Five observations from Wednesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, where preparations are underway for the Giants' Week 8 road game against the Detroit Lions:
1. Bucannon flows into defense, could play Sunday. When you pull up the Giants depth chart and see “$LB” as a position in James Bettcher's defense, it's not a typo. The "money" linebacker is reserved for a hybrid player who can fill gaps in the run game and cover receivers in the passing game. Deone Bucannon was Bettcher's guy in Arizona, and now he is again in New York. The Giants signed the sixth-year pro yesterday.
"I'm going to flow in like water," he said after the first practice with his new team. "When I'm on the field, I enjoy being an expert at my work, just like you with your craft. You take it very seriously, I take my craft very seriously, I handle it like a job. As far as the money backer and things like that, we have money backers here. I'm a money backer, but we also have other money backers as well that can do the job as well.
"I'm just here to be a playmaker, be another voice, and hopefully someway, somehow, be helpful to this team. That's all I'm worried about and if my name is called upon every play, if my name is called upon three plays, whatever it is, I'm going to do my best each and every play that my name is called upon. Like I said, that's all I can control, just like every other player on this field, that's what they can control, too."
Because of his familiarity with the system, Shurmur said Bucannon should be able to "get up and running quickly." They will try to get him ready to go for Sunday in Detroit.
2. Golden welcomed the addition. Outside linebacker Markus Golden agreed that the Giants feel somewhat like "Cardinals East" after yet another former teammate joined the roster. Golden spent time with Bucannon in Arizona, as did fellow defenders Kareem Martin, Antoine Bethea and Olsen Pierre.
"He's going to bring it every day, no matter what," Golden said. "Whether it's practice or game day, he is going to be ready, no matter what. He loves to workout, so you are going to catch him in the weight room most of the day."
Golden added: "[It] really [helps] because he can cover, and he can play the run like a real linebacker. I feel like Buc brings an intensity, he will be able to fly around. Whether it's in coverage and in the run game, he will be able to get in there and make plays, too."
Staying on the subject of the Cardinals, Golden is in the middle of his best season since he racked up 12.5 sacks for them in 2016. He has five through seven games with his new team.
"I think the guys on the edge have probably exceeded what the outside expectations were," Shurmur said. "I think I mentioned it throughout, I thought Markus Golden was a guy that has sack potential. I really felt like Lorenzo [Carter] was going to get better and have production. We've got guys on defense that…X-Man [Oshane Ximines]. You talk about just the edges, and then some of the interior stuff has been good, too, with some of the younger players. I don't know what to make of it other than we're comparing something now that was the perception of those in the offseason just looking at the roster."
3. Injury report. Cornerback Corey Ballentine (Concussion) did not practice. Running back Saquon Barkley (Ankle) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Concussion) were limited. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter (Ankle) and wide receiver Cody Latimer (Quad) were full-go.
After practice, Shurmur said Barkley had some "game soreness" after he played for the first time since Week 3 but expects him to be good for Sunday. Shepard, meanwhile, has practiced "pretty much full" except for contact as he remains in the concussion protocol.
4. Healthy Slayton growing into role. After a hamstring caused Darius Slayton to miss the first two games, the rookie wide receiver has seen his snaps increase to the point where he played all but two in Week 7. He is third on the team with 217 yards on just 14 catches (15.5-yard average).
"He's obviously playing more," Shurmur said. "He's healthy. We don't have as many wideouts as we would have in some (games). I think he's doing a good job. He's getting better. He's found a way to make some plays. I think Daniel [Jones] likes throwing to him. He trusts that he's going to be where he's supposed to be. Again, he's another young player that's out there. He sees things each week that he's maybe seeing for the first time. The fact that he's getting a lot of reps will help him get better faster."
5. Giants-Lions connections. Giants fans will hear some familiar names during Sunday's broadcast. That will include running back Paul Perkins, who today was promoted to the Lions' active roster from the practice squad after leading rusher Kerryon Johnson landed on injured reserve.
On defense, the Lions have former Giants linebacker Devon Kennard, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and defensive end Romeo Okwara. Additionally, their quarterbacks coach is Sean Ryan, who served on the Giants' staff from 2007-2015. Conversely, Giants wide receiver Golden Tate played 71 games with Detroit until he was traded to Philadelphia in the middle of last season.
"Golden, I obviously really enjoyed my time with him both as a player and really as a person," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "He's a great person and someone that plays extremely hard, he's tough, he's extremely skilled with the football in his hands and really difficult to play against. I played against him in a couple different spots that he's been in, that I've been in, and just have the utmost respect for him as a player. Certainly those decisions, last year was last year, and I know everyone involved was trying to do everything they could, but in the end, I obviously just want the best for him and everything he has going forward, but certainly know what a challenge I have to try to face him this weekend. He's a great player, like I said, I have the utmost respect for him and always have through the course of the years."
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