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2023 Training Camp

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Notebook: Giants take 'next step' in training camp


ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Brian Daboll generally avoids detailed or effusive evaluations of his players, but he was much less reticent today when the subject was the Giants' two joint practices with the Detroit Lions.

"I love practicing against another team during training camp," Daboll said before the first of the two workouts. The teams will practice again tomorrow and meet in their preseason opener Friday night in Ford Field. "I think it's kind of the next step for training camp when you practice against another team. 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.

"It's different looks, it's different matchups. It's a very competitive two days of practice that I am looking forward to. … I think it's just the next step of our process of this, is why we planned on doing it, to get good work, to evaluate them against different players. There's a lot of players out here competing for an opportunity and for a job and we'll be evaluating all of them."

The players agreed joint practices are valuable and not just because they get an opportunity to see some different faces on the other side of the line of scrimmage. They derive numerous benefits from the from joint practices.

"It's really competitive," tight end Darren Waller said. "It doesn't get more competitive than this. It'll be competitive on Friday, for sure, but you know this is the first taste each of us has had of a new opponent and you want to put your best out there. You want to have confidence and some swagger when you do it, so you've got to love football."

"I think just seeing different looks," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "Going up against different guys that you don't know as well. I think the competitive nature of these practices speeds up the game a little bit in certain situations. I think just seeing a new look, seeing a new team. You get used to practicing against your guys – your defense and what they do and to see another group is helpful. It's valuable time."

Prior to the practice, Daboll said, "I think there is more competitive juices flowing when you are at another place, against different people, with a different scheme. That's the next step for them and I know they are excited about it."

That was obvious on the field, where every period was competitive.

"It's a lot more physical out here," Waller said. "A lot more things to take into account, 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 seven-on-seven. 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 seven-on-seven and people tagging off on you. It's a good acclimation."

Tackling to the ground is prohibited and quarterbacks on both teams wear bright red do-not-touch jerseys (as they do every day). But skirmishes between linemen are constantly physical, both in position and team drills, linebackers enjoy popping pads with running backs and wide receivers and defensive backs don't waste an opportunity to engage in hand-to-hand and arm-to-arm combat.

Because of that, it's difficult for the teams to get in sync so they each achieve all their practice goals.

"Guys play so physical, it's tough to get that perfect blend," Waller said. "Some guys are going to maybe go over the line a little bit, hit somebody a little too hard or try to get you to stay up off the ground, but guys are trying to make plays so you understand that, but I feel like for the most part guys have a mutual respect and want guys to be able to get to the regular season and be healthy."

One similarity between this and a standard practice is that because nothing is perfect, coaches and players must accept the bad that is inevitably shared with the good. The Giants' offense did connect on numerous passes, but Jones conceded they were not as sharp on long throws as they would have liked.

"I just missed a couple of them that normally I feel pretty good about," Jones said. "Just got to be sharp with those and make sure we're taking advantage of the opportunities that we have.

"Certainly, some things that we can sharpen up and clean up execution-wise but, overall, I thought we made some plays here and there. (We've) just got to be more consistent and take advantage of some of those opportunities we had."

One play that particularly bothered Jones was a throw down the right side to Waller that fell incomplete.

"I think that's definitely one that I'd like to have back," Jones said. "That's a play we've hit several times, had a lot of success with, so I know I can do it. (I've) just got to hit it."

None of that diminished the advantage the Giants receive from seeing different players, plays and schemes on offense and defense.

"Going against another team, the way that they disguise coverages is like a mini way to game plan for a couple days, see how they change coverages, what fronts they are in, adjustments you've have got to make at the line of scrimmage, post-snap," Waller said. "Things like that, just getting those game reps in so when it comes to the season when you have got to adjust on the fly, it doesn't feel new to you. This is something that is one of the most valuable parts of training camp because practice, you can simulate game situations, but this is really like a game-like environment, getting another team out there, new bodies. It's an exciting time and it just challenges everything you have done so far."

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

*Although fights have long been part of joint practices, the only mini-skirmish was between Giants wideout Jaydon Mickens and Detroit safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, but they were separated before it got out of hand.

*Daboll said "absolutely" when asked if a side benefit to this exercise is the opportunity to scout another team's players up close. Last year, the Giants practiced one day with the Jets and later signed safety Jason Pinnock and tight end Lawrence Cager when they were released.

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

*Wide receiver Collin Johnson seems to make one or two highlight catches every day. This morning, he got a step on Lions cornerback Thomas V. Starling and kept his feet inbounds in the back of the end zone while securing a pass from Tyrod Taylor.

*Right tackle Evan Neal (concussion protocol) and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches (groin strain) did not practice.

*Offensive lineman Marcus McKethan and defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson, who were activated yesterday from the physically unable to perform list, are on limited workloads.

*Practice spectators included Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, who spent his entire career (1989-98) with the Lions (and who spoke afterward with Saquon Barkley); tackle Lomas Brown, who spent the first 11 seasons of his 18-year career in Detroit and played for the Giants in 2000-01; and former running back Marshawn Lynch.

*The Giants Foundation will host a 5K race and kids run, presented by Quest, on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 9:00 a.m. at MetLife Stadium. Net proceeds from the event will benefit The Giants Foundation. After the race, runners will enjoy a post-race festival with appearances by Giants Legends and a live DJ. Registration is now open at

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