New York Giants Training Camp Report: July 29, 2017

New York Giants all-in on building camaraderie on every play.

Head coach Ben McAdoo hasn’t come right out and said it in so many words, at  least not yet but it’s clear that’s really pushing the “all for one” motif in his locker room.

The best example of this came on one of the very first plays in the 11-on-11 session. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins picked off an Eli Manning pass and returned it for a touchdown.

That’s a pick, folks.

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If you recall, whenever there was an interception, usually the guys closest to the action would be the ones scrambling to either block or make the tackle.

Not so this time around. As Jenkins dashed toward the end zone, he had an army come hustling over to make sure he would not be denied. He also had coaches and teammates on the sideline running down along the sideline to cheer him on.

Meanwhile on offense, there was a similar picture. All 11 guys tried to chase down Jenkins to deny him entry into the end zone.

“The game’s about the ball,” head coach Ben McAdoo said. “Everyone wanted the ball.”

Everyone, coach?

“The defense was returning the interception; it essentially turns into a punt return when they get the ball in their hands. Everyone on defense blocks for the guy who intercepted the ball, which was jack-rabbit. Everyone on offense goes and covers the ball. It’s a whole team operation.”

And one that will serve them well once the darts start flying for real.

Injury Report

No change in the statuses of linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) and running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) both of whom are on the PUP list.

Defensive tackle Damon Harrison was with the team for the entire practice, but it looked like that his regular reps might have been cut back just a little to ease him back into the swing of things.

Rookie safety Jadar Johnson was held out of practice due to illness and guard John Jerry appeared to get dinged during practice. McAdoo didn’t have a status update on Jerry after practice, but it didn’t appear to be something serious.

Lineup Notes

Safety Darian Thompson continued to work with the first team defense, alongside of Landon Collins.   Jacob Huesman took a fair amount of snaps as the fullback in this practice, a day after Rhett Ellison handled most of those snaps. Ellison split his time between lining up in-line and working from the fullback spot.

Evan Engram saw some first-team reps. He certainly shows a willingness to block, though I’m not so sure his technique is where the coaches might want it to be just yet.

Jaron Jones, who came to the Giants as a defensive lineman, continued to get some snaps at offensive tackle–right tackle to be specific. He was part of the third-string offensive line, which also included (from left to right) Michael Bowie, D.J. Fluker, Jon Halapio, Jessamen Dunker, and Jones.

Stansly Maponga continues to work at linebacker. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I think he was barking out the play calls with the third-team defense.

What He Said

“In the NFL, you have to have at least three cornerbacks, but you might need five to cover those guys. ”

–CB Janoris Jenkins on having to cover all the Giants offense’s weapons in practice.

 

“To be honest, I’d never heard of him before last year and the thing that stood out was who is this guy, one. Two, I really haven’t seen anyone lead that way since Brian Dawkins. For him to be so young I thought it was even more impressive. He’s a stud. You don’t get better than that at that position.”

-WR Brandon Marshall on safety Landon Collins.

The Odell Beckham Jr. Show

It was the Odell Show today, as the highly motivated receiver, who clearly heard the crowd calling his name, rewarded his adoring public with a clinic ranging from the standard run-of-the-mill catches to the spectacular.

Beckham, who had worked on catching passes over his shoulder while the rest of the team went through special teams work, went on to open the 11-on-11 session by hauling in a beautiful over-the-shoulder pass against Janoris Jenkins down the far sideline.

“We had some good competition with the receivers and the defensive backs out there,” McAdoo said.

“They competed hard. They were smart when the ball was in the air. We didn’t have any big collisions out there, which is key to that. They’re working well together that way.”

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The pass, by the way, was something we didn’t see much of last year, and that is the deep ball. Per PFF, Manning completed 23 of 78 passes of 20+ yards with four dropped passes, six touchdowns and six interceptions. Clearly McAdoo and Manning are looking to improve on those numbers.

Before leaving Beckham, I’m still trying to figure out how middle linebacker B.J. Goodson drew the receiver in coverage.

I get it that Goodson needs experience, but to put him against the very best right out of the chute is almost unfair, especially since Beckham whizzed by Goodson as though the linebacker’s feet were stuck in quicksand.

The Quarterbacks

There is going to be growing pains for Davis Webb, and we saw some of that today. Every timing pass he threw to receivers running slant patterns was thrown in front of the receiver and fell incomplete.

Webb has a good arm and doesn’t bird-dog his passes, so once he gets the timing down, he’ll take a big step forward in his development.

