1. Spagnuolo defines the defense.
The Giants have been stressing the franchise's rich history of defense this offseason, and who better to do so than Steve Spagnuolo, who returned as the team's defensive coordinator. The leader of the defense that helped win Super Bowl XLII was asked to define what a New York Giants defense should look like.
"It's relentless," he responded. "It's attacking. Michael Strahan said this in one of the things we were watching. He said when he first got here, they -- meaning all of his defensive players -- they took pride in living up to the New York Giants defensive tradition. I thought that just spoke volumes. That's a lot to live up to. So if we can shoot for that and get close to that, I think we'll be pretty good."
2. The offense chases "execution."
Second-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said it would be a "loser's mentality" if the Giants thought they could pick up right where they left off last season when they averaged nearly 30 points per game in the final six weeks and finished 4-2.
"There isn't a lot that I look back and I am real happy about," McAdoo said. "We didn't win enough ballgames. We don't like to spend a lot of time talking about that. We like to chase execution. I think the last six games we started to play the way that we wanted to play. We started to execute and produce the way we wanted to produce. The way we completed the ball and the number of plays in a game. We just have to continue to chase execution and start where we left off."
3. Pugh is still the starting right tackle.
Echoing what coach Tom Coughlin said after the draft, the Giants are noncommittal on any offensive line changes in regards to Justin Pugh moving inside from right tackle to make room for first-round pick Ereck Flowers.
"That remains to be seen," McAdoo said. "Justin Pugh, right now, is the starting right tackle for the Giants."
4. Where does Flowers fit in?
That remains to be seen as well. "We are going to play our best five," McAdoo said. "And if he is one of them, he will find a spot."
McAdoo added: "We believe that he has a skill set to play left tackle in this league. We are going to give him opportunities to train out there. We will give him opportunities to train at multiple spots. That doesn't mean we are going to pencil him in to one spot right now."
5. The Giants feel out options at nickel.
In addition to having no returning starting safeties, the Giants also parted ways with nickel cornerback Walter Thurmond III in free agency. What's the plan moving forward?
"That's one we're trying to feel through, to be honest with you," Spagnuolo said. "You'll probably see as we go through the OTA's that there'll be a number of guys working in and out of there. In this league nowadays, there are a lot of three wideout sets. That means you've got to match them in a lot of cases and put another DB out there, so I'm not sure I have an answer for that right now. There were some guys that did it a little bit last year and some guys that we added."
6. Nova makes most of camp.
The best photos from day one of Giants Rookie Mini-camp
Gary Nova, who is Rutgers' all-time leader in touchdown passes (and is second in yards and completions), was one of three quarterbacks at rookie mini-camp, joining Taylor Graham (Hawaii) and Pete Thomas (Louisiana-Monroe). Nova made the most of his opportunity after going undrafted last week.
"We threw a lot at them," McAdoo said. "We try not to take it easy on them. We change their fundamentals. We threw a lot at them schematically. They did a nice job bouncing back here the second day and played a little better and a little faster here. They were able to digest the information, take it to the field, adjust their fundamentals and have a chance to execute. That is really what every day boils down to in this league. He did a nice job."
7. Quinn confident Harris can pick up both punt and kickoff returns.
Over the offseason, the Giants signed former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and return specialist Dwayne Harris as a free agent. In 56 career games, Harris averaged 26.5 yards on 77 kickoffs and 11.1 yards on 87 punts, scoring two touchdowns. On Saturday, special teams coordinator Tom Quinn was asked if Harris could do both for the Giants.
"Yeah, he has done it," Quinn said. "It is there on tape. I feel very confident in him picking up those jobs. I think if you look across the league, you need a stable of guys you can rely on."