EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Any practice or scrimmage has the potential to be a good news/bad news scenario for a football coach. A long touchdown pass by the offense often results from a defensive breakdown. If the defense is dominant, questions are raised about the effectiveness of the offense.
Brian Daboll tonight saw both sides make big plays in the Giants' Fan Fest scrimmage before a crowd of just over 26,000 in MetLife Stadium, which led to a mixture of conclusions, most of them positive. Officially, the blue (offense) defeated the white (defense), 15-3, though the scoring system was a bit difficult to discern.
"I thought it was a competitive practice," Daboll said. "I think the guys were a little bit more upbeat. It's natural with the fans out here and the music going. But certainly, there's a lot to improve on, I think. I think we're moving in the right direction, but we're a ways away. And I think we have to improve our conditioning level. That's why we did those two long drives. And I think everyone can get a feel for where they're at individually. But collectively, that'll be a point of emphasis this week."
Daniel Jones threw several pinpoint passes, particularly on the second offensive possession.
"I thought he operated well," Daboll said. "Again, I'm sure there are plays he would've wanted back, but I thought he did a good job with his decision-making process. Made some good throws. But there's certainly a lot to work on."
Saquon Barkley demonstrated an impressive burst, and wide receiver Collin Johnson continued his fine camp with several catches. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Richie James, a newcomer who has also impressed.
Daboll was asked his opinion of the quarterbacks' decision-making.
"It was pretty good," he said. "I'm sure there are a few plays that they'd like to have back, but overall they did a good job with what we were calling and trying to execute."
Late in the practice, Taylor connected with wideout Austin Proehl on what should have been another score, but cornerback Michael Jacquet punched the ball from the receiver's arm at the one. Safety Jarrod Wilson, who was signed this week, picked the fumble up and ran a long distance the other way.
Cornerback Darren Evans tipped a pass that was intercepted by safety Yusuf Corker. First-round draft choice Kayvon Thibodeaux put consistent pressure on the quarterbacks.
"A lot of good situational work," Daboll said. "A lot of things to clean up on but for the first scrimmage tried to make it as game-like as we could. We only did one live period. But got a lot of reps with a lot of guys and will go back, look at the tape and fix what we've got to fix.
"I thought both sides competed well. It's good to get a lot of work against pressure as an offensive unit. It tests your rules to make sure everybody is doing the right stuff. So, it was good. There was some good on offense, there was some good on defense. They had really around two drives, around 34 plays total. I wanted to try to stress those guys. I think one (drive) was 15 and the other (drive) was 19 or something like that for the first unit. Which was the plan going in. A little bit hot, a little bit humid. It's what we needed, we need more of it."
The only tackling to the ground in the practice was done by the third team. Running back Jashaun Corbin absorbed a particularly physical hit.
"It was really with some of the younger players," Daboll said of the tackling. "They will probably play a lot in the preseason, and I didn't want it to be the first time they see live contact on Thursday night (in the preseason opener in New England). Most of the younger guys that were in there. We did a series with that and everything else was kind of thud tempo."
The players are off Saturday and will return to the practice field Sunday morning.
"I'd say as a team (we have) a long way to go," Daboll said. "That's why you do these things. It was good to get the fans out there. It was a great support. It was a little bit different energy. You get a little bit more tired than you do in practice just because you're a little bit more hyped. I thought it was exactly what we needed in terms of the tempo of practice, the amount of plays that we had. I just think we've got to keep on improving our conditioning."
*Rookie offensive lineman Marcus McKethan, a fifth-round draft choice, was carted off the field with what Daboll called a lower body injury. Daboll did not have an update on McKethan's condition after practice.
*Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones missed his sixth consecutive practice. Also sidelined were wideouts David Sills and Robert Foster, cornerback Rodarius Williams and safeties Dane Belton and Nate Meadors (who was acquired Thursday).
View the top photos from Friday's Fan Fest and Blue-White Scrimmage at MetLife Stadium.