Training camp may be over, but now the real work begins.
The New York Giants wrapped their annual summer training camp Tuesday afternoon, but head coach Ben McAdoo knows the team still has a lot of work to do before their September 10 regular season opener.
However, before they reach what’s unofficially become an annual tradition, an opening week primetime showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, not only do the Giants need to tackle a trio of exhibition games, they must do so over the span of 11 days.
“This week is going to be our most challenging week. We have three games in 11 days coming up. So, we need to make sure we get the most out of this week right here and that’s by design,” McAdoo said.
“We’re going to be a little heavy-legged and we’re going to be sore, but we’re going to build calluses. When we get our legs back, it’s going to lead to great things for us, but we’re not going to get them back any time soon.”
McAdoo then channeled his inner Bart Scott, replying “can’t wait” when asked about the preseason trio, with the annual MetLife Bowl showdown at home against the Jets sandwiched by roadtrips to Cleveland and New England.
One of the newest Giants, receiver Brandon Marshall, played only a handful of snaps in the Giants’ preseason opener Friday night. So he is more than ready for what lies ahead with the upcoming slate, noting that he’s been able to strengthen his connection with quarterback Eli Manning and the rest of his new offense.
“I think we’ll be in a good position where I can help pull coverage off Odell (Beckham Jr) and make his job easier,” Marshall said.
“I could make sure the middle (of the field) is a little bigger for WR Sterling Shepard and TE Evan Engram. We’ll be fine. We’ll have some good chemistry this year; I can say that. But I can’t put any timetable on it.”
McAdoo, incidentally, wasn’t too thrilled with the team’s final training camp practice, which he characterized part of being “sloppy.”
With camp finally over, defensive tackle Damon Harrison will finally get a chance to spend a bit more time with his newborn son, Damon Jr., whom Harrison and his wife Alexis welcomed on July 5. Damon Jr. is Harrison’s fourth child.
“I’ve been at the [team] hotel, so I’ve just been avoiding it a little bit,” Harrison said of his fatherly duties. “I’ll be up at three, four, five in the morning and be at work at eight. I go home at night for about 45 minutes and then I’ve got to come back. So, yeah, I see him every night and then he comes out to practice, too.”
Alexis has been a frequent camp visitor, bringing Damon Jr. along.
“I still look at it the same way I looked at it the very first day I got here,” Harrison said when asked if his outlook has changed since Damon Jr.’s birth. “Nothing’s promised, nothing’s guaranteed. I’ve got to go out there and work like everybody else.”
After earning All-Pro honors in his first season in blue, Harrison envisions bigger, better things for 2017.
“I think we can win a lot of games,” Harrison prophesied. “Whether that (involes) me getting double-digit sacks or not, that’s just a personal goal of mine. I have a number in my mind that I’m chasing.”
Harrison did not disclose that number.
“I can’t do that, man! Then you’re going to try and hold me to it,” Harrison said with a smile. “If I don’t get it, ‘Snacks’ is a liar.”
Take A Lap
In a move that could perhaps be best described as “Coughlin-esque”, McAdoo sentenced Geno Smith and Wayne Gallman to run a lap as punishment for a fumble that took place in the shadow of the Giants’ goal-line.
Smith, in fact, had a rough day, losing two balls, one of which came on a botched handoff. That play apparently was the straw that broke the camel’s, er, McAdoo’s back
“The ball was on the ground way too much today. We needed an opportunity to gain our composure, so I gave a couple players an opportunity to gain their composure,” McAdoo said.
Was the sloppiness maybe a result of wear?
“We could use (being a late camp practice) as an excuse, but we won’t,” McAdoo said. “It was sloppy.”
S Landon Collins (illness) was not present.
LB/TE Mark Herzlich (stinger) and DT Corbin Bryant (elbow) were also missing. Bryant was later placed on season-ending injured reserve.
LB BJ Goodson (back) left during team drills. He remained on the field, but wasn’t allowed to put his helmet back on.
LB Devon Kennard (soreness) sat out. McAdoo expects him to be back on Thursday, however.
