Standouts: O-line sets tone for physical practice

These are the dog days of training camp. With their first road trip on the horizon, the New York Giants held another tough, physical practice in hot, humid conditions. They have two more practices this week before traveling to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday night.

Here are the players (and one position group) who stood out today:

Offensive Line: The first-team hog mollies set the tone during one-on-one battles between the offensive line and defensive pass rushers. In the drill, all five offensive linemen get in their stances with a single defender on the opposite side. Rotating up and down the line, the lone rusher takes on one offensive lineman, who breaks off to block him while the rest watch. Chris Pettit, the director of college scouting, was also watching from the field and seemed to like what he saw, often nodding after each rep.

The starting five offensive linemen carried it over to team periods and consistently opened holes for Saquon Barkley to burst through and get vertical. Yes, the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year makes offensive linemen look good, but the opposite can be true at the same time.

“Yesterday was a very physical, hot practice. We took advantage of the heat today,” Shurmur said. “We did some good situational work that was very physical in the heat. These two practices are very, very important. Just in the big picture, getting ultimately 53 guys ready to play day one. That won’t have as much of a bearing on what I do Thursday night, as it’s just an important thing to do this time of camp.”

RB Saquon Barkley: Some running backs are fast, some are elusive, some are physical, some can catch the ball, but what separates Barkley is his ability to be all of the above. For the second straight day, he put his foot in the ground a few times and exploded up the middle of the field. Then a few plays later, he makes a sensational catch that would lead you to think he was a receiver if not for the jersey number. 

But will he play Thursday night?

“I’ll let it reveal itself,” Shurmur said when asked by a reporter after practice. “You’re the third person this week that’s asked me that question, so it wouldn’t be fair to the first two.”

LB B.J. Goodson: With Alec Ogletree (calf) and Tae Davis (sickness) sidelined, Goodson made the most of his opportunity on Monday. He was in the right place at the right time when defensive lineman RJ McIntosh deflected a pass at the line up scrimmage, sending it up in the air and into the hands of Goodson.

FB Eli Penny: The converted halfback could be on this list every time because, according to Shurmur, he never has a bad day. When asked an innocuous question today about how Penny factors into the numbers game on the roster, Shurmur gushed about him.

“If you ask him, he’ll tell you that he’s a converted halfback. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. He’s fond of that,” Shurmur said. “He’s a fullback. But the one thing about him is that if we have a dire situation, he can go in there and run the football. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. I’m very fond of him because he’s one of the people in this building that, in my opinion, has never had a bad day. He’s smiling. He may have had a bad play or a bad meal, but he’s never had a bad day. He’s a little bit of an inspiration to me because he just keeps going. He loves the game and he keeps playing. He’s done some good stuff for us.”

Check out the best photos from Monday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

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