The Giants returned to the practice field Wednesday to begin preparation for Sunday's preseason finale against the Jets.
The two teams will also take part in a joint practice Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Head coach Brian Daboll met with the media before practice, where he shared that wide receiver Sterling Shepard would return to practice today. Shepard and Leonard Williams then chatted with reporters after the session.
Here is what we learned:
1. Sterling Shepard activated off PUP
Daboll announced Shepard would be returning to practice today. The 29-year-old receiver was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on July 26. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last season in Week 15. Shepard participated in team drills and caught a 20+ yard pass from Tyrod Taylor, but the head coach was not ready to declare the veteran good to go for Sunday's game.
"I think we'll just ramp it up," Daboll said. "Take it day-by-day. See where he's at after today with some of the stuff we ask him to do. But he's rehabbed well. He's done a good job. So, it will be good to get him back out here. He's a good player for us."
Shepard registered 36 receptions for 366 yards and one touchdown in seven games (six starts) last season. Entering his seventh season with the franchise, Shepard, the longest-tenured player on the team, ranks eighth in franchise history with 349 receptions. The head coach shared his excitement about the receiver's return and what he can bring to the offense.
"He's been a good player," Daboll explained. "I think he can do a wide variety of things. Good route runner. Got quickness. Intelligence. Can read zone. Read man. Understands the coverages. Has a lot of experience. Played multiple roles. So, I'm excited to get out here and work with him… I think he really can play any spot we need him to play watching him on tape. He's been productive inside. He can run stuff outside. He has an ability to create separation, which helps the quarterback. So, again, he's a veteran that's played some football, has a good rapport with Daniel. So it'll be good to just throw him in the mix. Told him he's going to have to learn a lot of spots."
2. Several OL also return
Shepard was not the only player to return to practice, as the Giants welcomed a few offensive linemen back. Jon Feliciano, listed as the starting center on the most recent unofficial depth chart, participated in team drills. Also on the field during 11-on-11s was Jamil Douglas, listed as the second-string center on the latest depth chart. With about two-and-a-half weeks remaining before the season opener in Nashville, the offensive line appears to be trending in the right direction.
"Felice will be doing something out here. Jamil will be doing something out here," Daboll said before practice. "We're getting more healthy. I think the trainers have done a good job with our guys. I'd say there's more people coming out hopefully by the end of the week, we'll have even a little bit more."
3. Shep looking to build on connection with DJ
Shepard, along with Darius Slayton and David Sills V, are the only wide receivers on the roster who have been with the team since 2019, Daniel Jones' rookie campaign. Over the last three seasons, Shepard has caught over 120 passes and gained over 1,200 yards with Jones under center. But after not catching a single pass from the quarterback since tearing an Achilles against the Cowboys in December, Shepard knows he and Jones must work on rebuilding their connection.
"It's been a while since Daniel and I have actually gotten to throw," Shepard told reporters after his first practice back. "Since I've been on PUP, I haven't been able to catch any passes from him. So, we have a rapport, but we have to freshen things up and build that connection back again. So, he's been throwing to different guys and getting a feel for those guys. And it shouldn't take us long. But I'll get back out there with him after practice and throw a couple balls around. And we should get back on track pretty easy.
Shepard is excited for what he and the offense is capable of this season, especially with all of the talented receivers they have in the room.
"Dabs gives us a lot of freedom to get open and I think that suits a lot of the guys that we have well," said the veteran. "Wan'Dale (Robinson) does a great job. He's a quick twitch guy. (Kadarius Toney) KT, me. That type of player can really thrive in this offense. But we have to do our part in it and really lock in and work hard at it."
View the best photos from Wednesday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
4. Preparing for practice with Jets
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams was a first-round draft choice by the New York Jets. Williams spent 4 1/2 seasons there before he was traded to the Giants in the middle of the 2019 campaign. Despite originally playing for the other team that calls MetLife Stadium "home," the defensive lineman isn't approaching tomorrow's practice with his former team any differently.
"I look at it the same as every joint practice," said Williams. "I know (Jets DL) Quinnen (Williams) pretty well, so I'm excited to see him as a friend. Other than that, it's been so many years since I've been there that I don't really see it the same way anymore. It's just another team for me."
While the veteran lineman might not have any feelings towards facing his former team at this point in his career, the same cannot be said for some of his Giants teammates.
"It's always been like a little rivalry with them," Shepard said. "And we always have a pretty good game in the preseason. Those guys are fired up. It's like who's going to be the little brother kind of. You know what I mean? So, we're getting prepared for them. And we're looking forward to the game."
5. Roster moves; Giants claim 3 off waivers
The Giants made a couple of roster moves on Wednesday as they claimed three players off waivers – defensive back Harrison Hand, who was previously with Minnesota, and wide receivers Bailey Gaither and Jaylon Moore, both of whom come from Baltimore.
Hand has played 23 games with one start over the last two seasons and recorded one interception, three pass breakups and 22 tackles (19 solo). Gaither spent time during training camp with the Green Bay Packers last year and Baltimore Ravens this summer, but has not appeared in an NFL game. He played for the USFL's Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL this year. Moore spent the last two seasons on the Ravens' practice squad.
To make room on the roster, wide receiver Collin Johnson, who suffered a torn Achilles during Wednesday's practice, and wide receiver Marcus Kemp were played on injured reserve. Additionally, tight end Jordan Akins was released.
These moves came one day after the team got down to the 80-player limit. Rookie inside linebacker Darrian Beavers and tight ends Andre Miller and Ricky Seals-Jones were placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons, while C Nick Gates and T Matt Peart were put on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Gates and Peart will have to miss at least the first four games of the season.
All teams will have to reduce their rosters to the regular season limit of 53 players by next Tuesday.
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.