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Cover 4

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Cover 4: Storylines emerging from first week of training camp


The crew discusses the biggest storylines coming out of the first week of training camp:

John Schmeelk: Who is going to be the team's starting slot cornerback? Darnay Holmes is the incumbent and has gotten the majority of first team reps early in camp, but Cor'Dale Flott has gotten opportunities to show what he can do, too. If there is a weakness on any defense, opposing offenses will find it in the their film study and attack it relentlessly. Some of the best wide receivers in the league are regularly moved inside since it creates more space for them, which also makes it harder for defenses to double team in those areas of the field. You can still have a player over the top but it becomes a bit harder to use bracket coverage with a two-way go.

It is imperative that competition ends with a player that is capable of covering the best wide receivers in the NFL. The third cornerback is basically a starting position in the modern NFL and they will have to face players like Ceedee Lamb, Devonta Smith, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson on a regular basis throughout the season. Veteran Bobby McCain is another option there, but he has been used mostly as a safety rather than a slot corner. There's a month worth of practices and preseason games to see the cream rise to the top.

Dan Salomone: In the final 24 hours before training camp, star running back Saquon Barkley signed his franchise tag and left tackle Andrew Thomas inked a five-year extension. It capped a busy offseason for general manager Joe Schoen and his staff, one that also included the extensions of quarterback Daniel Jones and Pro Bowl defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence. So, while much has been made about the players brought in, the Giants retained a core that will look to take the team to the next level in 2023.

"We had a plan in the offseason," Schoen said minutes before the first training camp practice last Wednesday. "It's a long offseason, kind of culminating today with getting Andrew done, which was really important for us. Again, we've just got to take it day by day. Every year it's different. Each team is different. We've got to develop our chemistry, continuity. All of that stuff is what training camp is for. That's what this summer is going to be in training camp. Again, every team is different. So, that's what we'll work to do over the next 30-some days before our first game."

That core has also gone through tough times and were rewarded last season with the franchise's first postseason victory since Super Bowl XLVI.

"It's amazing because like everybody says, it's a tough place to play," said wide receiver Darius Slayton, who re-signed with the Giants this off-season. "When it's not going well it's like everybody sucks (laughs), so it's good to be on the other side of that thing. Obviously, we were able to win some games last year and guys were able to perform at a high level and they're starting to get rewards for the fruits of their labor. For me, it's like you see all the hours of off-time, the time they put in in the film room, in the weight room (and) they're out here by themselves, so seeing that pay off for guys is awesome."

Catch up on all the action from training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Lance Medow: Although Andrew Thomas received a lucrative contract extension for his play at left tackle and Evan Neal looks to make a jump in Year 2 on the right side, based on the first few days of training camp, jobs on the interior of the offensive line are very much up for grabs (especially center and left guard). When Brian Daboll was asked about a few different individuals seeing snaps at center with the first team, he indicated they'll continue to rotate players to further evaluate that spot. Ben Bredeson was the first man up followed by rookie John Michael Schmitz and those two will continue to battle it out in their push to land the starting role. Bredeson's value is enhanced by his experience at left guard as he shared that position with Josh Ezeudu in the first half of last season before suffering a knee injury in Week 7 - then saw more action there with Nick Gates upon returning in Week 15.

Bredeson is an option at both positions, but there are several other players in the mix. Ezeudu and Jack Anderson saw action at guard in 2022 and then there's Shane Lemieux, who only appeared in one game last season due to injuries. The former fifth-round pick has also expressed a desire to showcase his versatility at center this off-season and if he doesn't win a starting job, that could be a huge factor in helping him solidify a roster spot. Lemieux only played guard in four seasons at Oregon, where he also took practice reps at center. It's not a stretch to say there's at least six players competing for two spots.

Matt Citak: Through the first week of training camp, all eyes have seemingly been on Darren Waller, and rightfully so. The 6-foot-6 tight end has made some eye-opening plays thus far, and it's easy to see how he could add a new dynamic to the passing game. However, there is another pass-catcher in the offense that has stood out in the first few practices, and yet is flying a bit under the radar – Parris Campbell.

Campbell brings tremendous speed to the offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Combine, which led to the Colts selecting him in the second round (No. 59 overall) of the draft. Although injuries limited him to just 15 games over his first three seasons, Campbell played all 17 contests last year and set career-highs in receptions (63), receiving yards (623) and touchdowns (three). He also reached 22.11 miles per hour on a rush last season, which was the fastest recorded speed by any ball carrier during the 2022 NFL schedule, according to Next Gen Stats. Now a member of the Giants' WR room, the 26-year-old could reach his true potential this season with the help of coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Campbell has caught multiple touchdown passes from Daniel Jones over the first few practices. During Monday's practice, he caught a deep touchdown and also made an impressive, twisting deep reception, both on passes from Jones. Campbell's lined up all over the place, including the backfield, to showcase him as an all-around weapon during the first week. The competition at wide receiver is going to be one of the most closely-watched battles this summer and Campbell has made a strong impression thus far.



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