"Play it out."
Those were the words uttered by the automated voice of the Giants' in-practice public address system, kicking off an hour-long scrimmage Friday morning at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
The defense, wearing blue jerseys, was sent to the sideline closest to the fieldhouse. The offense, in white, took the opposite side. Coach Joe Judge situated himself directly behind the quarterback. Game on.
Must-see photos of the Giants in action with training camp now in full swing in East Rutherford, N.J.
Here were the standout players from the team's first intrasquad scrimmage:
CB Darnay Holmes
The rookie made the play of the day (and camp so far), going full-extension for an interception on a deep ball down the left side. Parallel to the ground, Holmes corralled the pass and maintained possession as he hit the grass. Who says defensive backs can't catch? It was another step in the right direction for the fourth-round pick out of UCLA who already had a few picks under his belt this summer.
"He's a real competitive guy that comes to work every day with a full head of steam," Judge said. "He's very attentive. I'm not surprised to see him improve day by day. I was pleased with the way he played today. I'm sure there are things that he has to clean up. I have a couple of things off of the top of my mind right now, as I do with every player on the team. But I was pleased with the way he came out and competed today."
LB TJ Brunson
While Holmes had the play of the day, Brunson, another rookie, delivered the biggest hit on a receiver coming across the middle. The seventh-round pick out of South Carolina later made a tackle in space on a tight end to prevent a big play up the sideline. Those are the fundamental plays that win games.
WR David Sills V
The blue No. 84 jersey has flashed at times throughout camp, and today was another one of them. After catching a walk-off touchdown from Colt McCoy to end Thursday's practice, Sills was part of an offensive resurgence in the second half of Friday's scrimmage to counter a defense that dominated the early portion. His biggest play today was a touchdown from Daniel Jones, who has built some confidence in him.
"I think he is a guy out there you can trust, a guy in the right spot a lot of the time and can get open and make plays," Jones said. "He's a good player and he's had a good camp so far."
From top to bottom, the running back depth was on full display. Although not surprising, Saquon Barkley showed incredible lateral quickness on one play where he bounced outside to his left and ran in for a short touchdown. Javon Leake, an undrafted rookie out of Maryland, had one of his most productive days yet, displaying the burst that allowed him to average 7.22 yards per carry in 2019, the third-best average among FBS running backs. Leake was also last year's Rodgers-Dwight Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. Meanwhile, Wayne Gallman also looked crisp and explosive. … Penalty laps must work. Shortly after being forced to run one, DB Dravon Askew-Henry broke up two passes. … Defensive linemen can often get lost in the shuffle during practices to the naked eye, but Dexter Lawrence was hard to miss. He was part of a few batted passes at the line of scrimmage and even put a good lick on Barkley on a bang-bang play in the open field after a reception. … TE Eric Tomlinson caught the final touchdown of the day off the arm of McCoy, who also found WR Alex Bachman and WR Austin Mack for scores. … TE Kaden Smith caught a touchdown from Jones.
"Starting with Leake, he's a guy who's really coming on right now," Judge said. "He's feeling more comfortable within the system and scheme. He's doing a good job of taking coaching points from [running backs coach] Burton [Burns] to the field. He's a guy that's very in-tune at meetings, paying attention. You can see that with him. He's improved on a daily basis.
"Look, today's the day where he had an opportunity to go out there and just play. That's always how you want to see it. He went out there and just played some ball, made some plays for us. There are some things he needs to correct and clean up, and that's our focus as coaches, making sure we come back, make corrections and push forward. In terms of Bachman, again, very much like [Sills], he's a guy that comes to work every day and works hard. He's productive in drills, he's productive in team periods. It's no surprise to see him making plays. We just need to keep all of those guys in the same rotation and give them chances to see ultimately who can compete and help us win."