EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It was one small step for Oshane Ximines that could prove to be a significant leap for the Giants.
Ximines, the pass-rushing linebacker who was limited to just four games in the 2020 season, today was activated – along with running back Saquon Barkley – off the physically unable to perform/active list after passing his physical.
"It felt great to be back out there, man," Ximines said. "It was a long, long offseason to finally be back right. Today was just a first step to a long journey to getting where I was."
Like Barkley, Ximines was mostly limited to individual drills. He will be carefully eased into more complicated situations.
"In my head, I'm already back to where I was," Ximines said. "But of course, when I get out there, I'm going to realize what I need to work on more, where I'm more rusty at, and things like that. That's why I was just itching so bad to get out there today. But I'm trying to be smart and take the right steps so I'll be ready."
Ximines endured a short and frustrating 2020 season. He suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth game, on Oct. 4 in Los Angeles against the Rams. Ximines was placed on injured reserve five days later. He hoped to return late in the season, but his shoulder continued to hurt after he practiced on Nov. 23. A week later, he underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
The 2019 third-round draft choice's season totals included four games, three starts and five tackles (four solo). It was a step back after a rookie season in which he played in all 16 games with two starts and finished with 24 tackles (11 solo) and tied Lorenzo Carter for second on the team with 4.5 sacks.
But his abbreviated performance last year was enough to impress coach Joe Judge.
"He's a physical presence," Judge said. "He's got the pass rush ability from the size and the speed and is really kind of the more speed to power type of guy. But in terms of holding the edge, playing with extension, shedding blocks, X really plays more to his physical build which is really power and anchor at the point of attack. That's really his physical skillset, not that we're not working to develop more things in that. He's a guy that's helped in the kicking game, too. He's had roles on defense, so we're looking to get him involved in everything we do.
"We had him for a few games last year. He came back and it was unfortunate that he had to deal with an injury. We're excited to get him back out there today. He's a guy that works really, really hard. He's definitely someone we look forward to getting out there on the field with us from a team perspective. Again, we'll build him up a little bit as well. You'll see a little more from X-man in the next couple of days, like Saquon, in terms of team and competitive things. But we're excited to get him out there."
Ximines conceded he must not let that excitement result in doing too much too soon.
"That's one thing I struggled with because when I get hurt, I want to go back out there, like I'm good," he said. "I've always been that way. But sometimes it's not the smartest thing to do. That's something I learned from last year and I'm looking to be smarter this year."
View photos from training camp as Saquon Barkley returns to practice for the first time Monday.
*It's very probable the Giants' starters will play little or not at all in the preseason opener Saturday night against the Jets. With an NFL-mandated roster cut to no more than 85 players by Aug. 17 at 4 p.m., Judge wants to see the team's backups play in a game.
"The priority for me is to treat this more like a traditional game four," Judge said. "When I say that, it's more of a make sure all of the players that we really have to evaluate get an evaluation. Because of the rules this year, we have to cut five guys after the Jets game. I want to make sure that we don't make any decisions that impact our or their future without a proper evaluation."
*Wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught passes on the practice field, though he did no running or jumping. Golladay left practice with a hamstring injury last Tuesday. There is no timetable for his return.
*Judge generally chooses a veteran or two to have a lighter workload each practice and Sterling Shepard not did appear to participate in team drills today. That gave first-round draft choice Kadarius Toney more of an opportunity to take first-team reps.
*The Giants will be in full pads the next two days.