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5 things we learned at media hour (8/4)

After practice the past two days, head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive line coach Hal Hunter and players, including Odell Beckham, Jr., spoke to the media. This is what you need to know from the pressers:

1. Saquon Barkley can play anywhere. The hype around rookie running back Saquon Barkley has been about not only his running style, but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. In addition, Barkley has lined up out wide and impressed everyone, including tight end Evan Engram.

"Last couple of days they've been throwing him out wide and he's been making plays from the number one receiver," Engram said. "That's just how dynamic he could be for us and it's definitely a plus. Him actually being an option for Eli [Manning] definitely puts defenses in a bind and then you put one guy in a bind and then the guy on me gets in a bind and then it just disrupts a lot of the thinking, a lot of the defensive plan."

Barkley has been making plays against his teammates in practice, usually linebackers and safeties. Yesterday he showed some flash against star cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

"That's just really impressive and, like I said, you have to account for all of us out there when we're able to put him out there," added Engram. "Last couple of days, definitely kind of put more on his plate, especially with that, and we've all been noticing and it's really good for us as an offense."

2. William Gay versatile on defense. William Gay has brought a veteran presence at cornerback and has displayed some versatility by lining up at safety the past couple of days.

"I think we're trying to make sure we do what's best in the secondary," Shurmur said. "We really still feel like he could play corner, but we also feel like we want to take a look at him at safety and see if he can give us something there.

"I think he's very instinctive, he's a good player, very veteran player, and we're trying to take

advantage of the fact that he's played a lot of football and outstaying the play."

3. The team is looking good this year. Last season was a disaster for the Giants. A fresh start under fresh leadership has this year's team looking forward. Beckham can feel the difference and believes this team can be special.

"I think it's everything, starting from Coach [Shurmur], starting with what he's done since we've been here," said Beckham. "Bringing all these guys together, now I'm looking at the defense and they're moving around and they're causing problems for us, and I watch the O-line hang out with each other all day, every day. None of them go out to practice without each other. It's truly incredible what they have been doing and the improvements and everything, the comradery that they have. I just think we have a special group.

"We got a nice little running back – he's alright, Saquon [Barkley]. But just looking to have fun this year and Coach has made it to where you can move around a lot and you can get in the slot, you can get outside, everybody has to know every position. It's just been a lot of fun."

4. The defense has been loud throughout camp. The defense has been the loudest group throughout training camp. Not to say the offense isn't excited and being loud, but the defense has gone crazy every time it makes a play.

"Whenever you can get your hands on balls on defense, it just energizes everybody, a

takeaway changes a game," said linebacker Kareem Martin said. "We get excited when we take the ball away, no matter ones, twos or threes. You just know that guys are working their tails off and learning from their mistakes the day before and to see them make good on the mistake they made before and be able to turn the ball over, it's just energizing knowing that guys are paying attention to the film and getting better every day."

5. Michael Thomas becoming a leader. When you think of leaders, you think about guys that have been around the team and organization for quite some time. Michael Thomas is starting to show that doesn't always have to be the case.

"He's just a happy guy, he's always smiling, I don't think I've ever seen him be upset," Martin said. "Even when he gets upset, he laughs it off and he's just like, alright, I'll get better the next time. He's the ultimate vet and you have to have fun in this game or it will eat you up, especially in camp. It's a grind, so you have to keep yourself happy."

As a result, Thomas' teammates gravitate to him.

"When it's hot and humid, it's easy to be down on yourself," said Martin, "but when you see a guy like him just always up and energetic, it builds other guys up and that's what you want in a leader, the guys who can bring other guys up when they feel like they can't do much. He elevates a lot of other guys' games."