EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It's getting to where a Giants training camp practice is incomplete without a Jalin Hyatt highlight.
The feature today was Hyatt sprinting past two defensive backs and catching a long, perfectly placed pass from Daniel Jones in the end zone that drew the loudest cheer of the day from the attending fans.
Plays like that have enabled Hyatt to increase his first-team reps as camp has progressed. His status as one of the team's five fastest players has made him a frequent target on deep throws and his consistency catching the ball has created more opportunities to demonstrate his skills.
"It definitely feels different (than a couple of weeks ago)," Hyatt said. "Just getting a little more time with DJ now, and just getting comfortable out there with the starters. I think, for me, just day by day. That's one thing I want to do, just get better every day. Whatever my opportunities are, whatever the reps are, I'm just going to take advantage of it."
Hyatt takes the practice field with the same goal every day.
"The only thing I want to show is to Daniel Jones and (backup quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor), the quarterbacks for us, I just want to get comfortable with them, making sure they understand my speed and I understand how they throw the ball," he said. "So, I think that's the biggest thing I'm trying to get out of this camp. Just getting open consistently, making plays when they do throw the ball to me. That's one thing I just want to show. I just want to consistently get open and show them that even under pressure, we still get things done."
Hyatt was the Giants' third-round draft choice this year, No. 73 overall. Last season at the University of Tennessee, Hyatt finished with 67 receptions for 1,267 yards (18.9-yard avg.), a school-record 15 touchdowns, and 105.6 yards a game, all career highs, and received the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best receiver.
The Giants were impressed with Hyatt's many attributes, but speed was at the top of the list.
"That was definitely one of the strengths of his coming out of college, something that we targeted," offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said.
Hyatt is eager to prove he can do more than run fast in a straight line and catch a pinpoint throw when he is behind defenders.
"I think for me, it's just what can you do with contested catches, can you make 50/50 balls, and when you are getting covered, and you're not in the spot that you want to be in, can you make a play?" he said. "That's really what I want to show Daniel and coach (Brian) Daboll, really everybody on our team. I just want to show the respect for them."
Hyatt is also fulfilling a job requirement that is essential for all the receivers, developing a rapport with Jones.
"I think it started in the offseason," Hyatt said. "When we got done with OTAs, we all got together, made sure we had a trip, and just getting comfortable with each other. Outside of football, even with football, just understanding him, what he likes, what reads he likes, whatever the defense is, whatever coverage is in. So, I think that's the biggest thing I want to get out of this camp. Making sure that he can trust in me and just make plays for him."
Hyatt made numerous plays in the spring workouts and has continued to do so in training camp, including when he lines up with the starters.
"He's doing a nice job," Kafka said. "He's doing a nice job in the classroom, studying, prepping, making sure he's prepared for practice. On the field, he's working, and working through all the fundamentals and techniques that we want him to work through. Obviously, he's made a couple plays, and he's got to just take it day by day. I think that's where, not only just him, but the entire offense can take that approach."
View photos from Thursday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
*Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said he is confident his unit will play better than it did in 2022.
"I just think it's a lot of different things," he said. "It's the second year in the system, you know the players that are coming back. You know them better than you did at this time last year. Guys themselves are just working really hard and trying to improve every day. Whether that's Dex (Dexter Lawrence) or the last guy that we just brought in, whoever that is. I just think that the organizational alignment that we have with (general manager) Joe (Schoen) and Dabs (coach Brian Daboll) and the whole staff, that you're looking for the traits, the characteristics and all that. We're all in align and it's an exciting time right now like it is for the 31 other teams, I'm sure."
Martindale was asked why the second season together as coaches and players is significant.
"We know them better and they know us better and it's a 50/50 thing," he said. "You can visualize what guys can do. We did that last year, and it was fine, it worked out well for us, but we also know there's a lot of improving that we need to do because if you're not changing in this league, you won't be in this league very long. You'll like irrelevancy even less. Thank you, I learned that word this summer."
*Speaking of second seasons…Kafka was asked where he has seen Jones improve his sophomore season in the offense.
"Year two is always just a little bit easier for everybody, especially when you start brand new with a whole staff and you're getting to understand everybody, and you're looking to build trust and build relationships," Kafka said. "Year one was kind of that first part of the process. Working into year two, there's a lot more comfort, there's a lot more familiarity. I think everyone has an understanding of the strengths and the weaknesses of not only the scheme, but the players and how we're coaching it and how we're teaching it, how we're running it. So, year two is always easier. I mean, even for myself, same thing, just another year under my belt being with DJ and being with the offensive line, the group and the offense and the whole staff. So, everything is just a little bit more smooth, but we've still got to put in the work, and we've still got to go through the process."
*Martindale offered some details of his pre-camp vacation.
"I hope everybody had a good time, a good break," he said. "I know myself, I had a great time with the family and played a lot of golf. My wife was trying to teach me how to play pickleball. That's a new, exciting sport. I found out that I don't have brakes anymore. If you want to go run for a ball, watch out if you're standing in the way, but it was a really enjoyable time."
*Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is excited to work with his new assistant, Mike Adams, who joined the team just prior to training camp after Anthony Blevins left to become head coach of the XFL's Vegas Vipers.
"It's been great," McGaughey said. "We have a history together, I coached him in Carolina. He was awesome as a player. He's great to have in the room, great leader, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. He's been really good so far and again, it's new to him, it's a new area for him as far as coaching is concerned, but he's doing a great job of picking it up and learning at the same time."
*The first-team interior offensive linemen in practice today were John Michael Schmitz at center, Ben Bredesen at right guard and Joshua Ezeudu at left guard.
"The combination, the depth chart and all that stuff, I'm sure everyone's looking at that," Kafka said. "We have a plan, so we're working through all those spots, not just at the O-line, receiver. There's a lot of groups that we're working through and how to put people in different spots. That's just part of the constant evaluation process for us."
*A crew of NFL officials that included referee Clay Martin worked in practice for the first time and will spend the next couple days in camp.