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Joe Judge initiates new OL Joe Looney; Saquon Barkley, Kadarius Toney updates


Joe Looney hadn't been a Giant for 48 hours before he ran his first penalty lap. Welcome to a Joe Judge practice.

"That's something I ain't done since little league," the 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive lineman, who signed late Saturday afternoon and participated in his first full-speed practice today. "But you know I loved it. It's another way to hold us accountable as professionals. If you make a mistake, you're going to have to run a lap for it. I'm all about it. It holds us accountable at the end of the day."

The fact that he was new to the team was no excuse. However, it did give him something to talk about with quarterback Daniel Jones, who had to run alongside him.

"We were actually just talking about taking some snaps before practice," Looney said. "You know me being a new guy, we haven't gotten snaps. It's just things take time. It just takes time with that center-quarterback relationship."

Looney has more than 100 games of NFL experience under his belt and played the past five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Four of them were spent under Jason Garrett, the longtime Cowboys head coach who took over as Judge's offensive coordinator in 2020.

Looney had to get used to seeing him without a star on his hat.

"Oh man, it's crazy," Looney said. "Him here and all this, you know we sat out here on the practice field and reminisced a little bit. It's awesome to be with him. I can't say enough about Coach Garrett. He gave me a great opportunity to be with Dallas and now here. I want to play my tail off for him."

Looney added: "A lot of it is familiar. I feel like once you're a veteran in the league, you learn the systems and each thing is almost the same. A team can only run so many plays. It's a new opportunity for me. There are new calls, new things I need to learn in the playbook, so it's a challenge to me."

In 2020, Looney played in 13 games with 12 starts -- 11 at center and one at right guard.

So, where will he play with the Giants?

"I don't have a preference," Looney said. "Wherever they want me at and wherever I can come in and help and step in, even coach and give guys little tips here and there. I'm just out here trying to have fun. At the end of the day, this is a game. It's a kid's game that we play, so I'm going to come out here and have fun and give it my all."

Aside from laps, one thing everyone knows about Judge is his emphasis on versatility.

"He's a vet with a lot of experience," Judge said of Looney. "He's got experience with Jason before, so there's some familiarity with the system, although it's not a carbon copy from before. He'll have to get on the same page with some of the new terms and verbiage we have with our line coaches and some of the new system adjustments we made.

"I would say aside from that, he's a good vet, he's got good experience, he gives us a lot of versatility. At center and guard, he's a guy that gives us a decent piece in there. We're going to let him compete at all three spots like everybody else, make sure we build on our versatility. That's always a strength for us. He was out there for the walkthrough the other night for us. Obviously, this is his first day of training camp, so we'll have to build him up over time. That's not a reflection on what we think of him as a player, it's a reflection on anyone in their first day of camp. We want to make sure we don't put him out there in a position not ready to go out and execute and maybe have an injury or something."

*Looney was part of a series of weekend roster moves, which bled into Monday morning when the Giants re-signed veteran running back Alfred Morris. Judge was asked if the move was a reflection on the status of Saquon Barkley, who remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

"No, this is just overall an opportunity to, number one, have depth to go ahead and practice the way we want to practice and also have the opportunity to bring a quality player back in," Judge said. "Alfred, last year – look, I can't tell you how much I feel on a personal level about Alfred and what he did for our team last year, about how he carries himself, about how he is as a teammate, how he is in the team meeting. Look, I walked by him when I was coming in the building and he was waiting outside for his clearance from his test, and we got to have a conversation sitting outside and it's just refreshing seeing his face. He's always smiling and good, great energy out there. Again, like anyone else, he has an opportunity to come in here and compete for a spot on this team. We had an opportunity to bring him back and he helps our competition within that spot."

*As for Barkley, Judge didn't make any predictions on when he will take the practice field but said he is making "a lot of strides." Judge added that the team has mirrored Barkley's rehab with what the players are doing on the field to build him up to the same volume of reps. "We can kind of go apples to apples with what he's done on a daily basis compared to the players that are in practice to give us a better picture in terms of where he is physically," Judge said.

*Rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the team's first-round draft choice, continued to ramp up after being activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday.

"He's still building up, but we will start seeing a little bit more of him day by day as the trainers keep allowing us to have him more," Judge said. "Look, these guys do a really good job as far as knowing our players and looking out for their health. We trust what they say, we trust our medical team, but the focus is to get this guy involved as much as we can with football and keep building him up through training camp. It'll be limited for the time being., We'll get him day by day a little more."

*Judge was also asked about rookie linebacker Azeez Ojulari ahead of Tuesday's first padded practice, which is a major checkpoint in any training camp.

"The real test will be when the pads come on, but I'd say in terms of his mental understanding of the system and schemes, he's made progress in that," Judge said of the second-round draft choice. "There's some similarities to the defense with what he played in college (Georgia). It's not the same, but there's similarities and I think that gives him a little bit of a jump verbiage-wise or scheme understanding-wise. It's something that he can relate to, something he's done in the past. The biggest thing for Azeez right now is he's really shown us a lot of jumps in how he came in in shape in training camp. When we saw him in the spring, like all rookies, I tell you all the time, they come in, they're not ready to go. That was evident with the way some of those guys handled the conditioning throughout practice in the spring. You watch him out there throughout the duration of practice of maintaining his conditioning level, conditioning at the end of practice, where he is in the pack as far as running. He's not towards the back, he's getting up there towards the front, so the demonstration of how he's working and got himself in physical shape to come in has helped him to this point."

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