RB Shaun Draughn (ankle) and LB JT Thomas (knee were finally activated from the PUP list. Thomas continued to work with a trainer while Draughn began with some individual drills.
WR Tavarres King (ankle) likewise returned.
The Giants signed linebacker Steven Daniels to their roster, completing a 90-man set. Daniels, 24, was a seventh-round pick by Washington last season, but suffered a torn labrum in training camp that put him on IR the entire year. He spent most of this summer with Philadelphia before getting one step closer to completing NFC East bingo by signing with the Giants.
Andrew Adams took first team reps at safety alongside Darian Thompson due to Collins’ absence.
Jonathan Casillas anchored a linebacker corps co-starring rookies Calvin Munson and Curtis Grant.
What He Said
“These are the tough days, these are the dog days of camp. Everybody’s dinged up, everybody’s nicked up, hurt in some way, shape or form, and you’ve just got to grind through it. I tell everybody, these are the days we should get paid for, not during the season. These are the tough days, man. The Sundays and Mondays are easy.”
–Damon Harrison on the end of training camp
Play of the Day
Marshall channeled his inner Odell Beckham Jr. with a one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone, as seen in this video shot by NJ Advance Media’s James Kratch.
— James Kratch (@JamesKratch) August 15, 2017
Marshall humorously commented on the catch afterwards, joking that his catch wouldn’t appear in the SportsCenter Top 10, as the spots were likely all already occupied by Beckham.
- Mike Nugent handled field goal duties; He went 4-for-4, the longest being from 47 yards out.
- Munson made the most of his first-team opportunity, plowing through the line on a goal-line situation to prevent Paul Perkins from scoring.
- Practice, and by extension camp, ended in players running gassers. Eric Pinkins, separated from Janoris Jenkins after their showdown in the last gasser session, led a good majority of the reps.
Fan Questions of the Day
What is your personal pick for top position battle or battles to watch during the preseason?
— Michael Sacks (@MichaelSacks93) August 15, 2017
Thanks for your question, Mike. I’m personally leaning toward the fullback battle between Shane Smith and Jacob Huesman. These two guys are not just fighting for a job, they’re fighting to ensure the existence of a whole position in the Giants’ offense.
While the struggles continued, the Giants’ run game noticeably improved in Friday’s game with a fullback in the lineup. This week in practice, Smith has even gotten some goal line carries. It’ll be interesting to see Smith, the San Jose State protect, go up against the quarterback-turned-fullback Huesman, in a challenge to improve the Giants’ often maligned run game.
On defense, the Giants are set for defensive end starters in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, but the valuable backup slots (made even more important due to Pierre-Paul’s injury last season) have some worth names. Romeo Okwara shined in Giants’ playoff push while filling in for Pierre-Paul.
Kerry Wynn had a strong performance against Pittsburgh on Friday. Veteran Devin Taylor was added late. Avery Moss selected in the fifth round. Even undrafted free agent Evan Schwan has made some noise in camp.
Honorable mentions go to the backup quarterback battle between Josh Johnson and Geno Smith, while training camp darling Matt LaCosse is fighting with veterans in a crowded tight end picture to make the roster.
Who starts at Left tackle for majority of the season?
— Michael Gentile (@M_Gents) August 15, 2017
Another Mike, another good question. At this point, his polarizing training camp aside, the Giants seem dedicated to Ereck Flowers. Considering he’s a top-10 selection, a rarity in East Rutherford (for the Giants anyway), the Giants are understandably going to try their hardest to squeeze anything they can out of him.
In addition, the Giants didn’t really make any notable moves on the line to sub in if Flowers falters again. Much was made of the Giants picking up undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler, but he likewise has had an inconsistent camp. Unless DJ Fluker, currently listed as RT Bobby Hart’s backup, makes a move over, expect the Giants to continue the Flowers experiment.
With training camp sessions wrapped up, the Giants will enjoy a day off Wednesday before taking on three days of prep for their second preseason contest at Cleveland Monday night (8:00 PM, ESPN).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490