The first practice of Giants training camp is in the books. The players still aren't in pads (that comes Saturday), but the contact rules from spring workouts are no longer in place allowing for a faster paced practice. It was warm and humid with temperatures in the 80's, a good start to a month of hard work at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Here's what I saw from my view on the sideline:
- After being limited a bit in the spring following forearm surgery, Landon Collins is primed and ready to go and tookas many snaps as the team needed. He is ready to go.
- Jonathan Stewart and Saquon Barkley both took first team snaps at running back, but it looked to me that Barkley received a fair amount more throughout practice. He was very active in the passing game, which should surprise no one.
- Despite all the questions about Odell Beckham's Jr.'s availability, he was active with the first team for plenty of plays. He wasn't out there for every first team rep, but it looked like it may have been close to half. He was in one-on-one and full team drills, and did everything else the coaches asked of him. The Giants said they would work him in slowly and this was a wonderful start. He caught a few passes over the middle on crossing routes designed to get him in space. I saw him line up both outside and in the slot, which can be said for almost all the wide receivers. He looks like the old Odell Beckham Jr. to me.
- I also spotted Beckham at the end of the final team period coaching up Alonzo Russell after a play, giving him some tips on how to get off the line scrimmage more effectively.
- Janoris Jenkins had a nice first day of camp, blanketing Cody Latimer during one-on-one drills. Latimer got behind Jenkins during team drills, but Eli Manning underthrew the deep ball a little bit, allowing Jenkins to recover and get the interception with a tough over the shoulder catch. He did a great job locating the ball in chase position and getting his hands up to make the play. It was the only interception of the day for the defense.
- Eli Apple made a couple of nice plays in one-on-one drills. Receivers got a step on him a couple times, but he did a nice job recovering, getting his head around, avoiding contact with the receiver, locating the ball, and knocking itaway from the receiver.
- There was a lot of work on screen passes today. It's a play that requires a lot of timing, so it is a good idea to start drilling it early in camp. Expect it to be a big part of the Giants offense with so many players on offense who are dynamic with the ball in their hands in space.
- Two great one-handed catches by a pair of tight ends, Evan Engram and Garret Dickerson. Both had passes lofted over their shoulders, leading them a little too much down the field. They managed to reach out with one hand and corral the passes.
- I didn't track the starters with the first team on every play – but for the most part, I saw William Gay as the starting nickel cornerback with Darian Thompson next to Landon Collins at safety. With the second team, Andrew Adams and Curtis Riley were at safety with Donte Deayon at nickel. Deayon was very active, even stepping up in run support a few times. I wouldn't take too much from the current depth chart as there will likely be a lot of rotation at these spots throughout camp as competition heats up.
- On the offensive line, Jon Halapio was the primary first team center, though Brett Jones got some time there as well. The rest of the first team offensive lined looked the way it did at the end of OTAs: LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, RG Patrick Omameh, RT Ereck Flowers. The second team had RT Chad Wheeler, RG John Jerry, LG John Greco and LT Nick Becton.
- The defense enjoyed the lack of contact rules. The cornerbacks were able to be physical at the line of scrimmage for the first time in 2018, and the defensive linemen and linebackers were relentless coming after the quarterback. There were far too many defensive players in the backfield for the offensive coaches to be happy.
- The good news is that on the first day of camp there were only a couple of dropped passes and no fumbled snaps or issues handling the football, which can be common early in camp. The bad news is there were far too many procedural penalties on both sides of the ball. Those also creep up a lot at the start of camp, but as the players acclimate and focusthey should begin to disappear.