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Practice Notes (8/14): Giants offense stands out

The Giants competed in their first of three practices in Detroit on Tuesday afternoon. Here are my impressions.

-       The Lions have been excellent hosts. Their indoor and outdoor practice facilities are well-kept and they provided a very welcoming atmosphere for the Giants players and staff. Lions season ticket holders were in attendance at practice, providing a fun environment. Both teams listened to their coaches and executed a clean, business-like practice.

-       Running back Wayne Gallman got a few more first-team reps than usual with fellow running back Saquon Barkley sidelined with a mildly strained hamstring. He caught a few passes out of the backfield and showed a nice burst through the hole.

-       In general, the first team offense was in rhythm the entire day. Quarterback Eli Manning, wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, and tight end Evan Engram were impossible to stop for the Lions secondary. For more on Manning and Beckham, check out my standout players. Shepard carried his strong play into Detroit, fresh off the birth of daughter Cali Clay last Friday. The standout play for Shepard came on a slant over the middle that he caught one-handed against his helmet. Engram continues to be a mismatch for opposing defenses as well. Wide receivers Cody Latimer and Hunter Sharp made some plays in one on ones.

View the best photos from the Giants' joint practice with the Lions.

  • The Giants offensive line deserves credit. All three quarterbacks were kept clean throughout practice.
  • The two most disruptive pass rushers throughout were edge rushers Olivier Vernon and Avery Moss. Vernon got the quarterback quickly on what would have been a sack during the two-minute portion of practice (and would have ended the Lions drive) but the play went on. Moss continues to impress while playing mostly with the third team.
  • With so many drills happening at the same time during practice, David Diehl watched offensive-defense line one on ones and filed this report to me. Jon Halapio had the best reps of any offensive lineman, stoning the rushers in front of him. Nate Solder handled Ezekial Ansah's speed off the edge. Defensively, Vernon beat Taylor Decker twice, and Kerry Wynn had a nice rush lining up at three technique between the guard and tackle.
  • Robert Thomas flashed during one-on-ones, putting a Lions offensive lineman on the ground using a power move on his way to the quarterback. He also had what would have been a tackle for loss on a Lions run play during team drills. B.J. Hill got pressure on the quarterback once during team drills.
  • Overall, starting cornerbacks Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins performed well, but they also learned what it is like practicing against Matthew Stafford. On a couple plays, Giants defensive backs had good coverage, but Stafford zipped it in to wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones high and in traffic for very difficult, contested catches. I saw Stafford practice at the Pro Bowl after the 2014 season, and his arm strength still might be the best in the league.
  • Josh Banks made a nice play during the team portion of practice, running over a Lions offensive lineman, helping to clear a path for Avery Moss on his way into the backfield.
  • Eli Apple and Alec Ogletree combined for a nice play on a Lions tight end who was making a shallow in-cut, but Apple and Ogletree combined to shut down the passing lane, forcing Stafford to pump fake and look elsewhere.
  • Edge rusher Connor Barwin was constantly coaching up Lorenzo Carter about pass rushing technique, even though Barwin wasn't practicing on Tuesday. He has been a great veteran presence.
  • The practice ended with two-minute drills for the starting units of both teams. The Lions did score on their possession on a slant route from Stafford to Jones that was a tight fit, but the drive should have been stopped earlier if the Lions didn't play through what would have been an Olivier Vernon sack.
  • The Giants offense moved the ball right down the field when it was their turn, with passes to Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram. The possession ended, however, when Eli Manning was intercepted by safety Glover Quin on a short pass intended for Engram. Quin made a nice play coming down and getting in the passing lane. A couple of plays prior to the interception, Manning hit Beckham on a crossing pattern that might have gone for a touchdown in a game, but the officials blew the play dead when a Lions player came close enough to Beckham to get a hand on him.

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