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5 things we learned on Training Camp opening day

Posted Jul 27, 2017

Giants.com's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from Thursday's press conferences: 

Training camp is officially open.

The New York Giants reported to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Thursday for meetings and conditioning tests. While their first practice isn’t until tomorrow (11:40 a.m. ET), coach Ben McAdoo, general manager Jerry Reese, and a handful of players met the media today to kick things off.  

Here are five things we learned:

1. McADOO WAXES POETIC

Football coaches tend to study history and not poetry, but McAdoo broke that mold to start his second training camp at the helm. He used Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” to drive his message home heading into training camp and, by extension, the 2017 season. If you haven’t read it before, that’s a bad job by you and you should look for it online (after you read this). It opens with the lines, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you” and ends with, “yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and—which is more—you’ll be a man, my son!”

McAdoo explained the choice.

>> TRAINING CAMP STORYLINES: WHAT TO WATCH FOR

“Well, we have a youth group and an experienced group,” he said. “We have players ranging from 21 years old to 36 years old. That’s a big age difference. The good teams merge well and gel well, and we need to do that. We need to understand what the other person’s going through. Empathy is a big part of that, and it really carries over as one of our values. A 36-year-old understanding what a 20-year-old is going through and a 20-year-old trying to understand what a 36-year-old is going through, and it’s not easy.”

2. VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FOR O-LINE

While the Giants did sign D.J. Fluker and draft Adam Bisnowaty in the sixth round to create competition, the same starting five offensive linemen return for 2017. That group knows continuity goes a long way, especially on the offensive line.

“I think we can take it as a vote of confidence,” center Weston Richburg said. “That says to us that [the organization] believes in us and we can be the unit that takes this team where we want to go. So, we’ve got to put in the work to make sure that happens.”

“Well, the thing that gives me optimism about the offensive line is they have a lot of snaps,” Reese said. “This unit has a lot of snaps under the belt. Fluker came in, he has a lot of snaps and some more players on the roster who have a lot of snaps. But the five guys who started last year, they’ve got a lot of snaps under the belt right now. The two young kids (Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart), they’re still very young, we’ve talked about their age. But it’s time for them to step up to the plate and be good players and I believe they will. All the offensive linemen are galvanized with respect to playing great.”


3. SNACKS IMPRESSED WITH TOMLINSON’S IQ

Damon “Snacks” Harrison will have a new partner at defensive tackle this season after Johnathan Hankins signed with the Colts in free agency. Time will tell when rookie Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants’ second-round draft choice, is ready to step up. In the meantime, the All-Pro has been impressed with the Alabama product, who was coached there by Karl Dunbar, the former defensive line coach of the Jets when Harrison broke into the league with the team as an undrafted rookie.

“Oh, smart, smart. The very first thing that pops out at you,” Harrison said of Tomlinson. “And that's a lot of rookies, [not just] quarterbacks, that's one of the things you don't really notice. But he got coached by my former coach, the one who taught me everything I know. Karl Dunbar. So I can see that helped him along the way. I see everything that Coach Dunbar taught me. Dalvin is picking up the same things.”


4. INJURY UPDATES

Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Draughn played in games for six teams in six years, most recently the San Francisco 49ers, before the Giants signed him in March. He will not participate in practice until being cleared by the medical staff, which can happen at any time during camp. Meanwhile, linebacker J.T. Thomas, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, is being evaluated and a decision will be made on his status. Additionally, second-year cornerback Eli Apple missed some time in the spring but said he is “100 percent” heading into camp.

5. ELI, VETS ON PITCH COUNTS

As his 36-year-old franchise quarterback enters his 14th season, Reese said the Giants will be smart with quarterback Eli Manning’s workload, like they have for the last couple years. The same goes for a few other veterans as the staff evaluates a variety of analytics, including the GPS trackers that the players wear at practice.

“Eli has to take care of himself and get himself ready to play mentally and physically,” Reese said. “When guys get up in age, you have to take care of them when they get up in age. There are a few guys on the squad that Coach McAdoo and our staff, we’ve talked about, ‘Okay, let’s make sure these guys get to the game, get to the season.’ You’ve got to protect them in some ways.”