The first practice of training camp is always fun, and there was good competition as the players worked in shorts, helmets and shells. Here is what I saw from the sideline:
*It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 80s and not much humidity. The practice was open to the public and the fans brought energy. Likewise, the players had good energy and the same type of positive competition between the offense and defense that was apparent in the spring.
*In a one-on-one session between the receivers and defensive backs at the beginning of practice the offense got the best of the competition. Aside from DeAndre Baker and Janoris Jenkins, the DBs had trouble keeping up with the wide receivers. There were five defensive penalties during the period. Golden Tate made an impressive catch over cornerback Grant Haley down the field, and Daniel Jones got into the action, too. He threw a perfect deep ball to wide receiver Reggie White Jr. near the sideline, and was accurate on completions to Cody Latimer and Sterling Shepard. In the subsequent team periods, Jones threw some incomplete passes, but he dropped a dime to Bennie Fowler on a deep post that would have been a touchdown if it wasn’t dropped.
*Cornerback Antonio Hamilton made an aggressive defensive play as he tracked down Rod Smith on an outside run, stripped the ball from him, and then picked it up and ran it back for what would have been a touchdown. Hamilton also dropped a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage that should have been an interception. Hamilton is an excellent gunner, so if he can figure out a way to contribute on defense, he has a great chance to be on the final roster.
*Cornerback Corey Ballentine showed why he earned his way to becoming a sixth round pick in this year’s draft despite playing at a Division II school. He committed a couple of penalties early on, but rebounded in the final team period, perfectly mirroring a route by Brittan Golden and knocking a pass way. Ballentine has all the size and speed to play cornerback in the NFL.
*Alonzo Russell flashed tantalizing potential. He had the second-best catch of the day, going up and getting a high throw from Kyle Lauletta for a clean catch. After the play, Saquon Barkley yelled to his teammates, “Let that fuel us!” Russell also caught a difficult contested deep ball down the right sideline but was flagged for offensive pass interference on a subtle push-off. At 6-3 and 206 pounds, he has the build, but like the other young players, he needs to make sure he does all the little things right.
*Lorenzo Carter had some day at linebacker with some quarterback pressures, a tackle for loss and an interception. See our “Practice Standouts” for more details.
*Sterling Shepard left practice early to get X-Rays on his left thumb; he has a fracture that will be evaluated on a weekly basis. Jabrill Peppers cramped up towards the end of practice.
Check out photos from the Giants first practice of training camp