Successful practice for Darian Thompson at Training Camp Monday.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– When Darian Thompson started at safety for the Giants in their preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it had been 327 days since he had last played in a game.
"I was a little rusty mentally and physically," Thompson said today. "Things I did once I got injured last year did benefit me. So, mentally was not as much as physically getting my body back. I am going to continue to work, continue to grind and see what happens."
Asked how the rust manifested itself during the game, Thompson said, "Just technique-wise. Being in certain positions in the game that you don't get to rep a lot in practice, tackling, a lot of block shedding, things of that sort. When I say knock rust off, as well as getting my legs back underneath myself and getting them ready to play a long season."
Thompson was credited with one solo tackle.
"It felt good," he said. "The hits felt fine. It's fun. It's all fun in a game. That is something that I like. I try to be a physical player, so the hits were no problem."
Thompson, a 2016 third-round draft choice from Boise State, was placed in the starting lineup next to Landon Collins in the back of the defense soon after joining the team. But he hurt his foot against New Orleans on Sept. 18, ending his rookie season after two games. He underwent surgery, and during his recovery spent as much time with his fellow safeties and attended as many meetings as he could. That enabled him to step back in to the first-team secondary as soon as he was fully healed.
"Working with those guys on that defense is huge," he said. "We have a lot of playmakers, a lot of guys that contribute in their own way. I am just excited to be a part of it, a part of this team, a part of this defense, and I am going to continue to work just like the other guys."
Collins was an All-Pro last season when he spent a lot of sharing meals, studying with, and encouraging Thompson. He was thrilled to have his partner back with him in the Steelers game.
"It was great," Collins said. "I was definitely happy to be out there with D.T. and get our chemistry right. We were just making sure we got the right calls, lining up right and just feeling each other out. Making plays together."
The Giants expect them to do that a lot this season.
*Linebacker Keenan Robinson practiced on a limited basis for a second straight day after missing more than a week while in the NFL concussion protocol. Robinson wore yellow "no contact" mesh shirt over his jersey, and did not participate in team drills.
More linebacker news: Mark Herzlich is also a "non-contact practice player," according to Ben McAdoo, and Devon Kennard was limited. *McAdoo was generally pleased with the offensive line's performance in practice.
"Today was a good day for them," McAdoo said. "They were low; they fired off the ball. The offensive and defensive line got after each other. We didn't have anything post-snap, which was nice to see. They can learn how to play physical football while being committed to discipline and poise. We worked well together and they got better out there today."
McAdoo did allow that, "In the second half of practice, our focus went down. It was a long and heated practice. Our focus has to go up; it wasn't good enough there in the second half."
Guard Justin Pugh agreed with that assessment of the decline in focus.
"Obviously, it can't be," he said. "We got to make sure we are locked in. There was a lot of hitting today, a lot of short yardage coming out stuff, so it was definitely a grind of a practice, but we've got to stay locked in. We can't be jumping offside."
*Defensive tackle Corbin Bryant left practice with an elbow injury…Another defensive tackle, Robert Thomas, returned to full duty.
*Rookie tight end Evan Engram leaped over Collins to make a terrific catch of an Eli Manning pass in the back corner of the end zone.
*McAdoo, who named Paul Perkins the starting running back in May, was asked if he is considering Orleans Darkwa for that role.
"I'm considering them all for the job," McAdoo said. "Whoever plays the best is going to get the ball.
"By no means have I lost confidence in Paul Perkins. I have a lot of trust and confidence in him. He's a young player who is working hard to get better and has a lot of value for us."
View the best photos from Giants Training Camp practice