Defensive Storm Bears Down On Rainy Monday
Forced indoors due to frequent rain on Monday morning into afternoon, a storm brewed inside the Quest Diagnostic Training Center field house to open a new week of training camp, particularly one of the blue variety.
Yes, the Giants are known as a whole by their “Big Blue” moniker, but on this day, the color represented the dominance of one side of the ball during team drills. With each offensive unit given 1:42 of game time to work with to drive 80 yards for a score, the corresponding defensive group held strong each time, allowing no points.
Head coach Ben McAdoo was pleased with the defensive prowess, but stressed that for a team to succeed, both sides of the ball need to perform to their best abilities.
“It’s nice to see the defense keeping them out of the end zone when they need a score,” McAdoo said before adding “The offense had some sloppiness at the end of the drives where we need to get better. We need to be more crisp finishing drives. There were some opportunities there, but the defense held them out nicely.”
LB Devon Kennard, while acknowledging that defensive stops are to be expected of the Giants’ defense, was pleased with the way his unit rose to the occasion.
“In my opinion, that is what we’re supposed to do,” Kennard said. “We want to be in tough situations and get the win and situations where the offense expects themselves to win and that drill is for the offense.”
Kennard went on to lament that training camp practices don’t allow for sacks, as the quarterbacks remain clad in the red non-contact uniforms.
“We get so mad on defense when one of our d-linemen gets a sack and they scramble and throw it down field and they are like ‘complete’!” Kennard said “We’re mad on the defensive side, so for us to be able to get three stops in a row, it’s a testament to how well we are jelling on the defensive side of the ball.”
Kennard hopes it’s a preview of what’s to come when the Giants square off against offenses other than their own. Their first opportunity comes on Friday night, when they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to MetLife Stadium for the first preseason game (7:00 EST, WNBC).
“I would like to see our communication be very well and physicality. Teams tried to run the ball on us. I want to see us set the tempo from ground zero and that’s me personally,” Kennard said.
“If safeties and linebackers are communicating well, and we are getting the things that we need to to the d-line, from a linebacker perspective, I think it starts there. If we are doing that and being physical, I like where we are headed.”
He’s the Man-ning
Eli Manning spoke at the podium following Monday’s practice, but hopefully you got a good look at him, because the veteran did not seem confident about appearing in Friday’s opener.
“Did (McAdoo) tell you all anything?” Manning rhetorically asked with a laugh. “We haven’t had that conversation yet, so I’m sure he’ll let me know in the next couple of days what the plan is. So, we’ll go from there.”
Manning did not play in the Giants’ preseason opener last season against Miami, and he also sat out the finale against New England. It was a stark contrast to his time under Tom Coughlin, where Manning would routinely play in the preseason premiere, sometimes even into the second quarter.
“(In) the first preseason game, you might take six or seven snaps. So, it’s not like it’s going to make a difference for that upcoming season,” Manning said. “I think you’ve got enough reps in practice, enough reps in the second and third (games) and obviously 13 other years of preseason and regular season games should get me in good rhythm.”
Manning also mentioned he’s getting along well with the Giants’ new-look offense.
“I think we’re doing some good stuff. Brandon (Marshall) and I, getting on the same page. Every day there’s something new that comes up, though. A route here, a concept, just getting on the same timing.
“You can kind of talk about everything, but you’ve got to get in as many live reps, one-on-ones, get running different routes, getting on the same timing with things will be good,” he said. “Same with Evan (Engram). He’s making some plays, doing a lot of good things, but the more one-on-ones, the more situations, different things coming up every practice. There’s something to learn from it every day.”
Manning also addressed the Giants’ locker room “dance parties” which have become very popular on social media. Manning’s moves…or lack thereof…have generated a good amount of attention.
“They’re having fun. That’s always training camp, there’s going to be different things,” he said. “You’ve got to enjoy this time, it is a lot of practice, it’s a lot of meetings, it is hard work and there are hot days and those things, but there’s always those little thirty minute stretches where you have down time and guys get to mess around.
“It used to be, you did it at night, or you did it when you were in the dorm rooms, or hanging out, or playing pranks. Now in the hotel, there’s not much time at the hotel. You get done late and you’re kind of back in your room. So, that time has kind of come into the locker room during the day, where you get little breaks where I guess they’ve turned into dance parties now.”
