View the best photos from Monday's practice
Coach Pat Shurmur embraced the heat on Monday, squeezing every bit of conditioning out of the summer practices. The Giants were in full pads for the final time this week leading up to Thursday's preseason finale against the New England Patriots.
"I think we tried to take advantage of the heat and the pads and did a little bit of extra conditioning – pursuit drill and then kind of a tempo no-huddle drill for the offense just to take advantage of this heat," Shurmur said. "When you don't have the padded practices and the heat goes away, we're done with it, so we took advantage of it today. I thought the guys responded and we got a lot done."
Here are the standouts from Monday's practice:
RB SAQUON BARKLEY: The second overall draft pick participated in team drills for the second day in a row. Barkley, who tweaked his hamstring during practice on Aug. 13, progressed to the point that he was cleared for individual drills last week. On Sunday he took another step and practiced with the full team. On Monday, he was again full-go. While he may not play on Thursday, Giants fans can exhale. Barkley made a number of catches on Monday, including a goal-line touchdown from Eli Manning.
"Yeah, he had a good day," Shurmur said. "He's been practicing. Practiced well yesterday and today. He looked good."
Shurmur then told reporters that they "can reveal to the world that he's out here practicing full."
OLB ROMEO OKWARA: On another injury front, outside linebacker Olivier Vernon, who was having a terrific camp, left Sunday's practice with a sprained ankle after getting his feet tangled up on a play. He was not at practice on Monday, opening the door for Okwara to get some reps with the first team. Okwara originally made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2016, appearing in 16 games with four starts in addition to one postseason start. He played in six games as a reserve last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
"He's done a good job," Shurmur said. "He's actually – he's caught our eye again. I tend to watch edge players, so Romeo and obviously what Lorenzo's (Carter) been doing. They can crank up the pass rush, and I think he did a good job today based on what I saw."
The rookie Carter also got a bump up in Vernon's absence. Carter has nine tackles this preseason (three in each game) and a half-sack that he recorded with Josh Mauro against the Jets.
"Yeah, it's just a chance to get out there and get better," Carter said. "Just to test yourself against the starters to see what it's like. It's still football at the end of the day. You still go out there reading your keys and striking blockers. Just have to go out there and make the most of it."
WR STERLING SHEPARD: The new father had a game-high seven catches for 78 yards against the Jets, including a 30-yarder as part of a big night for the deep passing game. Shepard has carried his production over to practices, and vice versa. Entering the all-important third season for a receiver, Shepard has looked sharp and willing to make the tough catch. He scattered a handful of them throughout today's practice, including a red-zone touchdown from Manning.
"Yeah, he had some production and, again, a gritty guy. We can play him in the slot, we can play him outside," Shurmur said. "He gets involved in the run blocking patterns. I really like what I've seen from him."