Preparations for the Cardinals are underway at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as the Giants look to break their two-game losing streak. They host a 2-3-1 Arizona team on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Here are five things we learned from Wednesday's practice:
1. Barkley, Engram practiced fully. Last week, coach Pat Shurmur said time is your friend when you're coming back from an injury. The Giants didn't have it heading into their Thursday night game in Foxborough, but they did this week. Running back Saquon Barkley and tight Evan Engram, the team's leading rusher and receiver, were listed as full participants on the first injury report of Week 7. Barkley has been out since he suffered a high ankle sprain in Tampa Bay, and Engram missed the loss to New England because of a knee injury.
"We'll just see what the week holds," Shurmur said. "I'm sure everyone has questions with regard to it, but they practiced today and they did well. So we'll just see."
2. Jones focused on protecting the ball. Teammates, coaches, opponents and media members have sung praise for Daniel Jones, who has a month of starting experience under his belt. The rookie quarterback, however, has been much more critical of himself. He has more turnovers (six interceptions and three fumbles lost) than touchdowns (five passing and two rushing). The 10 days between games gave him a chance to do some self-scouting.
"I think it's been, looking back on the month, kind of up and down," said Jones, who won his first two starts but lost the last two. "I've been inconsistent overall. I've been good and been bad. I think there are certainly a lot of things to learn. When you look at the scheme or some of the decisions, some of my habits or bad habits, I think there are a lot of things to learn. So, I'll kind of separate those problems, (and) those individual issues and try to improve. But also, just getting more comfortable and getting more accustomed to what we are doing. I think I'll continue to learn and grow, but I've certainly had the opportunity to learn a lot this month."
3. Giants D prepares for a Cardinals offense that has a "college feel." First-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech) and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) came from high-octane offenses at the college level. They have brought that style to the NFL, which is adopting more and more of the college concepts with each passing season.
"It's kind of more of a college feel to it where guys are on the ball and they've got the spread on," linebacker and defensive co-captain Alec Ogletree said. "They make you defend the whole field—screen to the right, then come back, screen to the left, screen to the middle—all kinds of stuff that they do. So, it takes a lot of eye discipline and making sure guys are in the right positions."
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4. Peterson back from suspension in AZ. Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson returned to the Cardinals this week. The three-time All-Pro selection was suspended the first six games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.
"[His snaps] will be monitored, but he is one of the guys that takes great care of himself, so I expect him to play and play at a high level," Kingsbury said on a conference call with Giants reporters. "We don't know exactly how many snaps, but we are going to work through practice this week and take it from there."
"Well, he's a topflight corner in this league," Shurmur said. "Certainly, anyone that has his skill and ability and has played as well as he has for as long as he has, that'll be a boost to their defense."
From 2015 to 2017, James Bettcher served as Peterson's defensive coordinator in Arizona before he took over the same post with the Giants last season. Bettcher is just one of the handful of defensive connections to the Cardinals. From Arizona, the Giants also brought over safety Antoine Bethea, outside linebacker Markus Golden and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre. Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is now the Cardinals defensive coordinator.
"I'm not sure there is any carry over," Klinsgbury said. "I know everybody here speaks very highly of [Bettcher] and really liked what he was about. They thought he was a tremendous coach, tremendous person, I've heard nothing but good things. I don't think there is a ton of carry over. Vance is kind of from his own tree and doing his own thing."
5. Beal designated for return; Ballentine (concussion) did not practice. Just as the Giants designated Sam Beal (hamstring) for return from injured reserve, they went down another cornerback. Rookie Corey Ballentine did not participate in today's practice because of a concussion. Meanwhile, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, running back Wayne Gallman and Pierre were all limited today as they remain in the concussion protocol.
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