EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants' rookies got down and dirty at the end of practice Tuesday and the players and coaches loved it.
Following the traditional conditioning runs at the end of the workout, a not-so standard piece of equipment was brought out – a hose, which was used to soak a portion of the field. As the patch of grass became increasingly muddy, footballs were thrown down and a succession of rookies had to recover the "fumbles."
"It was a ball security drill," veteran linebacker Markus Golden said.
The exercise began benignly enough with head groundskeeper Rob Davis holding the hose. Safety Jabrill Peppers soon grabbed it and did his best to increase the mud's slickness and thickness.
That apparently didn't satisfy safety Nate Ebner, who took charge – and the hose – and sprayed the players' jerseys and helmets, and sometimes their faces, as they tried to secure the football. Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Prince Smith, Tavien Feaster and Chris Williamson were among those who received the full Ebner. Lemieux enjoyed it so much he was a two-time repeater.
Defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson took turns with the hose as several coaches did their best to recover the ball, including Sean Spencer, Kevin Sherrer and Mike Treier.
Like all good shows, this one had a memorable ending. With the players chanting, "Joe, Joe, Joe," coach Joe Judge removed his whistle and took a deep dive into the muck as the entire team cheered. The coach showed everyone how it's done by smothering the ball.
"Just making sure everybody knows how to cover the ball but mixed with a little bit of fun," Golden said. "Had the water running, had the mud out there. It was pretty exciting. That was my first time seeing something like that. I was hyped up and excited to watch it. Had all the rookies go, and then we ended it with coach Judge. That was big time. Coach Judge, he knows how to do it. He's coaching us about ball security and he proved that what he does works because he got out there and did it himself.
"It was fun just to see him actually get out there and do it, too. It's fun. It shows you that football is hard work, but there's nothing wrong mixing a little fun into it. That was really exciting. Everybody got excited. It was fun. It was a fun way to end practice."
Giants players - along with Coach Joe Judge - ran mud drills at the end of Tuesday's training camp practice.
Golden rejoined the team on Aug. 4 after he was a free agent the entire offseason. He was asked on his post-practice Zoom call what else Judge has done to make training camp "fun and different."
"Camp is always hard work," Golden said. "I'm not the guy to go into camp looking for fun. I go into camp looking for the hard work and looking forward to working hard. But I would say just being able to be back with the team has been fun. There are a lot of good people in the organization, on the staff. But you have to make it fun no matter what. Being out there at practice, you have to have fun. But to end the day with a drill like that and actually see your head coach actually slide through the mud and recover the ball, it doesn't get more fun than that. I have to give it to him. That was the most fun part right there, what we got to see today."
*Wide receiver Golden Tate did not practice and linebacker Blake Martinez worked on the side.
Judge, who spoke to the media prior to practice, said, "Golden's going to go ahead and stay behind with the trainers, kind of get a look at a little something. We'll see where he is. He's really kind of day to day right now."
Martinez, per Judge's order, was not about to disclose any information about his condition.
"It's good, I'm good," he said. "We don't discuss injuries and things here. I have to push that to coach Judge. But for the most part, I'm doing well. Just doing what I can do and getting ready every day." Asked if he could play a game, Martinez said, "Yeah, I'm always ready to go."
*Wide receiver Darius Slayton was noticeably active at practice. He caught several long passes, including a deep throw from Daniel Jones on fourth-and-10 in a two-minute drill.
*Cornerback Corey Ballentine will be one of the players affected by the arrival of Logan Ryan, but Judge has been impressed by the second-year pro.
"I've seen a lot of improvement," Judge said. "He's obviously an athletic guy. He has good top speed that can really run with anybody on the field. It's really patience within the technique. I've seen a lot of improvement with him as far as trusting his speed, trusting the technique, not overreacting at the top of the route. Some of the things we ask these guys to do, especially early in camp, are foreign to them. It takes a little bit of time to play the technique to where we're demanding to, and I've seen daily improvement from Corey."