Giants.com's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from Saturday's press conferences:
1. ENGRAM TORE IT UP
When you're as versatile as Evan Engram, you get moved around a lot. That can be taxing for a rookie, so his head coach had a request before Saturday's heavy practice: "Go out there today and play with speed and we'll detail it as we go and don't look back."
The first-round pick took Ben McAdoo's advice to heart and had his most productive practice yet, particularly in the green zone.
"In this offense, there's a lot to learn. There are a lot of small details that I have to be on my toes for," Engram said. "Sometimes, when I'm thinking too much, I can't get into my game and get to what I do best because I'm pretty much thinking about what happened on a certain play or something. But those things are dying down. Today was a really good day from a mental standpoint for me. Still some things to work on, but definitely getting more comfortable in the offense and knowing more of what I'm doing. That definitely allows me to play faster."
Veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has even taken aback by Engram's play.
"It seems like he's got more power than most DBs expect because he gets his body into you and propels himself off of you and gets open, or he can just beat you with speed," he said. "So, he's definitely a threat. He's definitely shown that, especially in one-on-one's, it seems like he's always getting open and catching the ball."
2. MAJOR MILESTONE IN CAMP
Heading into the players' first day off since Monday, McAdoo planned to crank up the intensity in practice No. 8 and install some of the situational elements of the playbook. The Giants went heavy in the red/green zone, and they even finished seven minutes ahead of schedule, much to the head coach's delight.
"The tempo was outstanding, we had good physicality in there, good intensity," he said. "A lot of tight work down there and when you're playing down there tight – it's a game of anticipation, can't have any hesitation and we played with good speed on both sides of the ball. I thought it was a great day for special teams for us. We took a step in special teams. We had a competition – we split up some veteran guys, we split up the young guys. We kept score and they really competed their tail off today."
3. FLOWERS & HART MAKING PROGRESS
Ereck Flowers. Bobby Hart. You can't have one without the other. Or, at least, McAdoo can't be asked about one without the other. Today was no different when the topic of his offensive tackles came up.
"Bobby and Ereck, they're not twins, are they? Every time we talk about one, it seems we talk about the other," he said. "They're two different people. Bobby had a nice day today, he's bending well. He's making progress in his technique and he had a couple runs today where he stretched the front side well, which was good to see. Ereck's getting better with his punch in pass protection. He's working on keeping his hips down and he's making progress."
4. APPLE HAS 'A WHOLE LOT OF SWAG'
Cornerback Eli Apple, the Giants' first-round pick last year, has stepped up his game entering Year 2. He's going against the team's top receivers, who are also some of the top receivers in the league, and has held his own.
"Definitely, big strides," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I call it swag; he plays with a whole lot of swag and it's definitely showing. You can see he's out there competing with everybody. He steps up with Odell, [Sterling Shepard], [Brandon] Marshall, whoever you put out there, he's on them."
Rodgers-Cromartie added: "I think your first year you get in, get your feet wet, kind of understand the game a little bit and do what it takes. But when you make some plays like he did last year, it gives you that confidence. Once you get that confidence in knowing you belong, your next year is just going to keep going."
5. STRAHAN SPOKE TO TEAM
Michael Strahan, the man who needs no introduction, took in today's practice from the sideline along with fellow Super Bowl XLII champion Shaun O'Hara. Strahan spoke in the team huddle before players left to enjoy their day off tomorrow.
"He talked about the love of the game," McAdoo said. "He talked about the pride in the Giants organization, about how his team, the team that he was on, is connected to the team that we have here today, what a special place this is, and don't have any regrets and make sure you get everything you can out of camp and have no regrets moving forward."
"Expecting to win," Engram said of Strahan's message. "That message was for us, but he just gave us a really good message about being a Giant and what it means to go to work every day."