New York Giants OTA Practice Report

Team completes third of 10 OTAs.

While everyone seemed focused on who wasn’t at the New York Giants third OTA (and the first open to the media), there was indeed a non-contact practice that took place with dozens of other Giants players hoping to build on what the team started last year.

“To me it’s learning and communication,” head coach Ben McAdoo said when asked what he’s trying to have the team accomplish. “Those are two big things. Trying to teach the players on what we’re looking for in practice, and being smart that way. Building some chemistry along the way, and trust.”

A big part of that chemistry is seeing how the rookies will blend in with the veterans as they learn the playbook.

“All the rookies are fighting their way through it,” McAdoo said. “It’s just starting to get heavy. We haven’t put anything in situationally with these guys yet. It’s just been normal down and distance. They’ve been working at it hard, conscientious in meetings.”

So how has it gone?

“You can see we have a good group of guys who like the game, enjoy football, working at getting good in meetings; which is an important part of this league.”

Even if some of that group is missing.

Injury Updates

Safety Darian Thompson (foot) took part in individual drills but was held out of the seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. Thompson appeared to be moving around with no signs of l limp, so it’s likely the medical staff is easing him back into the fold.

Safety Mykkele Thompson (knee) also was limited to individual drills. Thompson worked with the cornerbacks, an interesting development but certainly not one that’s surprising given that Thompson did play some cornerback in college.

The Giants right now are thin at the cornerback spot behind starter Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, and slot cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

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“Mykkele’s a guy who has a lot of flexibility. He can do a lot of different things for us,” McAdoo said.

Eli Apple had to leave practice early with an upper leg issue. the exact nature of his injury wasn’t known, but he did get a large ice pack applied to his upper leg after a trainer attempted to stretch him out.

Linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) didn’t work in this OTA. Neither did tight end Rhett Ellison, whomMcAdoo said was “sore” without elaborating further as to why.

Safety Nat Berhe appeared to be limited as well, spending some time working with assistant strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul. Joining Berhe and that small group was undrafted rookie free agent receiver Jalen Williams.

Lineup Notes

The starting offensive line remained unchanged from last year: from left to right, Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry and Bobby Hart. D.J. Fluker worked at right guard with the second-team line, with sixth-round pick Adam Bisnowaty at right tackle and Chad Wheeler at left tackle. Adam Gettis got some work at center.

At the rookie minicamp, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said that they would probably rotate guys at middle linebacker. Today was B.J. Goodson’s turn to work with the starters.

At defensive tackle, Jay Bromley worked alongside of Damon Harrison. And Romeo Okwara worked at Olivier Vernon’s right defensive end spot.

When Eli Apple had to leave practice, Rodgers-Cromartie moved to the outside and Donte Deayon moved to the slot.

Practice Observations

Cornerback Michael Hunter, who is trying to stick around as cornerback depth, had himself quite the practice. Hunter broke up four passes and, as a gunner on punt coverage, beat his man down the field. Getting back to the pass breakups, Hunter did a wonderful job of staying with the receiver and turning his hips as the receiver did.

John Jerry appeared to get into a couple of scrums with a defensive lineman—I couldn’t see who—but on the second one, McAdoo had to step in and make peace.

Bobby Hart had an impressive showing. You could see he’s a lot quicker and more efficient in getting out of his stance and into position to make his blocks. On a couple of snaps, Hart fired out so quickly, that he easily would have beaten his man at the point of attack.

Flowers? He does indeed look leaner and looked more dialed in than I can recall seeing him in an OTA. You could see more quickness in his set up, his feet being more in sync as opposed to being all over the place. I didn’t get enough of a look to see him in 11-on-11 drills (not that it matters since there’s no contact), but I would have liked to have seen more of how he was doing with his hand placement.

“Ereck did everything that we asked him to do in the offseason,” McAdoo said without elaborating on what it was they asked him to do.

“He’s in tremendous condition, he looks quick on his feet. It’s a great opportunity for Ereck just to be out here. He spent a lot of time in the weight room, spent a lot of time conditioning, spent a lot of time on air, so it’s good to get some bodies in front of him so he has a chance to work on his technique.”

Evan Engram lined up as an outside receiver. Yes, that young man is very fast and is going to be very exciting to watch. I didn’t see him line up in-line, but that’s not what he’s there for. With Odell Beckham Jr. not at OTAs, the Giants ran some personnel packages with Brandon Marshall and Engram as the outside receivers, and Sterling Shepard in the slot.

Mark Herzlich worked on both offense and defense, switching his jersey accordingly. In a 7-on-7 drill, Herzlich showed nice soft hands in going up the seam for a pass, beating safety Jadar Johnson. Herzlich did everything right on this play, from tracking the ball to separating and then securing the rock.

Kicker Aldrick Rosas nailed all four of his field goal attempts. I’m not quite sure of the yardage, but I believe at least two of the attempts were 40 yards or more. Rosas’ kicks seem to always split the uprights with plenty of room to spare. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does with kickoffs, which were a problem for the Giants last year.

One of the marquee battles this summer will be cornerback Janoris Jenkins and receiver Brandon Marshall. Each man got the better of the other during this practice, and you just know the best is yet to come.

“The first couple days I have really been competing against the Rabbit,” Marshall said. “I won one today and caught a go ball and then came back and he wiped that play out and he just shut me down on an in-cut and a 15-yard comeback. There were a few other plays where the ball didn’t come our way, but it was great competition and I appreciate that because I am not going to come out here and be embarrassed.”

Nor is Jenkins, who has covered Marshal in the past before both became Giants.

“You have to understand that I am in practice with him every day, so back then it was just one time a game, so I am just learning things that he likes to do, getting off the line of scrimmage like as far as bigger receivers,” Jenkins said.

Was he surprised by Marshall’s speed?

“No, it is no surprise. He got on top of me and it is just practice, so I am not going to go all out to make a play to hurt me or him, so he caught the ball.”

Roster Transactions

The Giants announced the signings of safety Duke Ihenacho, who will wear No. 23, and defensive end Devin Taylor, assigned No. 97.

“They’re two guys we took a look at yesterday and worked out,” McAdoo said. “They looked good in their workout and we felt that they could add depth and some value and make a push.”

To make room for Ihenacho and Taylor, the team terminated the contract of safety Rahim Moore and waived/injured defensive end/linebacker Ishaq Williams, who will be added to their injured reserve list assuming he clears waivers.

“Ishaq is a guy we liked the way he worked when he was here,” McAdoo said. “We’ll leave that at that.”

Call for Mailbag Questions

I’m looking for some mailbag questions for a big Memorial Day weekend mailbag. If you have something you want to know, send it to me using the form below and then check back this weekend for the mailbag.