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Sideline View: Giants, Pats stress situational football


It was another hot practice at the Patriots' practice facility with temperatures hitting 90 degrees and humidity posing a challenge. Thursday included the most competitive team and situational sessions I have seen in a Giants practice so far this season.

Here are my notes:

* Saquon Barkley practiced in the non-contact red jersey and saw action in 7-on-7. He caught two passes during competitive team periods and a touchdown during 7-on-7.

* Sterling Shepard made a slick one-handed catch during red zone 7-on-7 and caught a touchdown a couple of plays later. David Sills caught a touchdown during the period, too.

* During 7-on-7s the offensive and defensive lines were taking snaps on the far end of the field doing pass rush 1-on-1s and picking up twists. From what I was able to see, Nate Solder had a nice block at left tackle riding around the edge. Azeez Ojulari got into the backfield on an outside rush, and Will Hernandez and Nick Gates handled a Patriots tackle-tackle twist well.

* The Giants put pressure on the Patriots throughout practice. I spotted Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Jabrill Peppers near the quarterback for potential sacks at different times.

* With some injuries at the cornerback position, there were opportunities for youngsters Rodarius Williams and Sam Beal, who both had a pair of pass break-ups.

View photos of the Giants practicing with the Patriots in New England ahead of Sunday's preseason finale.

* Logan Ryan had the play of the day for the Giants' defense. Rookie Mac Jones was trying to complete an intermediate route over the middle to tight end Jonnu Smith, and Ryan came down from his safety position and jumped in front of the tight end to grab the interception. Ryan's anticipation on the play was excellent, as he had time to get in front of Smith and grab a clean interception.

* Xavier McKinney also had a pass break-up during a Patriot two-minute period, knocking the ball away from Kendrick Bourne over the middle.

* On a blitz from a defensive back, Daniel Jones made a quick read and got the ball out to Dante Pettis, who was wide open down the left sideline. He faked going inside just enough to keep the single-high safety away from his side, leaving him wide open. Jones made a pinpoint throw, and Pettis brought the ball down to the one-yard line. Eli Penny caught a touchdown on a short pass one play later. Darius Slayton caught a few passes on the drive, too.

* Nakia Griffin-Stewart had a big play of his own, making a tough contested catch to convert a fourth-and-long during one of the competitive team periods. He jumped in the air, collided with a Pats defensive back, and came down with the ball.

* The Giants had a situational session at the very end of practice, getting the ball with under a minute to go and needing to get into field goal range. After two short Saquon Barkley catches, Jones connected on consecutive passes to Darius Slayton and Jake Hausmann to set up Graham Gano for a 49-yard attempt. Gano's first make didn't count since the Patriots used a timeout to freeze him right before the kick. He made the second attempt as well to give the Giants a successful drive.

* After practice, Joe Judge sent his team up and down the hill for one more set of conditioning before the team traveled back to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The team will have one more practice on Friday before Sunday's preseason finale against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium.

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