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Sideline View: Practice observations (8/18)

Posted Aug 18, 2017

Giants.com brings you Training Camp notes and observations straight from the sidelines:


The New York Giants were back on the fields today at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

They held their final full practice before Monday night’s preseason game in Cleveland. That will kick off an 11-day stretch that includes three outings as they tune up for the 2017 regular season.

Here is what we learned today at practice:

•   Today was the 23rd day of summer camp for the Giants, and if you couple that with a muggy day in East Rutherford, there were bound to be some heavy legs. “I asked a couple guys during practice, and I think they were, which is about normal for this time at training camp,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “If we can get over the hump and get those legs back, we’ll be okay.”

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•   The dog days haven’t gotten to cornerback Donte Deayon, who made a nice play on the ball and redirected a pass that safety Andrew Adams intercepted. That follows up an interception yesterday from Michael Hunter, who is part of a stiff competition for cornerback depth. “Double D is doing a heck of a job, made another big play today,” Spagnuolo said. “Look, there has been some great battles. What I like about that group of corners, they love to compete. And you can’t play that position in this league if you don’t embrace competitiveness.”

•   Because of injuries, there are some moving pieces in the linebacker corps right now. J.T. Thomas was on the physically unable to perform list for most of the summer until recently being activated as he comes off a torn ACL. Meanwhile, Keenan Robinson missed an extended period of time while in the concussion protocol, and Mark Herzlich has been out with a stinger. That has led to more reps for guys like Calvin Munson and Curtis Grant. “I think both of those guys are doing a really good job,” Spagnuolo said. “I’ll tell you this about Calvin: really impressed with the command that he has in the huddle for a rookie free agent just walking in there. … Curtis is doing a lot for us. He’s played all three positions, plays the MIKE, the SAM, and the WILL, he was out there in the sub defense. So from his standpoint, he’s learning a lot but he’s embracing it. He knows, in his position, that the best thing to do is be a jack of all trades. Hopefully master them all.”

•   In order to speed up, sometimes you have to slow things down. That’s what rookie tight end Evan Engram, who caught a touchdown today in the green zone, learned in his first taste of NFL action last week against the Steelers. The first-round pick said that his main goal against the Browns is to play fast. “I had to lock in,” he said of the first preseason game. “Just being out there, I was kind of wide-eyed and a little nervous. So, being in the huddle, I kind of had to slow down, lock in, hear the play call, get to the line. Just kind of slow everything down. In practice, we go through reads and just do all my stuff I usually do. But in the game, sometimes those nerves will build up, especially being a rookie and your first time out there, definitely stuff flies over your head. So, just kind of just slowing everything down, locking in, get back to what you’ve been doing. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve taken away.”

•   Friday was a heavy practice with a lot of special teams work. The main storyline of the summer in that phase of the game has been at kicker, where Aldrick Rosas and veteran Mike Nugent have been alternating, like they did in the first preseason game when they were perfect on their attempts. Rosas hit from 52 and 27 yards, while Nugent connected from 45 and 30. “It’s been good,” special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. “The timing was perfect with it. We got to get good, solid work with Aldrick, get him kind of exactly where we wanted to and then you bring a guy (Nugent) in to compete and it’s good to have a second leg in camp. Like today, we did kickoff, kickoff return and field goals. So there were a lot of kicks there. If you have one guy, then you probably have to put a machine in there. So, it’s been good.”

•   The Giants today waived/injured wide receivers Keeon Johnson (foot) and Kevin Snead (hamstring). They signed Canaan Severin and Ed Eagan to take their places in the wide receivers room.

•   Coach Ben McAdoo will speak to the media tomorrow. He’ll likely be asked about playing time for the starters, so be on the lookout for that on Giants.com. Yesterday, he said the plan will be like last season when Eli Manning played in the second and third preseason games after sitting in the opener. Manning did not suit up in the finale either in 2016. This year’s lopsided preseason schedule will factor into playing time.