handling the difficult mental aspect of the various situations the coaches scripted out for the practice.

Inside Football’s Full Training Camp Report

Our full training camp report, which features observations on just about every player on the 90-man roster, will be available in the next few days.

These are observations that we have not put in our daily camp reports., so if you want a comprehensive breakdown of how the players are doing, you can preorder this issue for e-mail delivery for just $5.00.

Public Practice Schedule

Subject to change.  Please call 201-935-9385 on the day you plan to attend training camp to verify nothing has changed.

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