EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –For three months, Eli Manning was asked what it would be like to have Odell Beckham, Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley on the field at the same time.
The entire group participated in 11-on-11 drills together for the first time in the Giants' opening training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. And – surprise, surprise – Manning enjoyed it.
Today, he was able to provide an answer.
"It's good to have all your guys out there who are going to be there during the season," Manning said after practice. "Like I said, having a confidence with all those guys, with the receivers, throwing a lot of passes to them all. I feel very comfortable with them and throwing Saquon in there, had some nice catches. I think it's good to keep working and getting better every day."
Beckham did not participate in team drills during the spring drills as the Giants proceeded with caution after his 2017 ankle surgery. But today he caught several short Manning passes and sprinted down the field like, well, a healthy Beckham.
"He looks good," Manning said. "He looks like Odell, so that's good to see, and I know that he was excited. He's had a long journey to get back to practicing and do all this. I know it's a relief for him to get back and he's always been a great practice player and loves that aspect of the game. It was good to get him back in here and get some catches and get going."
Engram delivered one of the highlights of practice with a tremendous one-handed catch that elicited a loud roar from the fans.
"He can do those things," Manning said. "That was a big play, good route, and made a great catch."
After an offseason of significant changes on the coaching staff and the roster, Manning was happy to finally take the field for the summer's first practice.
"It's exciting," he said. "Obviously, we have new additions and each day you're learning a new offense, but also I know we have talented guys on the team and excited each day to get better. Find a way to improve and for us to come together as a team and get closer and make something special happen.
"I thought guys were sharp. It's been six weeks since, really, our last practice, but I thought guys were doing the right things, on the same page, doing the right assignments, and playing fast. Made some good plays and there's always some things to correct, but that's the great thing about training camp, it's what it's for, for you to go out there and try to make some plays and then correct the things that need to be done better."
Manning and his mates will be back at it tomorrow.
*Pat Shurmur is not normally effusive, but he was also eager to be on the field for his first Giants training camp practice.
"This is terrific," he said. "I really enjoyed working with our team in the spring. They came back in good shape – refreshed. As players and coaches, this is what we do. This is our livelihood, this is our passion, and it's our hobby. Playing football is what we do, and training camp is a part of getting ready for the upcoming season. There's a lot of excitement in the building; very competitive guys that understand it's very important to train as a team and get ready to play."
*In their opening camp meeting yesterday afternoon, the players heard from general manager Dave Gettleman, who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
"I had Dave speak to the players," Shurmur said. "The players sort of left knowing that Dave was going through treatment. Dave's treatment is going terrific – how he's coming back. I thought it was important that he had a chance to visit with the team.
"I think they were glad to see him – excited to see that he's working through the treatment. Things look good."
*Defensive tackle Damon Harrison did not practice. Shurmur said Harrison is being eased into training camp and should be on the field this weekend.
*Shurmur addressed the status of rookie cornerback Sam Beal, who aggravated a shoulder injury on Monday.
"We're evaluating what's happening with him," Shurmur said. "He was out here – and you saw him the last day of the rookie camp. He's got a little thing going on with his shoulder that might need to get fixed."
*Also not working is rookie defensive tackle RJ McIntosh, the team's fifth-round draft choice.
"He was going through a medical issue coming out," Shurmur said. "We're trying to get that rectified. We'll just try to get him out there as quickly as possible."
*Among the moves made in the player personnel area this spring, Nick La Testa has been promoted to pro scout. In 2017, La Testa was a pro personnel assistant. The team had an opening in its pro personnel department when Patrick Hanscomb became a college area scout in the Mid-Atlantic region.
*The Giants have six coaching interns working with the staff in training camp through the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship:
Rashad Johnson (defensive backs) played safety for the Arizona Cardinals from 2009-15 (including three seasons with Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher) and in 2016 for the Tennessee Titans. He played in 114 career games, starting 58 of them. Johnson intercepted 15 passes, returning three for touchdowns. He was a third-round draft choice of the Cardinals from Alabama, where he was a two-time All-SEC selection. Johnson will remain with the Giants through the end of training camp.
Darin Edwards (defensive line) is a 15-year college coach who has been the D-line coach at Columbia University since 2015. His previous stops include Fordham, Sacred Heart and Iona. Edwards was with the Giants for two weeks in June and will be with the team until the end of training camp.
Robin Ross (linebackers) was most recently the defensive line coach of the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. He was on the Oakland Raiders' staff in 1999-2000, and has previously worked at Fresno State, Oregon, Wyoming, Long Beach State, Cincinnati, Washington State and Oregon State. Ross was the head coach at Western Washington University before the school disbanded its football program. He will be with the Giants until they break camp.
Joe Dailey (quarterbacks) is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Liberty University, where he joined the staff in 2012. He has also coached at Bethune-Cookman, Kansasand Buffalo. He played quarterback at Nebraska and North Carolina. Dailey will be with the Giants until Sunday.
Albert Reid (running backs) is the running backs coach at Virginia Military Academy. He was previously a graduate assistant at Virginia. Reid finished his college career with 1,287 combined rushing yards logged between Maryland (2012-14) and Virginia (2015-16). He spent two weeks with the Giants in June, and his final day with the team is tomorrow.
Cedric Williams (offensive line) became the O-line coach at Georgia State in 2017. Prior to that, he spent one season as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at South Carolina following five seasons as the offensive line coach at Newberry (S.C.) College, which he helped lead to NCAA Division II playoff berths in 2013 and 2015. He has previously participated in the the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship program with the Panthers (2012), Steelers (2013) and Vikings (2015). Williams will be with the Giants through Sunday.