The Giants were back at it Wednesday, putting on the pads for just the second time at practice during training camp.
Head Coach Brian Daboll previewed the day to the media before practice, noting how team drills would focus on first and second down, along with some run drills. Following practice, Tyrod Taylor, Shane Lemieux and Wan'Dale Robinson spoke to reporters.
Another day, another alum. On Wednesday, former Giants fullback Charles Way was present on the sideline, taking in practice and catching up with some Giants personnel.
Here is what we learned today.
1. Jones 'making improvement each day'
It is no coincidence how last year's six-game losing streak to end the season coincided with Daniel Jones' injury. Jones is the leader of the offense and plays the most crucial role in the unit's success. With the arrival of Daboll and a new coaching staff, the fourth-year quarterback had to learn his third new offensive playbook since being drafted by the Giants in 2019. But with over a month to go before the first game of the season, Daboll is happy with what he's seen out of his young quarterback.
"I think he's he's steadily improved since we got here," the head coach said. "He's learning a whole new language. It's not just for Daniel, it's any young quarterback or new quarterback in a new system. There's a lot to learn. There's a lot to handle. So, he's making progress. But we still, we're constantly teaching and we're evolving as to what we do. Still, we're trying to figure out what we do well too. What our pieces are. The routes that are good.
"There might be a certain route concept that we ran yesterday where after we tried it three or four times, I'm telling (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka like, 'Let's just move on from that play.' But we need to practice it to see if that's something we're good at. And I think the quarterback has to have some input on that as well. So, he's making improvement each day.
The Giants improved their backup quarterback spot this offseason with the addition of Tyrod Taylor. The veteran has been in the NFL since 2011, with the Giants representing his sixth team. Taylor has made a Pro Bowl in his career, and was also a part of Baltimore's Super Bowl XLVII winning team in his second season. The veteran has been impressed with the leadership and execution he's seen out of Jones.
"Much respect for Daniel," Taylor stated. "The way he approaches his job each and every day and the way he goes out and leads. I think just the quarterback room as a whole, we all bring out the best in one another. Whether it's in competitions, whether it's in the weight room, whether it's on the field. We tally up who has the best throws for the day. If you see our board of tallies it can get crazy but much respect to Daniel. He's doing a great job throughout camp…
"I think he is going out there and making plays. Guys are helping him around. Guys on the receiving end, tight end, backfield. He is doing a great job of commanding the huddle and going out there and executing."
2. Golladay enjoys strong day
Kenny Golladay was one of the Giants' big free agent acquisitions in 2021. He started 14 games in his first season with the team, catching 37 passes for 521 yards. We're only one week into training camp, but the 6-foot-4 receiver has looked good this summer, and put up an especially strong performance during Wednesday's practice.
During 1-on-1 drills, Golladay made a great contested catch along the sideline, getting both feet down before stepping out of bounds. A few plays later, he caught a deep pass on a beautifully placed ball from Jones near the pylon for a touchdown. During 11-on-11s later in practice, Golladay and Jones connected on a few more passes, including another heavily contested, deep pass near the sideline.
After spending a good portion of the offseason training with Jones, Golladay seems very comfortable in the new offense.
"First off, the offense is totally different," Golladay told the media earlier this week. "A lot of moving parts, as you can see. (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Coach is putting people in different positions at all times, keeping the defense guessing. (It's) very receiver friendly. Now, we are just working on getting on the same page as far as receivers, running backs and then (Quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ. Right now, we are having fun out there."
3. Lemieux healthy, ready for whatever role is necessary
Shane Lemieux entered the 2021 season as the Giants' starting left guard, but a knee injury early in the first game led to the lineman missing the rest of the year. Lemieux is now healthy and fully participating in practice, getting himself prepared for the season.
"It's good. It's just staying on top of my rehab, the stuff I've done in the offseason and kind of make it right," the third-year lineman said. "Sticking to my routine. That was the biggest thing in this offseason was getting into a routine, making sure that my flexibility is all there, my strength is there, getting in the tubs and all of the recovery measures that I take."
With center Jon Feliciano missing the last few practices, Lemieux has seen some snaps at center as Daboll stated he wants his linemen to have some 'position flexibility.' Feliciano returned to practice Wednesday, retaking his spot at center. But Lemieux has enjoyed training at a new position the last few days, telling the media he is ready to help the team any way he can this season.
"It's been fun," Lemieux shared. "It's definitely a challenge. It's something I've never done before. Wherever the coaches want me, I'll go out there and do it – whether its left guard, right guard, center, tackle. Whatever's best for the team."
View the top photos from Wednesday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
4. Wan'Dale excited to line up with Saquon, KT
Wan'Dale Robinson has been a bright spot on offense since his arrival a few months ago. Robinson has displayed strong hands, catching almost every pass thrown in his direction since spring workouts. But the rookie has a more versatile skillset than your traditional receiver. Before transferring to Kentucky in 2021, Robinson spent two seasons at Nebraska where he racked up 134 rush attempts for 580 yards and four touchdowns.
Said Robinson: "Yeah, I figured that would be a little bit a part of the plan but again, wherever Coach Dabs and Coach Kafka want me to line up, I'll be more than happy to line up whether that's running back, inside slot receiver, or outside receiver."
5. Daboll fired up for Fan Fest
The Giants will take the field for an open practice at MetLife Stadium Friday night for Fan Fest. Although fans have been present at practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center at camp, it's not quite the same as hitting the field at MetLife Stadium.
"I think it's awesome," Daboll said about Friday's festivities. "I think it's, you know, again, the more fans you have, the more juice you get as a player and as a coach. And I think it's good. It's the next step. Spring ball is obviously a lot different than training camp. You have the fans out here. There's energy. There's a lot of people watching. You try not to let the outside affect your performance. You try to concentrate on your job. But everybody's human. So, the more people there are, there's added pressure at times for certain players. And other times they can handle it. So, I think it's just another step in getting ready for our preseason game."
As we all know, this training camp is the first of Brian Daboll's head coaching career. But despite being a rookie head coach, Daboll has done a tremendous job of leading this young Giants team since his arrival. In fact, Taylor, a 12-year veteran quarterback, spoke about Daboll's value in the locker room.
"Each day he impresses me," the quarterback said. "The way he commands the locker room, the meeting rooms, and the respect that he has amongst the guys on the team, he does a great job of keeping everyone involved but also not withholding information. He's straightforward with us. One of the things that I like, just in our meetings – like today was a first and second down day, yesterday was third-and-10 – we talked about situations. Sometimes, you don't get to those conversations until the season but it's good to keep everybody abreast and keep everybody on the same page and understand where the focus of the team is for that day rather than just putting it on the table and talking about it later. I think he does a good job of communicating to each position group and to a man, I would say he has all the respect in the world."
Giants Fan Fest returns to Metlife Stadium
Free and open to the public, the Giants Fan Fest will feature a Blue & White intrasquad scrimmage, autographs by Giants Legends, and a fireworks show.