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Notes and observations from the sidelines (7/30)

It was the fifth straight day of practice (and third straight day of pads) at Giants training camp before the team's first day off tomorrow. Let's get right to it!

-       It was the most physical of the three practices and it should come as no surprise that tempers flared. Probably the biggest hit of practice came when linebacker Calvin Munson tried to step in and simulate a tackle on running back Jalen Simmons. The result was Simmons running right through Munson and knocking him down. After the play, the two slapped helmets, recognizing it was a good, clean play.

-       There was a different reaction later in practice when linebacker Olivier Vernon wrapped up running back Wayne Gallman Jr. and slammed him to the ground. Gallman took exception and then teammates on both sides of the ball got involved, resulting in a small fracas that carried into the sideline. It was quickly broken up and no one was hurt. There's always a dust-up or two during camp after there's a lot of hitting on the practice field. No one should take it too seriously.

  • Cornerback Eli Apple and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had a nice battle going late in practice, getting lined up against each other a couple of times and sharing some words. Beckham had the last laugh when he got a lot of separation on a sideline comeback route and getting up the field before Apple could recover from getting turned around. It was a fun competition to watch.
  • Apple has not been shy about being physical in practice. If he allows a reception, or is helping against the run, he lets the offense know he is there. Apple is a big cornerback and put on some muscle in the offseason. It is good to see his willingness to throw his weight around.
  • The team had their first 9 on 7 session today, and a couple plays jumped out to me. Defensive linemen Damon Harrison and Josh Mauro were both quickly closed holes on two plays that would have resulted in losses. There were a few plays where there was some nice space inside for the running back to maneuver.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning was very sharp throughout practice. He did a great job reading the blitz, getting the ball out, and being accurate with his passes. On one such play on the goal line he read a double blitz coming up the middle. He got the ball out to wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who ran an out from the slot. It was a tough angle and there was not a lot of room, but Manning zipped it in and Shepard would have scored the touchdown.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb hit Shepard on a perfect corner fade during red zone WR/DB one-on-ones, putting the ball right over the head of cornerback Janoris Jenkins. There were a couple plays later in practice where Webb was a little too slow getting rid of the ball, which resulted in either a sack or incomplete pass.
  • Newcomer cornerback Kenneth Durden continued to get his hands on the football. During those same red zone one-on-ones, he laid out to make a diving interception on a pass from quarterback Alex Tanney intended for wide receiver Jawill Davis. Later in practice he made another play on the ball, knocking away a Kyle Lauletta pass. He has made his mark early.
  • One of the early segments of practice featured one-on-ones for the running backs and tight ends against the linebackers and safeties. There is no reason for any detail or nuance here. It will be impossible for opposing linebackers and most safeties to cover tight end Evan Engram or running back Saquon Barkely one-on-one. They are matchup nightmares and mismatches waiting to happen.
  • Nice run fit by safety Landon Collins, filling an inside hole and getting to Saquon Barkley before he got to the line of scrimmage during team drills. Later in practice, Collins set the edge, forcing the running back inside into the arms of a penetrating (linebacker) Alec Ogletree for another loss.
  • Nice blitz pickup by rookie running back Rob Martin, which gave Alex Tanney time to hit Kyle Rudolph for a touchdown.