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5 things we learned at Giants Minicamp

DANIEL-JONES-KENNY-GOLLADAY

The Giants concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday as they near the end of the offseason workout program. The team still has two more organized team activities (OTAs) this week, after which they will break until training camp at the end of July.

"There are going to be a lot of things we talk about today logistically, getting ready for camp," coach Joe Judge said about the plan for the summer. "Generally speaking, we are going to talk to the team about training, being in shape, making the right decisions off the field. There are a lot of resources for us in this building, and it is important for us to stay connected throughout the summer. When they need something, we are always available."

Catch up on all the action with must-see photos from minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Here is everything you need to know from minicamp:

Judge is pleased with Kadarius Toney's progress; Giants are working on his position flexibility.

Judge stressed the goal for rookies this time of year is "just give them an opportunity when they get to training camp to be able to compete with the vets in front of them." That includes first-round pick Kadarius Toney. The electric wide receiver got his legs under him during minicamp.

"He's getting better every day," Judge said. "One thing we are trying to build is position flexibility with him, and he's handling that well right now from a mental standpoint. Like all of our players, the more we get them on the field, football movements and the conditioning improves, the better he will play. He did enough stuff that we can build on. There's things we had to correct and make sure that we can help him do it more efficiently going forward, but I'm pleased with the progress he made.

Nate Solder is "thankful" to be back with Giants but not concerned with who starts.

As a cancer survivor and father of a young son who first underwent cancer treatment as an infant, veteran offensive tackle Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. After a year away, he has returned fresh and feels in the best shape of his career.

"I'm just thankful they gave me the opportunity to come back," Solder said. "There's no guarantees with that. And the other thing was just excitement. I was excited to come back, I was ready to come back and those were the determining factors. Sitting down with my wife (Lexi) and making the decision and all that stuff was a group decision between me and her. My mindset was if I can be somewhere where I'm fulfilling my purpose, where I can be around guys that have the same set of values and goals and myself, it's a real honor and it's a privilege to be part of the NFL. I would say I missed the excitement and fun of being a part of it, so I'm fortunate to be in this position."

In his place, Andrew Thomas, last year's first-round choice, started at left tackle. The Giants have also voiced their confidence in starting other young players like Matt Peart, another offensive tackle. So what does that mean for Solder?

"One of the great things about coming back is just the opportunity to work with a group of guys," Solder said. "Who cares who starts? I just want to be a part of an excellent group that's getting better every day, that plays at a really high level. I've been fortunate enough to play with some great O-lines, and nobody cares who is starting and who is not starting, because we're all part of the team and we're all necessary and we're all needed. So, if I can encourage, protect, guide, lead and compete, whatever it takes, I'm here to do it."

Saquon Barkley is "doing well" and focused on coming back the right way.

The Pro Bowl running back addressed the media at minicamp, where he typically did his rehab in the morning before the rest of the team practiced. Barkley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2, said he was doing well but avoided specifics when asked if he is cutting and jumping yet.

"When you have a sport that you love that's taken away from you, you want to get back there as fast as you can obviously, but you have to be smart," he said. "At the end of the day I want to do the best for my team, not just for a short span but for a long time."

"We are going to make sure that we take Saquon's rehab at the correct rate for his individual body and injury," Judge said. "It's not any mirror of anybody else's injury out there. We have to make sure that we let him get it at his pace and put him on the field, can play 100 percent aggressive and confident and he's going to play safe and he can play effective. … Couldn't be happier with how he is working, showing tremendous leadership this offseason. He's champing at the bit to get back on the field. We are taking it day by day and he's getting better every day."

Offense addressed 2020 deficiencies; Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay started to form strong bond.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said turnovers were the biggest issue for the Giants last season, which comes as no surprise to anyone inside or outside the building. It is safe to say that will be a major emphasis heading into 2021.

"If you look at us in the latter part of the year, we did a better job taking care of football and winning the turnover ratio, and that gave us a chance to win games down the stretch," Garrett said. "That was a positive thing for our team. We certainly have to build on that and we have to become more explosive on offense, make big plays and score more points and that's a process we are going through. I do think young guys playing, give them a chance to get some experience, they grow as a result of that. We had a lot of young guys playing last year. I thought they got better as they went on. They will learn from that experience and continue to grow. We also have a couple new guys that we're adding to the mix to try to get them acclimated as quickly as we can and continue to grow day by day."

One of those new guys Garrett referenced is Kenny Golladay, regarded as one of the top targets in the 2021 free agency cycle.

"It's been great working with Kenny so far," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "You can tell he's a true pro. He understands offensive football. He's still obviously learning our system, but you can tell he's got a good understanding of football and where to be, kind of timing and understanding concepts. He's been fun to work with. Obviously, his talent and skill level, you can tell as soon as you can get on the field with him he's a good player, smart player and I'm excited to keep working with him."

Giants in talks to hold joint practices with Browns, Patriots

The Giants announced the dates and times for their three 2021 preseason games. The NFL this year increased each team's regular-season schedule to 17 games and reduced the traditional four-game preseason to three.

The Giants will play their first game on Saturday, Aug. 14, when they host the Jets at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 22, the Giants will visit the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. Judge will then face his former team for the first time when the Giants and New England Patriots meet in MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. Judge also confirmed the Giants are in talks to hold joint practices with both the Browns and Patriots.

"I am a big fan of them," Judge said. "I think it's a great time in training camp to break the monotony, to get some competition against a friendly opponent. With both programs, the Browns and the Patriots, I've got great relationships with both coaches, known them both for a sustained period of time. In all of our conversations, I think one of the things you try to find in this are not only teams that are going to schematically help you with some of the things you are going to see throughout the season, but most importantly, you want to make sure you go out there and have a good, quality practice.

"The guys are going to compete. You want to make sure you keep it between the lines, that guys are not playing dirty or doing anything outside the whistle. So it's important you know the coaches and what kind of program you are going against. I think it's great for the team."

View the best photos from Tuesday's minicamp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.