The New York Giants hit the field for practice No. 8 of training camp. They have one more tomorrow before a day off for the players on Sunday, and then it's game week. The team kicks off its preseason schedule Thursday against the Jets.
Here are the standouts from today:
QB Eli Manning: If you've been following along, you already heard about Manning mixing up his offseason workout routine and that he's throwing the ball with more zip. But he's also more accurate. Speaking before practice, offensive coordinator Mike Shula said, "The results of his offseason, in my opinion, for what it's worth, are different. … I think he's in even better shape. I think his arm looks even stronger than he did last year. He's more accurate. As we move the pocket a little bit, he's throwing really well on the run. He did that last year, I think it looks even better than it did last year."
Manning followed up with another efficient practice, particularly when throwing to tight ends today. He hit Evan Engram a few times and found Rhett Ellison for a red zone touchdown.
TE Evan Engram: Even before the injuries to the wide receiver corps, Engram was going to take on a larger role in the offense in his third season. A hamstring injury in the spring slowed the momentum he had built at the end of last season, when he averaged 80 yards per game in the final four weeks, but he has made up for lost time this week. He again racked up the catches today and looked like his fast and fluid self.
"We're pleased with where he's at," coach Pat Shurmur said yesterday. "He's working himself, getting himself ready for Week 1. I think he'll be able to build on what he did a year ago. Most of what held Evan back was those little injuries he dealt with last year. When he was in there, he actually was pretty productive. I think back to the Houston game, when he got hurt. He got kind of hit on the leg. He was catching the ball and running, doing good things. That sort of set him back. Then he had the hamstring thing. Had he stayed out there for all 16 games, I think he would have had big numbers."
CB DeAndre Baker: Like all the rookies, Shurmur said he has seen "steady improvement" from Baker, the third of the team's three first-round draft choices. The physical Jim Thorpe Award winner (given to the nation's top collegiate defensive back) was held back by the non-contact rules of the spring, but since the pads came on at camp, he is showing what he can do. The Georgia product got his hands on a few passes today and nearly had an interception.
"He's done well so far during camp, and hopefully he continues to improve," defensive backs coach Everett Withers said. "As he improves, his confidence level will continue to get stronger. Hopefully by the time we get to preseason game one, he feels really comfortable in what he's doing – and we will, too. We do now, because we've got him out there right now."