The first thing that stood out to Joe Judge during his team's first practice of training camp was the conditioning of his players. The second-year head coach said they "moved around well" Wednesday and responded positively to their off-season training regimens. He added that they were ahead of last year's team at this point in the year.
"For a lot of guys, it's being in the system for a year and understanding what you have to do day in, day out in terms of practice and how we want to train to play in the game," Judge said Thursday. "I think for the new guys that came in, we've done a good job explaining that and getting them incorporated through the spring and their summer training of what they're expected to do to make sure they come in ready. I was really proud of the conditioning part, the test, the way the guys came out and made it and it definitely carried over."
The hope is it translates to games, but they must first show it in practice.
View must-see photos of the Giants on the practice field from Day 2 of training camp on Thursday.
The following players stood out on Thursday:
S Jabrill Peppers
Peppers recorded career highs in tackles, sacks, passes defensed, and tackles for loss in his first season under assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The energetic and versatile defensive back flew around the field at practice today and had a few opportunities for big hits if the team was in pads, which will happen Tuesday.
"Within the second year of any scheme, you definitely get more familiarized with it and you can play that much faster," says Peppers. "You understand the guys next to you jobs that much more to play to your leverage and know when you can take chances and when you can't."
S Xavier McKinney
McKinney admitted part of him still feels like a rookie after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured foot he suffered in training camp last year. He made his anticipated debut in Week 12 and played in the final six games, culminating with a game-clinching interception against the Dallas Cowboys in the season finale that kept the Giants' playoffs hopes alive for a few more hours. McKinney, like the rest of the defense, hopes to build off the strong finish to 2020. He showed it with an active practice.
TE Evan Engram
Judge has expressed his confidence in Engram multiple times throughout their tenure, and the Pro Bowler showed why again. The fifth-year tight end was one of the most active targets on the day and hooked up with Daniel Jones on multiple occasions.
"Second year in [the same system], it's always going to be smoother and you can get a little bit more in the details," Engram said. "Having the big picture stuff down, I'm able to work on the small things each and every day. We're working hard in the meeting room, hard on the field, walkthroughs, definitely having the system down is huge going into year two in this offense."
CB Darnay Holmes
Last year's fourth-round draft choice is another sophomore to watch in a loaded secondary. He grabbed an early interception to set the tone for a strong practice, which included another pass breakup.
"We're a competitive bunch," says Peppers. "It felt good to get out there, run around, compete with the offense a little bit, but you know we still have a long way to go. This was definitely a great start."
QB Clayton Thorson found WR Austin Mack for a TD…WR John Ross, a free-agent addition, hauled in a few passes…LB Carter Coughlin broke up a pass…RB Devontae Booker was active out of the backfield and had a handful of receptions as he takes extra reps while Saquon Barkley is on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list. "I think Devontae has to worry about himself and not worry about where anybody else is," Judge said. "We're going to look to get contributions from all of our players, no matter who is available on the roster. Again, whoever comes to a game for us is going to play, all right? We're not traveling guys to sit there and watch the game."