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What We Heard: 'You get a look at a whole other roster'


Once upon a time in 2011, Brian Daboll, then serving as the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, interviewed Dan Campbell for a job. Suffice it to say, he left an impression.

Campbell was huffing and puffing and slamming chairs and hitting walls while going through mock drills. The scene was unsurprising for anyone who knew the tough-as-nails ex-Giants tight end.

Hot got the gig … and was in the facility the next day at 5:30 a.m. power cleaning and squatting.

Fast-forward to 2023, the two young head coaches have their respective teams on the rise and got their programs together in Detroit for two days of joint practices leading up to their preseason opener.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dan as a coach and as a person, him, and his family," Daboll said Tuesday morning before the first session. "He is an outstanding, outstanding guy. He's got high energy. When we worked together back in 2011, I think it's well-documented his interview, the players I think have a lot of respect for him. He's high energy, just a really good coach, a good guy that I have a lot of respect for."

View photos from Detroit, where the Giants and Lions held joint practices ahead of their preseason opener.

Here's what else we heard throughout the day in Detroit:

Joint practice is 'a good acclimation'

Daboll called practicing against a different team the "next step" for training camp. "I think there is competitive juices, the coaches have it, the players have it, but we are going to try to practice the right way against a really good team," Daboll said. "I think the program that the Lions have and what Dan and [Lions executive vice president and general manager] Brad [Holmes] have been able to do has really been outstanding, so it will be a good test for us."

"It's a lot more physical out here," tight end Darren Waller said after practice. "A lot more things to take into count, somebody is going to come and put a forearm in your ribs when you run over the middle of the field even though it's just a 7-on-7. Just getting more acclimated to game-like situations and knowing that it's a physical game at the end of the day. It's not always going to be 7-on-7 and people tagging off on you. It's a good acclimation."

Injury notes

Defensive tackle Rakeem Nuñez-Roches and right tackle Evan Neal, who remains in the concussion protocol, did not practice. On Monday, Daboll said the former was dealing with a groin issue.

Meanwhile, the team will continue to "ramp up" defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson and offensive lineman Marcus McKethan, who were activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list before the flight to Detroit. They will acclimate to individual drills before getting into team periods.

First unofficial depth chart released

The Giants released their first unofficial depth chart ahead of Friday's preseason opener. As always, it is subject to change. It simply serves as a guide, more so for the media than the coaches.

With that said, the Giants have their first two draft picks in starting spots: cornerback Deonte Banks and center John Michael Schmitz. The latter has been competing with Ben Bredeson, who is slated at first-team left guard. Jalin Hyatt, the third-round pick and defending Biletnikoff Award winner who has been making some big plays at camp, is in the second-team column. Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, and Darius Slayton are listed as the top three receivers.

Cornerback Tre Hawkins III, a sixth-round pick, has been a pleasant surprise, earning some reps with he first team. The Old Dominion product is listed on the second team.

Rookie Eric Gray is listed as the fourth running back and first punt returner.

"I think he's got good short-space quickness, good balance, good vision," Daboll said Monday. "He's got some good moves in the open field. He's a one-cut guy, a young guy I think has some talent to work with and now we've got to try to develop it. We'll give him ample opportunity in the preseason to return these balls."

Waller letting his play make the 'noise'

Waller hasn't missed a beat since the Giants acquired the dynamic tight end in an offseason trade. The chemistry has been notably strong with quarterback Daniel Jones, who has a similar outlook on his game.

"I just try to come in and not really make a lot of noise, but just try to be excellent at my craft," Waller said. "Some days, it looks like you're taking steps forward, some days look like a step back, but really, it's something that you can learn the most valuable lessons on those days. Really, I just try to come in and do my job as well as possible, be an example for younger guys because I am one of the older guys on the team now, and just keep that into account. Just the little details of my day, no matter what it may be, just do it with intentionality."

Giants keeping an eye on Lions' roster

Prior to 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 29, clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 53 players. As last season proved once again, the rosters are by no means final on that day. Front offices will have an eye on the wave of players released at that time. And because of the week in Detroit, they will have an even closer eye on the Lions. It's a bonus for holding the joint practices.

"You get a look at a whole other roster," Daboll said. "So, I know our scouting department will be here and be evaluating the players, not just our players how they do, but also Detroit's players. I think it works well for us."

View photos of the New York Giants' 2023 roster as it currently stands.