EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -** The Giants are hopeful Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. will be healthy enough to practice when the players report for the start of training camp on July 30.
Cruz was limited to individual drills this spring as he continued to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired right knee. He tore his patellar tendon in Philadelphia last Oct. 19. Beckham took part in the early organized team activities, but was shut down with a sore left hamstring.
The offseason program ended today, so the next opportunity for Cruz and Beckham to practice will be when training camp opens.
"Yes, that is my expectation," Cruz said. "I think the way I feel right now, that is definitely the goal and that is where I want to be come training camp."
"It is my understanding that he will be ready to participate," coach Tom Coughlin said. "How limited, I can't tell you. We will see. We aren't going to throw him right out there, I can tell you that."
A reporter raised the possibility of Cruz beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list, as some players returning from surgeries have done in the past.
"I'm not going to say," Coughlin said. "That is not the intent."
Asked if Beckham, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, is on track to practice at the start of camp, Coughlin said, "That is the plan."
Coughlin said he does not want Beckham to completely shut down his activity in the coming weeks.
"He just continues to do whatever the plan is for them in the training room," Coughlin said. "He has been running, but most of it has been straight ahead. But he has been doing that. He will maneuver into the cutting and so on and so forth as he goes forward. He feels better, but he needs to feel a whole lot better."
Beckham and the Giants have experienced this uncertainty before. Last year as a rookie, Beckham missed most of training camp, the entire preseason and the first four regular-season games with a right hamstring injury. Beckham played in the final 12 games and had the finest season by a rookie receiver in NFL history, with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"I want him on the field, just like he wants to be on the field," Coughlin said. "That is where the next level that he can attain is going to be accomplished, by practicing. As demonstrated last year, he can learn. He learns a lot about adjustments and what have you even though he is not out there. When he first came back, we didn't hesitate to line him up every place under the sun and motion, but he can handle it. He would see it if he were out here, plus he wants to be out there. He is one of those kids that can…you've seen him throw the ball, you've seen him do all kinds of (things)."
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said the Giants will move forward with or without their star receivers.
"We plan for who is going to be out there," McAdoo said. "Day one right now as we close up shop at this point, if they are there, we will welcome them back with open arms. If not, they need to spend their time in the training room and get healthy. We are going to spend our time focusing on who is out there and who is healthy and we will take it from there."
Cruz and Beckham did some individual drills, worked together on the side and stood with the other receivers during the team segments of practice.
"The meetings are where they have to be great," wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said. "The film study, watching that, catching the coaching points in the meetings and also on the field. It is a challenge for them to stay locked in. Obviously, they are on the field doing a little bit of their own rehab, so they get pulled out of some things. We talk a lot about mental reps. You have to be disciplined to do it, but they have to see what is happening, hear the coaching points. I do think mentally you can get a lot out of it, but you have to be very disciplined to do that. I think they work at it. I think they probably did get quite a bit between the meetings, the mental reps and the field."
Check out the best photos from the Giants final minicamp practice
Eli Manning said this week he was pleased with how he threw the ball this spring, and Rueben Randle said the quarterback's arm seems to be stronger.
"It is lively, very lively," Coughlin said. "He has worked hard on that. … He has worked hard and has a very nice routine going. He is very comfortable and very confident of his routine."
"Eli has put a lot of time and effort into his footwork and his training there and to his upper body and his strengthening and maintenance in those types of things," McAdoo said. "I like the look in his eye right now. His offseason has been encouraging."
- Manning's father, Archie, watched practice today.
- What did Coughlin learn about the Giants this offseason?
"I was impressed by the seriousness this spring," he said. "I thought that they came here with the idea of what they had to work on and how they needed to accomplish it, but we will see, everything has to connect. What I learned about, we don't have any pads on and we are playing against each other, so let's see what we can do when we are playing against somebody else."
- The Giants worked out for about 75 minutes. Coughlin spoke to the team at length after the workout. The players then departed for a six-week break.
"We have kind of set the tone for when we come back and we look forward to these guys having a little time off," Coughlin said. "I did caution them on all the things that are normally talked about, the 'NY' never comes off and so on and so forth and be careful, etc. I think we look forward to getting back here and getting to work on this upcoming season."
- Coughlin was asked about the drone the Giants used to tape a portion of practice for the first time yesterday. The drone hovered approximately 50 feet above the practice field.
"It is another advancement," Coughlin said. "The way it was presented to me is, 'Is this angle worth looking at?' I am not really ready even to say that because I only saw it one day and saw it in a certain drill. Maybe there are drills where it would help, looking right straight down on an inside play, you have a tendency to speed through it and get to the end zone copy. There may be something to it. I'm not ready to say one way or another. I wouldn't want to stand in the way of the advancement of technology."