The Giants will not practice for another week or put on the pads until the following week. But they have taken the field for walk-throughs and conditioning.
That is a start and all coach Joe Judge can ask for right now.
"I see a lot of energy coming in and improving on a daily basis and that's increased from Day 1," Judge said Tuesday on a video conference with reporters. "It's day-by-day we've got to stack them together, I say that every day. I see that with our guys every meeting, every walk-through, every session. That's all I can ask for from them right now. There's an urgency to improve, there's an urgency to learn. We have a lot of guys reaching out to coaches on their own for help. We have players in meeting rooms doing extra. You can see the things you want to go ahead and breathe into your culture coming together already."
After players underwent coronavirus testing, the roster was split into three groups for weightlifting and field work, in addition to their meetings and evening walk-throughs. The veteran players, who reported last Tuesday and took physicals over the weekend, began strength and conditioning this week in the first phase of the modified training camp running through Aug. 11. The following day, they are permitted to practice in helmets but not pads, which they can first wear Aug. 17th. Each team can have a maximum of 14 padded workouts.
Until then, the walk-throughs allow the team to work on fundamentals at a controlled pace, a luxury Judge and his new coaching staff did not have in the Spring.
"Really, the biggest emphasis on that is communication," Judge said. "We can't go at full-tempo. We don't want to expose our players to injury or something they are not ready for. It's a teaching phase that we're in right now. Building the communication and the identification of being on the field and working with your teammates. ... It doesn't look, tempo-wise, like anything you would expect practice to look like. It really is a controlled walk-through tempo to get guys moving and familiar with our schemes and systems and how practice will flow once we go full speed."
On Sunday, the Giants waived eight players to reach the NFL's newly-significant roster limit of 80 players. Each team was permitted to begin training camp with a traditional 90-man summer roster, but any club remaining at that number would have to split its squad for all activities, with only half its players allowed in that team's facility at a time.
"Long story short, I think it was best for us to be able to evaluate everybody as a whole as they go through the progression," Judge said of moving forward with fewer players. "Ultimately, I wished we could have gone with 90 the entire way through, like a traditional camp. That's not the rules in place right now. It presents some logistical issues for you – both facilities-wise and how you can map out coordinating different players working with each other. We wanted to make sure we gave everyone a chance to get out there on the field and really take a look at them at work. After a duration of time we felt it was the team's best interest to move to 80."
Judge was also asked about "pseudo-bubbles" some teams are trying to create.
"To be honest with you, if it's not completely isolated like the NBA and NHL, then it's not a bubble," Judge said. "It's really just a way of having training camp and trying to stay isolated. If it was a non-COVID year, we would be trying to keep the team as isolated as best we can just to keep the focus on what we are doing and build that training camp atmosphere that we haven't had.
"I'm not mandating any coaches stay in the team hotel. Obviously by the league rules, no player is mandated to stay in the team hotel. Our players either opted in or opted out of the hotel stay. The ones that are in the hotel have a curfew. We have expressed to the ones on the outside that they have to make the right decisions when they are on the outside in terms of how they structure their nights. I'd say the biggest message I have for everybody, whether it's the coaches, the support staff, the players, it's not about being in a bubble. It's about making the right decisions when you are away from the building to make sure we don't bring something into the building."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.