EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For the first time since becoming teammates, Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay were together on the practice field in full pads.
Afterward, each was non-committal about their availability for the Giants' season opener in 10 days against the Denver Broncos.
"I know Week 1 and the season is right around the corner, but I'm just taking it one day at a time," Barkley said. "That's the approach I'm going to take, not just rehabbing but from now on. I feel like that's the best thought process to have throughout the season, not just for me as a player physically, but mentally, too. So, I'm just going to take it one day at a time and that's my approach. I'm just happy to be back out there playing the sport I love."
"I feel like each day I'm getting better," Golladay said. "So, right now I'm just taking it day-by-day, trying to stack good days on top of each other."
Does that mean he's unsure about playing against Denver?
"Like I said, I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said. "This is literally like the first day and a half I'm back out there, so it's still fresh. I've still got to get my legs up under me and everything."
Golladay enjoyed sharing the field with Barkley.
"Saquon's just a whole bunch of energy, man," Golladay said. "It's pretty much everything I saw before I even got here, and he comes out here and he puts that on the field."
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the Giants' first-round draft choice this year, has also missed much practice, prompting someone to ask coordinator Jason Garrett how much feel he has for what the offense will look like.
"I think you have a feel going in. Now, you just want to see it on the practice field, you want to see it next week, so today's an important practice for us," Garrett said. "The bonus practice on Monday is important. Again, we have a notion about what these guys are, we have a vision for what they are and how they fit in, but we need some time on task."
After missing the first two weeks of training camp while rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee, Barkley was activated on Aug. 9 and has since steadily increased his workload. Today, he had his first taste of contact.
"We did a normal practice safely, and just talked to the guys and gave me some good shots," Barkley said. "But it's (about) route-running and running routes just to get me back in the flow of things, so I guess you could say yes (he took his first hit). But today felt good at practice and practicing with everyone on the team. Think that was definitely needed. Just grateful to be out there and just getting ready for the season."
Golladay left practice on Aug. 3 with a hamstring injury. Sitting out for a month was not on his "to do" list this summer, particularly after missing 11 games with hamstring and hip flexor injuries in 2020, the last of his four seasons with the Detroit Lions.
"It was really tough," Golladay said. "I mean, I'm kind of jealous. All the guys out there having fun, really and I, for sure, wish I was out there the whole training camp."
The Giants will gladly trade his camp to have Golladay for a full 17-game season, but he's not prepared to predict that will happen.
"Hamstrings are tricky," Golladay said. "I mean, that's pretty much what it is. They're tricky. You've got to be smart and be patient with them."
The same can be said for his developing rapport with quarterback Daniel Jones after missing almost a month of practice.
"It's definitely a little bump in the road, but we still have some days left." Golladay said. "I've got to get just a lot of catches in."
Has Garrett seen enough of Golladay to know what he has in his new receiver and what he can do with him?
"We saw a lot of him in Detroit," Garrett said. "That's one of the reasons we liked him and wanted to bring him here, so that's where it starts. But then certainly you want your guys to practice every play every single day. That's how they get better, that's how they get comfortable with each other. But that's not realistic, so whatever the situation is we have to make it work. Obviously, we'd love to have Kenny out there every practice, he and Daniel working on their timing, but that hasn't been the case, so we deal with what the situation is.
"He's stayed completely engaged. He understands what we're doing. We'll get a chance to have him practice more and more here the next week or so and we'll find out more, but I think we have a real good feel for what his strengths are and the positions we want to put him in. It's just time on task more than anything right now."
The same can be said of Barkley.
"I'm just not even trying to think about do I look like my old self," he said. "I'm a very confident player. I know whenever I'm able to get back out there – maybe it might be one quarter, maybe it might be one play – whatever the opportunity is, when I'm back out there, I know I'm going to be able to go out there and be who I am and play how I am. Right now, I'm not focusing on if I'm making cuts, saying, 'Is that how it was before?' I'm focusing on getting in football shape, just living in the moment, enjoying the moment and playing football again."
The Giants are eager to see Golladay and Barkley enjoy playing in a game.
*Guard Ben Bredeson was obtained in a trade with Baltimore.
"(It's been) pretty nuts, but it's a great opportunity to come up here to New York," said Bredeson, a second-year pro. "Super excited. I got here two nights ago and been loving it ever since."
The Giants' players are off the next three days, but Bredeson will spend much of his time learning the offense.
"It's like a college study session all over again," he said. "It's going to be the college crams all over. Yeah, my nose will be in the playbook the whole time and I might be able to go explore a little bit, but we'll see."
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.