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Notes and observations from the sidelines (7/29)

It was the second straight day practicing in pads for the Giants. I also wrote about the top performers at practice today and I won't repeat here what I wrote there, so please check out that article for more information.

-       After red zone seven-on-seven yesterday, there were two complete team sessions in the red zone today, including one featuring a lot of running plays. Without practice tape to review, it is hard to see exactly what is happening in what can only be called a "mass of humanity" on the line of scrimmage, but it sure looked to me like the defense was winning the battle at the line. There wasn't a ton of push by the offensive front, and the running backs did not have a lot of room to run. Extra credit goes to the interior defensive linemen like Damon Harrison, B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson.

-       The Giants signed defensive back Kenneth Durden this morning and placed rookie corner Sam Beal on injured reserve, and Durden showed up right away on the practice field. He got his head around on a lobbed pass from Alex Tanney and made a great leaping deflection to keep the ball away from wide receiver Jawill Davis.

  • A whole lot happened on one play during the team blitz period. Linebacker Alec Ogletree executed a blitz perfectly, curling around the rusher engaging Nate Solder and getting a free run at the quarterback. The play continued with quarterback Eli Manning trying to hit wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on a short pass, but Eli Apple got his hand in and knocked the ball up in the air. Olivier Vernon ran underneath it for the interception. Unfortunately, Apple got there a bit early and was called for pass interference on the play, wiping everything out. Apple did have a nice pass deflection later in practice on a pass from Manning intended for Travis Rudolph.

-       Defensive end Josh Mauro got into the backfield on a run play for running back Saquon Barkley and would have had a nice tackle for loss, as the rookie runner was still trying to find his hole when Mauro collapsed on him from the perimeter.

-       It's hard to evaluate individual linemen during team drills unless he is the only player you are watching on that particular play, but guard Patrick Omameh caught my eye a few times. Once during a team period, he did a nice job showing his agility and running out in front of Odell Beckham Jr. on a wide receiver screen. Then during one-on-ones, he stopped the defensive linemen rushing against him cold both times. He is settling into right guard nicely.

-       When I saw undrafted rookie running back Rob Martin at rookie minicamp as a tryout, I thought he had a chance to earn a contract and he did. He did not disappoint today, showing some really nice shiftiness in the hole and eliciting some "oohs and ahs" from the fans in attendance. He's got a little something.

-       We saw our first special teams session of full kickoff return with guys hitting each other. Wide receiver Jawill Davis, Saquon Barkley, wide receiver Cody Latimer, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running back Wayne Gallman were back as returners. More interesting for me was watching how the new rules might impact the return game. It looked to me like there was a lot more room to run for the returner. I'm anxious to see the effect once we get into games.

-       It was the second day of O-line/D-line one-on-ones, and here's what I saw. It was a tale of two reps for right tackle Ereck Flowers. On his first snap, he let Kareem Martin get the inside straight arm on him, which gave Martin control of Flowers, who was pushed into the backfield. The second rep was far better against Romeo Okwara, who tried a power rush as well. Flowers stood his ground and won the play.

-       Flowers is not the only player who had trouble with outside backer Kareem Martin, who switched sides and rushed against left tackle Nate Solder as well. Martin beat him with a slick inside move. Solder overset outside and couldn't recover once Martin got the inside route to the quarterback.

-       John Jerry had two very nice reps in pass protection against Josh Banks, stalling the very quick rusher in his tracks both times.