Wednesday was the most enthusiastic practice of during camp. There were offensive-defensive line 1-on-1's, no-huddle, and two-minute drill portions of practice. It was an extremely competitive practice with the offense and defense chirping at one another throughout.
Both Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur have talked about how they want both sides of the ball to make plays in a practice and that was the case today. Practice was moved into the field house when the lightning alert went off just prior to the start. By the end of practice, it was pouring rain with thunder rumbling outside the fieldhouse.
*In the spirit of not burying the lead, let's start with the two-minute drill period that was the last competitive session of the day. The offense was given the ball at their own 40 with 1:45 left on the clock (the 34-yard line for the first team offense), two timeouts remaining and needing a touchdown. The first team started with an incomplete pass when an Eli Manning throw was batted at the line of scrimmage. He completed a slant to Cody Latimer on second down. On third and two, Manning tried to hit Saquon Barkley on a deep route near the sideline. Barkley had burnt the initial coverage, but veteran safety Antoine Bethea made it over in time to grab the interception. He ran to the sideline and was mobbed in celebration by his teammates.
*The second team offense had more success. After two incomplete passes (a Julian Love pass break-up and a missed interception opportunity from Michael Thomas), Daniel Jones hit Alonzo Russell on an out route for a 27-yard gain near the right sideline. He got out of bounds to stop the clock with 1:25 left at the 37-yard line. After an incompletion, Jones completed four straight passes, including an 18-yard completion to Garrett Dickerson to get the ball to the four-yard line. On the fourth and final play, he threw a touchdown pass to Russell (6-4, 218 lbs.), who used his body to box out the smaller corner, Ronald Zamort (5-10, 184 lbs.) and went up to grab Jones' pass for the touchdown. On a play earlier in practice, Zamort had talked some trash to Dickerson on a play near the sideline, so this time the offense took great pleasure in charging the field, celebrating with Russell, and talking some trash of their own. The defense had a fair point that there were some potential sacks (Oshane Ximines and RJ McIntosh) that weren't called that could have short-circuited that drive earlier.
*The third group, led by Alex Tanney, got down to the five-yard line with no timeouts left and 36 seconds on the clock. Kyle Lauletta checked into the game and after two batted balls and a pass break-up by Zamort, he rolled to his right to avoid pressure and hit Reggie White Jr. for a diving catch for a touchdown. The offense took the day.
*During the no-huddle portion of practice, Evan Engram caught a pass from Manning on a crossing pattern, and much like yesterday, showed his speed while running away from a linebacker for what would have been a long run after catch. Barkley got open down the field during the same drill, running right past a linebacker but couldn't come up with a Manning pass that hit off his should pad and went incomplete.
*Sam Beal was on the field and played tight coverage on Russell Shepard during no-huddle. Daniel Jones tried to hit Shepard going across the middle, but the pass wasn't out in front of Shepard enough, allowing Beal to reach around and knock the pass away. Beal was on the field with the second team during practice. Two plays later on a designed rollout, Jones decided to keep the ball and would have had a big gain on a run.
*Wide receiver TJ Jones, signed last week, almost had the biggest play of practice. He got behind the defense with his speed during the first team period in the middle of practice, but Kyle Lauletta led him a little too much and it fell incomplete. Jones gets in and out of his breaks well and you can see the polish of his four years of NFL experience. Lauletta had another chance on a deep pass during no-huddle, but a ball intended for Reggie White Jr. was played nicely by Kenny Ladler, who knocked it away.
*Manning continues to look very sharp in practice. He is accurate and on time with his throws, which have plenty of velocity. He is starting to develop very good timing with Golden Tate, who has been his most targeted receiver the last couple of practices. Even Sterling Shepard, while wearing a splint on his fractured thumb and a yellow no-contact jersey, caught a pass one-handed in the blitz period of practice.
*During O-Line/D-Line 1-on-1's, the first team offensive line won all five of their matchups with the first team defense. Considering the disadvantage the offensive line has in those drills, it was a very impressive performance. Nate Solder stuffed Lorenzo Carter, who tried to win outside, while Mike Remmers handled Kareem Martin's rush. Will Hernandez slowed down Dexter Lawrence, Kevin Zeitler had a dominant rep against B.J. Hill, and Jon Halapio slowed down Dalvin Tomlinson.
*The defense had more success against the backups. Dexter Lawrence and RJ McIntosh won inside and Lorenzo Carter used his speed and impressive bend to turn the corner on Chad Wheeler. He was nearly untouched on his way to the quarterback.