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5 unanswered questions as Giants OTAs continue

The New York Giants begin the second half of organized team activities on Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

There has been a lot of action in the first five of the allotted 10 OTAs, but there is still plenty to be seen as the Giants set the stage for mandatory minicamp and then training camp later this summer. 

There are five OTA practices remaining:

  • June 4
  • June 8
  • June 9
  • June 11
  • June 12 looks at five questions surrounding the team:

1. When will injured players return?

Before OTAs began, the Giants were thrown a curveball when starting left tackle Will Beatty suffered a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery and will cause him to miss five to six months. And then once they began, tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis) and safety Nat Berhe (calf) were held out of team drills, and wide receiver and reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham was also limited as a precaution with a "sore" hamstring.

Defensive end Robert Ayers suffered a lateral ankle sprain during the first practice and was still swollen to start the week. Meanwhile, wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee) continued his rehab process and has been running routes off to the side.

2. Will the offensive line remain the same?

To start OTAs, the Giants rolled out a new-look offensive line that had rookie first-round pick Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, Geoff Schwartz at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. And that's the way it has remained for the most part throughout the first half of OTAs.

"Progress is being made and this is what [OTAs] are all about," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Throwing them in there and letting them go. See how they do."

Check out photos of the Giants' offensive line

3. How will Nat Berhe affect the safety tandem?

With no returning starters at the position, the Giants will have to rely on their young players at safety this year, beginning with second-round draft choice Landon Collins. The All-American out of Alabama initially lined up with Berhe as the top tandem in rookie minicamp earlier this month.

But Cooper Taylor took over for the injured Berhe to begin OTAs. Coughlin was asked if Taylor is getting an extensive look at safety because Berhe isn't available.

"Those that are here are going to get a good look," Coughlin responded. "There are not that many guys working right now and they all are getting a lot of reps. We are looking for Nat to get back in there and help balance it out."

About Taylor, Coughlin added: "He flashed a few times [in practice] and I was glad to see that. Big, strong man. If we can keep him healthy and he can stay out there."

4. What is the pecking order among wide receivers?

One of the Giants' deepest positions to start the offseason has been the wide receivers. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and wide receivers coach Sean Ryan have 12 of them on the current roster and will use the rest of OTAs and camps to determine the depth chart. From Beckham to Cruz, Rueben Randle, Corey Washington and Preston Parker, the Giants have plenty of receivers that can be used in a variety of ways. 

5. What is the defense's identity?

With the departure of defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle in free agency and the release of longtime Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, much of the core that made up the 2011 Super Bowl run is no longer on the roster. But that just means opportunity for players like middle linebacker Jon Beason and Prince Amukamara, who is becoming a vocal leader in his own right. Meanwhile, the return of Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator will obviously go a long way in building the defense.

"At the top of the list is the bottom of the foundation," Spagnuolo said when asked about his priority this offseason. "That's probably the best way I can say it. We've got to build this thing gradually, and the coaches all believe you can't do anything until you get all of the basics right. Some of the basics go all the way back to things that have nothing to do with talent, have nothing to do with being out here on the field, but believing in what we're doing, the character of the guys in unity, integrity and then we go from there. So we started from ground one and began to build it up. We get to a certain point here and we just keep on going, but it's going to take a little while."

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