Old Man Shane
Runnign back Shane Vereen isn’t used to being the veteran presence in his position group, but with Rashad Jennings’s release, that’s exactly what he’s become. Taking on a bit of a mentor role to second-year man Paul Perkins and rookie Wayne Gallman, Vereen himself admitted it was “kind of weird”.
“For the longest time, I looked at myself as being the young guy looking up,” the former Patriot said. “Now, I know I have to speak up a little more and help them in the ways that I was helped when I was a young guy entering the league.”
While Vereen has expressed support for de facto starter Perkins throughout the offseason, he expressed a desire to return to the top spot.
“All I want to do now is get out there and make some plays, and it goes vice versa,” Vereen said. “At the end of the day, we’ll all be better for it.”
Vereen, 28, is slated to return to the field for the first time since December. A triceps injury limited him to five games last season. As a veteran, he’s used to preseason work, but ready to get back to action.
“I definitely want to get back in the rhythm of things, the speed of the game, kind of just getting my feet wet with that,” Vereen said. “I’ve been doing this for a while, and the start of preseason is just about getting ready to go.”
What He Said
“I think he’s been dialed in and been a great leader and just setting the example for how to be prepared for every practice.”
–QB Eli Manning on new WR Brandon Marshall
WR Sterling Shepard (ankle) returned to the practice field and fully participated. McAdoo stated he was “moving around good” and even went as far as to say he’d be open to Shepard playing on Friday “if he’s ready to go”.
Lienbacker Kennan Robinson (concussion) remained in protocol. Receiver Kevin Snead left practice with a trainer. Per NJ Advance Media’s Dan Duggan, it looked like a hamstring issue.
Defensive tackle Robert Thomas worked to the side for a majority of practice. So too did linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Fan Question of the Day
What is JPP'S physical condition?
— Phyllis Watkins (@PhyllisLenore5) August 7, 2017
Thanks for the question, Phyllis. DE Jason Pierre-Paul seemed to be hitting his stride last season before an injury caused him to miss almost all of the winter stretch.
Speaking last week, Pierre-Paul appeared to be in good spirits, some panicked when he didn’t suit up, but the veteran spoke after practice to clarify he was just talking a rest day, predetermined by the coaching staff. He assured fans of his health, declaring “nothing is wrong with me.”
McAdoo later stated that Pierre-Paul had to be talked out of suiting up for practice that day. Barring an unforeseen injury in the preseason, expect Pierre-Paul to be ready for the regular season.
Going into this year, where do you rank Eli amongst the NFC East QBs?
— Scott Messina (@ScottTakes16) August 7, 2017
Thanks Scott, good to hear from you. Ranking the NFC East quarterbacks is difficult. Whereas Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins are young and on the rise, Manning has proven himself time and time again.
Sure, there has been a fair share of frustration along the way, but the fact remains that Manning, unlike any of his compatriots, has earned two Super Bowl rings, something even more celebrated competitors like Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo were unable to do.
If the ranking is by who you would want to be your starting quarterback over the next 4-5 years, Manning, 36, is probably at the bottom of that list. But if you’re looking to win now, you have to lean toward the two-time Lombardi Trophy hoister.
The future may be bright for the other trio, but if you need immediate wins–and the Giants are built for that–Manning is your, well, man.
- CB Nigel Tribune sealed the defensive sweep on a tremendous note, swatting away a Geno Smith pass intended for Travis Rudolph.
- A few plays earlier, another rookie, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, knocked down a Smith pass at the line.
- LB Jonathan Casillas began practice working to the side, but laid down a solid hit on Gallman.
- Odell Beckham Jr. broke out for a nice run on a reverse.
- During an early team session, Marshall made a circus catch, juggling a Manning pass several times before hauling it with one hand in the end zone.
- Darius Powe had another good day, besting Janoris Jenkins twice during one-on-one drills.
- Backup QB’s Josh Johnson and Davis Webb stayed behind after practice to get some extra reps in.
- Offensive lineman D.J.Fluker got some work at left guard and at right tackle with the two’s and three’s.