Speaking of quarterbacks, I thought Geno Smith had the better practice. Smith is moving well, showing no signs of the torn ACL, he spent the spring recovering from. And he certainly can make all the throws they need him to make.

Accuracy, though, is another issue. At times Smith’s passes were off target, but to be fair, he didn’t work with the team drills in the spring (he was limited just to the 7-on-7s). So perhaps he’s still developing a feel for the receivers and the timing. Unofficially, I think Smith completed half of his pass attempts, while I think Josh Johnson only completed one attempt.

Speaking of Johnson, I thought he took far too long to make his reads and decide what to do with the ball. When he did let it fly, the pass ended up sailing out-of-bounds. I also don’t recall seeing him try anything over the middle.

The true test though will come when the games start. For now, expect Smith and Johnson to rotate with the second-string offense.

The Return of Play-action

The Giants ran quite a lot of play-action in this practice, something they didn’t do much of last year.

Per Pro Football Focus, the Giants attempted 100 play-action passes last year, with Eli Manning completing just 64 for 134 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Manning was able to connect on a few play-action passes over the middle.

Speaking of play-action, running back Wayne Gallman did a nice job of selling the run when he took his turn. Gallman then had no trouble slipping to the second level where he turned around and caught a short pass.

The Offensive Line

I get a lot of questions about how the offensive line is doing and I’ll say this again: you can’t tell until the pads go on and the hitting starts for real.

With that said, I did hone in on Bobby Hart and Ereck Flowers to see how they were moving. Hart, to my eyes at least, looks to be moving better. He’s anchoring better and did a nice job of keeping his hands inside his man’s framework, something that should pass the litmus test with the officials.

Flowers, I thought, had a bit of a mixed bag, depending on who he faced. He is quicker in his step, but in the beginning, it looks almost as though he’s still thinking about what he has to do, which to the casual observer makes him look uncomfortable.

On the plus side, Flowers’ feet don’t seem to be all over the map, which is part of the battle. He delivered a nice stiff-arm to linebacker Devon Kennard, but I thought Flowers still had is struggles when he went against Olivier Vernon.

Again, it’s early and until the pads go on, it’s unfair to draw any conclusions regarding the offensive and defensive linemen.

Fan Questions

I’m going to try to incorporate your questions about practice into these reports, just to make them a little more personal.

If you want your question answered, you MUST tag them #askPat. It’s the only way I’m going to find them (I get a lot of mentions during practice and sadly, I don’t always get the chance to go back and read every mention.)

If you really want to make sure I see them, submit them here. I’ll try to answer as many as I can in each camp report.

This question relates to Eli Manning’s arm strength. Based on the small sample size so far, no, Manning doesn’t appear to have lost any arm strength. He’s still throwing balls on a rope, his accuracy still seems good and through the first two practices at least, he seems to be making smart decisions with the ball.

As I noted in my tweet, Manning’s interception came on a  ball that got hung up by a gust of wind during today’s unseasonably cool weather.

Quick Hits

  • I thought Eli Apple got a little too grabby when trying to cover Odell Beckham Jr., who clearly beat him down the sideline. Otherwise, Apple had a decent enough showing, doing a nice job of breaking up pass intended for Sterling Shepard.
  • RB Khalid Abdullah, who had a dropped pass in this practice, seemed to hesitate on at least one run. By hesitating, the hole that had been there for him closed up in a snap and he ended up being strung out by the defense. Abdullah also missed his man on a blitz pickup.
  • Defensive end Owa Odighizuwa is facing some steep competition for a roster spot, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to go down without a fight. He knifed through the traffic and into the backfield to make a stop against the run. Playing the run, remember, was an area of Odighizuwa’s game that needed to really develop this year.
  • I’m curious to see if Wayne Gallman has ball security issues at this level. I saw him take one of his hands off the ball as he was trying to navigate through traffic. That’s a recipe for disaster.
  • During special teams drills in which the kickoff coverage team had to run past blocking dummies, I thought Donte Deayon delivered the hardest blow to his dummy, literally knocking it to the ground.
  • Mark Herzlich had a chance to come up with an interception against Geno Smith, but the ball hit him in the hands and fell incomplete.
  • The offense is showing a lot of interesting combinations. One such combination I think we’ll see a lot of is two receivers on one side and Evan Engram split out wide by his lonesome on the other. I saw that formation used a handful of times.

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.

DateStart TimeOpen to the Public?
Monday, August 1410:55 a.m. Yes
Tuesday, August 15CAMP CLOSEDNo