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2022 Training Camp

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Notebook: Giants bookends back in place; injury updates

KAYVON-THOMAS-FORD

With their bookends in place on both sides of the ball, the Giants look to write a better story for their future.

The arrival of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal made history this offseason. It was the first time the Giants selected two players in the top seven of the same draft, the former an All-American edge rusher and the latter at offensive tackle. Mirroring that duo, with the added benefit of experience, are Andrew Thomas and Azeez Ojulari, who returned to practice Sunday after starting camp on the non-football injury list with a hamstring issue.

"We are just going to get it done every day," Ojulari said after his first practice back. "We come in and compete, do our job, be where our feet are. We are going to play hard no matter what. Dominate, try to dominate and just be us."

The foursome looks to protect the flanks on one side and apply pressure on the other.

Thibodeaux and Neal will get their chance to break out, just as Thomas and Ojulari did a year ago. Thomas, the fourth overall pick in 2020, came into his own at left tackle, while Ojulari set the franchise rookie record with eight sacks.

No one knows each other's game better than teammates who go against each other in practice every day.

"Azeez has freak athleticism, good get-off on the ball, and he has pretty good length," Thomas said. "And then his power at the point of attack, he's a good rusher. He mixes it up, so it makes it hard on tackles to figure out what he's doing."

Thomas added, "Definitely explosive, and not just those two [Ojulari and Thibodeaux]. We've got a pretty good outside linebacker group right now. I'm excited to see what they do. It's still early in training camp, but we definitely have some guys who can make some plays."

Meanwhile, Ojulari knows his rookie record could be short-lived with Thibodeaux coming a year behind him.

"I like the way that he works," Ojulari said. "He comes in every day and competes and works hard. Tries to push everyone. Just gets better every day. A head down guy, just coming in, trying to get better and compete."

Thibodeaux's presence will also help Ojulari elevate his game to the next level.

"Definitely, for sure, because we've got that same energy, same motor," Ojulari said. "We're definitely going to push each other and feed off of each other's energy and just get after people."

View the top photos from Sunday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Here are other notes from the day:

*Daboll provided injury updates in the wake of Thursday night's preseason opener in New England, where three players were hurt in the Giants' 23-21 victory. Starting left guard Shane Lemieux (toe/foot) "probably won't be out there this week." Asked whether it was something that could threaten the start of the regular season, Daboll said, "We'll see. He did something, but we're day-by-day with these injuries. We'll see where he's at. I know the guy will rehab the best he can to get available for us."

With rookie third-round pick Josh Ezeudu also dealing with an injury, Ben Bredesen stepped in with the first team. Meanwhile, backup offensive lineman Jamil Douglas (ankle) and rookie cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (groin) were also injured in the game and did not practice. 

*Antonio Williams led the team with nine carries for 61 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener, but Daboll was more impressed with what the offseason addition did in another phase of the game. 

"Consummate pro," Daboll said of Williams, who played for him in Buffalo. "I mean, he took advantage of his opportunities. The best play he probably had was on the kickoff on the second half. He went down there and tackled a guy for not much of a gain. He was excited about that. He's a guy that's constantly working to try to stick on a roster, try to stick around. His mindset's good. He's smart. There's good competition in that room."

*While the Giants will continue on with their on-field preparation for the season, which includes a joint practice with the Jets next week, Sunday was the final session open to the public. 

"Really appreciate the fan support," Daboll said. "Good attendance. I know it gives the guys juice. Good weather today. We're moving on from last week, so we're kind of done with last week. This is a fresh week. Have a lot to work on. We have two padded practices this week. One with shells. Good competitive periods. And just focus on getting better fundamentally and improve our techniques. And that's kind of where we're at."

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