Giants.com highlights five takeaways from Monday's press conferences:
1. IT'S GAME WEEK
Brace yourselves, preseason football is coming. This Friday, the Giants will suit up to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 7:00 p.m. ET matchup at MetLife Stadium. It's the first of four preseason games for Big Blue this summer, and the first opportunity for head coach Ben McAdoo to see what type of team he has.
"It's tough at this point with so many guys on the squad." McAdoo said when asked about assessing the team's chemistry at this point. "There's a lot of guys fighting for jobs, a lot of guys on the bubble. The competition is making us better. So, there's some nerves out there but I think that when they get in the locker room and get around each other, they seem to enjoy each other."
2. PLAYING TIME VS. PITT STILL UP IN THE AIR
McAdoo made clear on Monday that he and his staff have not spent much time discussing who will play on Friday and how long they might be on the field. He also reiterated that practice this week won't change to accommodate for the upcoming game. Quarterback Eli Manning says whatever works for coach works for him.
"Whatever Coach wants to do, what he thinks is best for me, the team, I'm going to do," Manning said. "So, again, for the first preseason game, you might take six or seven snaps. So, it's not like it's going to make a difference for that upcoming season. I think you've got enough reps in practice, enough reps in the second and third [preseason games] and obviously 13 other years of preseason and regular season games should get me in good rhythm."
3. SHEPARD IMPROVING, POWE IMPRESSING
Sterling Shepard hasn't seen the field since leaving last Wednesday's practice with a rolled ankle. An MRI later confirmed the injury is a sprain. The second-year wide receiver from Oklahoma felt good enough to return Monday for some on-field action. Shepard warmed up with his teammates and participated in the early individual drills.
"He was running around, I didn't see any noticeable limp or anything like that," McAdoo said. "He was moving around good, some change in direction, looked fine."
In Shepard's absence, another second-year wide receiver, Darius Powe, has been getting more reps. Powe spent all of last season on the practice squad after signing with the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of California. He had another impressive practice on Monday, including a long touchdown grab from Geno Smith with Janoris Jenkins defending.
"I'm definitely more confident," Powe said after last Wednesday's practice. "I feel like I play a lot better knowing that I'm better and the practice squad reps last year definitely helped me with the confidence to perform this year."
"You just coach him on the details now, he knows what he has to do and how to do it," McAdoo added. "But the fine details of the game, that's what you spend your time when you're talking to him about the game. When you're coaching him on specific plays or concepts, it's about the details."
4. HEALTHY VEREEN ADJUSTING TO BEING THE VET
Shane Vereen is the Giants' most versatile running back and most experienced. Entering his seventh NFL season, the 28-year-old is adjusting to being the elder statesman in a running back room filled with younger players such as Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman.
"For the longest time, I looked at myself as being the young guy looking up," Vereen said. "Now, I know I have to speak up a little more and help them in the ways that I was helped when I was a young guy entering the league."
After missing most of last season with a triceps injury, a healthy Vereen is looking forward to working his way back, starting this Friday against the Steelers.
"I definitely want to get back in the rhythm of things, the speed of the game, kind of just getting my feet wet with that," Vereen said. "I've been doing this for a while, and the start of preseason is just about getting ready to go."
5. KENNARD: LINEBACKER CORPS CAN BE SPECIAL
Monday was a solid day for the Giants defense. In the two-minute drill portion of practice, the offense failed to find the end zone on all three drives. That had Devon Kennard all smiles after practice. The fourth-year linebacker out of USC sees an opportunity for his group to have a special season in 2017.
"That's my mindset every year, especially when you have such good defensive linemen and DB's behind you," Kennard said. "I think we have a special group coming up on the defensive side of the ball and I am excited. I think it starts with us. We are the ones that are calling the calls, we are the ones that are getting everyone lined up and I think if we play at a high level, then everyone else is going to follow suit."