New York Giants Practice Report: August 23, 2017

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo likes to keep as much information as close as possible to the vest, even in the preseason.

He’s stayed true to that practice in the days after the sprained ankle suffered by the team’s star receiver, Odell Beckham Jr.

“He’s got an ankle,” McAdoo said when asked for an update. “He is in (the training room) getting treatment.”

McAdoo ducked a question about Beckham’s availability for the season opener against the Cowboys in 18 days, saying they team was taking things day by day. He also declined to disclose any results from Beckham’s MRI or to say whether the receiver was in a walking boot.

While McAdoo wasn’t of much help in shedding clarity on Beckham’s status, some of the receiver’s teammates were. Defensive end Olivier Vernon said he wasn’t worried about Beckham being ready for opening weekend, adding, “I know Odell’s in high spirits right now and we’re going to have him back.”

“I think he’s going to be smart with his rehab and handle it like a professional,” added center Weston Richburg. “He’s had things like that happen before, and he came back strong and ready to go. I have faith that he’s going to be ready to go.”

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who said he saw Beckham walking around the facility, is another teammate who expressed optimism.

“You kind of don’t want to think about (Beckham not being ready). You’ve got Odell and (Brandon) Marshall that’s out, you know, that’s definitely a big part of our offense, but you don’t want to put your mind on that.

“As long as you see the guys walking around the locker room like there’s not a problem, you’re happy about that. Now if he was someone just lying on the table or something, that’s different.”

Injury Report

As expected, the Giants kept Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) inside, presumably to get treatment. However, receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder) was on the sideline today, but he didn’t practice, nor did receivers Dwayne Harris (upper body) and Tavarres King (ankle).

Linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion) remains out of action. Robinson hasn’t been seen on the field since he left practice early last week. Cornerback Michael Hunter (concussion) is also in the protocol.

Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle) did very limited work in the 7-on-7 drills, but I didn’t see him doing any team drills.

Linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger) returned to action, though he wore the yellow “no contact” vest during his limited snaps. Linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) also finally got some reps for the first time since suffering his season-ending knee injury last year. 

Transactions

The Giants waived/injured receivers Darius Powe and Andrew Turzilli, both of whom had a hamstring.

The waiving of Powe ends what had been a promising summer in which the 23-year old was really pushing for a roster spot. However, the Giants felt they couldn’t afford to wait for Powe.

“We’re short on receivers,” McAdoo said. “We think highly of Darius. He’s been a good, productive player for us in the offseason and camp. It’s simply a numbers issue at this point.””

Powe will end up on the Giants injured reserve list if he clears waivers.

The Giants also waived offensive linemen Corin Brooks and Michael Bowie.

Bowie is currently facing a charge of domestic assault and battery back in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We have waived Michael Bowie,” general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement released by the team. “As we have already stated, we were made aware of this situation on Saturday. The league has started to gather more information. That process will continue. The outcome of that process will determine whether there is another opportunity here for Michael.”

The four newcomers to the roster include receivers Marquis Bundy and C.J. Germany, and offensive linemen Richard Levy and Matt Rotheram.

Cornerback Valentino Blake was not present for practice. McAdoo didn’t shed any light as to why, other than to say he was kept inside today, but the league’s official transaction report lists Blake as having “left the squad,” the Giants receiving a roster exemption for Blake.

The Giants should be able to sign another player to the roster with Blake on the exemption list.

Lineup Notes

McAdoo hinted during his Tuesday conference call that they might look at other options on the starting offensive line. Well, he made good on that today when third-year man Brett Jones got a handful of snaps at right guard in place of John Jerry.

“Brett does some good things for us,” McAdoo said when asked how Jones did. “He is a tremendous communicator, whether he is at center or guard. He knows the scheme, knows the system, helps communicate to the players around him. He is a physical player. He plays with good pad level and we trust Brett.”

As they’ve done periodically this summer, the Giants defense ran several 3-4 looks today in which they had a defensive end line up as the outside linebacker.

Olivier Vernon handled that role with the first team defense, and then Romeo Okwara with the second team defense. I will have to go back and look, but I believe the Giants ran the same play Monday night when Vernon came from across the field to break up a pass intended for Browns tight end David Njoku.

Roger Lewis saw several snaps with the starting offense, as did receiver Travis Rudolph. Lewis, as I’ve noted below, had himself a big day.

Also worth noting is that D.J. Fluker received snaps with the second-team offensive line at right tackle, the position previous occupied by Adam Bisonwaty.

Bisnowaty, the rookie sixth-round draft pick, has struggled this offseason, so the Giants, who initially brought Fluker in as a guard but who didn’t rule out getting a look at him at offensive tackle, are cashing in that chip.

Jones, by the way, played right guard on the second team offensive line when Fluker moved outside to tackle.

Professor Vernon

As if the Giants need another reason to appreciate what defensive end Olivier Vernon brings to the team, the 26-year-old has taken on more and more of a mentor role, not just for his fellow defensive ends, but also for the offensive linemen.

Quite often when there’s a break in the action, Vernon can be seen offering tips to a teammate. Lat week he was spotted trying to help out defensive end Avery Moss, to whom he was demonstrating some pass rush moves. And on Monday night, he was spotted on the sidelines coaching up veteran defensive end Devin Taylor.

“I just try to give off what I’ve learned in the past,” Vernon said, almost uncomfortable with having to talk about it. “I know for me, when I was younger, it was helpful when the older guys would just give me some knowledge of, if I’m doing anything out there, what I need to improve on, stuff like that. So, whatever I see, I just try to give it back to the young guys and just try to help them out.”

Interestingly enough, more and more guys seem to be following Vernon’s lead in another area. When he’s not coaching up his teammates, Vernon can be seen doing wind sprints  during the TV timeout part of practice or when special teams is working.

Lately, he’s had some teammates join him, including fellow defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, offensive tackle Bobby Hart and safety Landon Collins, just to name a few.

You can’t help but wonder if more guys took Vernon’s approach if this team would really be unstoppable.

What He Said 

“It’s going to be a long game for me if I have to do that all the time, you know?”

– DE Olivier Vernon when asked if he was trying to add cornerback to his repertoire.

Quick Hits

  • With Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. sidelined, receiver Roger Lewis had himself a big day today, catching numerous passes, including one that was almost Beckham like in nature, a one-handed grab he caught just shy of the end zone. Lewis, who was believed to be on the bubble at the start of camp, just might stick around given the injury to Darius Powe (hamstring) which resulted in Powe being waived.
  • Kicker Aldrick Rosas went three of four in field goal attempts. I can’t tell you what the distances were as he was kicking on the opposite end of the field, away from the patio where the media was stationed.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul spent a few minutes on the sideline coaching up left tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • Romeo Okwara, playing outside linebacker in that hybrid 3-4, broke up a pass intended for tight end Matt LaCosse.
  • Evan Engram did well to catch and hang on to the ball despite having safety Landon Collins draped all over him.
  • Adam Bisnowaty, working at right tackle with the third-string line, was beaten cleanly off the edge by, I think Owa Odighizuwa. Odighizuwa seemed to stun Bisnowaty with that first quick step that he offers.
  • Former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw stopped by today to watch practice.