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Sideline View: Takeaways from first scrimmage


Friday's practice wasn't quite a scrimmage since there wasn't a clock on it at all times, but it did mimic a highly competitive setting at game speed with tackling. Coach Joe Judge said in his media availability after practice that it matched the type of competition when two teams have a joint practice. He also said it was a good chance to look at some of the younger players on the team in a competitive situation as though it was the first preseason game.

*Jason Garrett and Patrick Graham treated this practice as though it was a game. Both called their plays to their players over a walkie-talkie from the sideline. The first part of practice was a build-up to full speed and tackling at what is called "team tempo". There was no tackling but there was what they call "thud" contact, but no wrapping up. This part of the session focused on first- and second-down execution.

*Later in practice, the team elevated to game tempo as they practiced their second- and third-down execution, no-huddle offense, red zone offense and "move the ball"-style sessions where the offense was tasked with driving the ball down the field to try to score against the defense.

*Both the offense and defense had their moments during practice, with the defense playing particularly well early and the offense coming on late. The Giants' defensive backs were all over the receivers on offense, playing tight man-to-man coverage. Judge mentioned after practice that the defense had a good feel for some of the things the offense was running since many of the plays used were installed in practice throughout the week. On one play, a defensive player could be heard yelling "watch the screen" right before the snap when the offense tried to execute a screen pass.

*There were multiple pass break-ups from the defensive backs, including a pair from Darvon Askew-Henry and others from Jabrill Peppers. Grant Haley, Julian Love and James Bradberry. Darnay Holmes grabbed an interception after blanketing Golden Tate down the field on a double move. Homes mirrored Tate, got his head around, and elevated to grab the interception; but tackle Andrew Thomas stayed with the return and poked away the ball.

*Peppers and Dexter Lawrence were two of the most active defensive players during practice. In addition to his pass break-up, Peppers filled the hole quickly on what would have been a tackle for loss against a running back. He was vocal throughout practice and it looks as though he is embracing a leadership role on defense. Lawrence made an excellent solo tackle on Saquon Barkley shortly after the two shared words after the prior play. He also knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage and got out into space to lay a hit on Golden Tate after he caught a quick pass.

*During the no-huddle portion of the "move the ball" part of practice, the first group on offense methodically moved the ball down the field, with the only big play being a long run by Wayne Gallman, who showed great patience before bursting through the hole and down the sideline for a big gain. The defense got stops on the first two goal-to-go plays, with Julian Love knocking a pass out of a receiver's hands to force an incompletion, and Lorenzo Carter meeting the running back in the hole for a tackle for loss. (Carter also applied pressure to the quarterback earlier in practice.) But on third down, Daniel Jones threw a little slant over the middle to Kaden Smith for the touchdown.

*The second group on offense also steadily moved down the field, with a couple of explosive plays from rookie Javon Leake, who is very fast and elusive with the ball in his hands. Colt McCoy capped the drive with a touchdown throw to Garrett Dickerson, though it looked like TJ Brunson might have sacked McCoy before he threw the pass if it were a true game situation. Even though the drills take place at game speed, quarterbacks still can't be hit.

*In red zone drills to end practice, Daniel Jones found receiver David Sills for a touchdown. Colt McCoy hit big tight end Eric Tomlinson for another touchdown. In another red zone series, James Bradberry dislodged a ball that would have been a TD pass. Darius Slayton and Austin Mack also caught red zone touchdowns.

*Rookie linebackers Tae Crowder and TJ Brunson showed their physicality, applying two of the larger hits during practice. Crowder's came on a running play while Brunson delivered his blow to a receiver catching a pass over the middle.

*Graham Gano was sharp in practice. From our vantage point, it looked as though he made all of his field goals, including at least one from what looked like nearly 50 yards.

View photos from the team's first intrasquad scrimmage on Friday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

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