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OTA practice notes and observations (5/31)

Posted May 31, 2017

Giants.com brings you an inside look at Wednesday's OTA Practice:

The NFL season is less than 100 days away.

But for now, the New York Giants have reached the midway point of their organized team activities (OTAs). They held their fifth of 10 practices today at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, and it was a heavy workday with a lot of plays and work in the red zone.

Let’s get to it. Here is everything I spotted today:

•  Before the holiday weekend, coach Ben McAdoo warned that “it's going to get pretty heavy” for the players this week. Today was one of those days where they felt it. On a muggy day outdoors in East Rutherford, the Giants took extensive reps in the red zone for the first time in OTAs. That sped up the pace, especially for the rookies, who learned that everything happens much quicker in tight quarters.

•  Eli Manning and second-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard were clicking today and started off with a nice gain on the first play of practice as the offense approached the red zone. Manning then threw his first of two touchdowns on the day to wide receiver Tavarres King.

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•  After the score, the defense buckled down near the goal line and made things difficult for the offense. Safety Landon Collins, who is coming off a first-team All-Pro season, nearly had a pick-six coming out of the end zone near the left sideline but was unable to hold onto the ball. The first team wasn’t the only group that stood out. The second and third teams on defense also held up.

•  Quarterback Geno Smith, who is still limited as he comes off a torn ACL that he suffered with the Jets, keeps taking on more and more of a workload. He hooked up with undrafted wide receiver Travis Rudolph for a touchdown on a nice catch in the back left corner of the end zone. All four of the passers got on the board with short touchdown passes today (Josh Johnson found wide receiver Dwayne Harris, and rookie Davis Webb hit running back Khalid Abdullah).

•  Second-year running back Paul Perkins got a ton of touches today, which isn’t a surprise because McAdoo named him the starter before the team began OTAs. There was a fun moment when he and cornerback Janoris Jenkins got into a footrace down the sideline. Perkins won that time.

•  Speaking of 2016 draft picks who are in line for bigger roles in 2017, linebacker B.J. Goodson stood out today. He’s calling out the plays on defense and nearly had an interception over the middle.

•  Undrafted safety Jadar Johnson intercepted Webb late in practice. Johnson is trying to make the team after thriving in his lone season as a starting safety for the national champion Clemson Tigers. He amassed 106 tackles, nine interceptions and 12 pass breakups in 1,484 snaps over 54 games (17 starts) in his career.

•  Back to the Manning-Shepard connection. They combined for a handful of completions today, including a sliding catch over the middle by Shepard, who looked like a centerfielder coming in to make the play.

•  Manning’s longest play, however, was to wide receiver Roger Lewis deep down the left sideline. A few plays later, he found a wide-open King down the opposite side on a busted coverage.

•  During seven-on-seven drills for the rookies, Webb and first-round pick Evan Engram were in good rhythm on a play down the seam. That’s where the Giants think the rookie tight end can help the offense the most. Engram also had a similar play earlier in practice on a pass from Johnson.

•  The Giants have five OTAs remaining: June 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9. Mandatory minicamp will be held  June 13-15.