Evan Neal, as he usually does, walked out to Monday's practice wearing a sweatshirt under his pads. The training staff told the 6-foot-7, 340-pound offensive tackle, who grew up in South Central Florida and played college football in Alabama, to take it off.
That's how hot and muggy it was.
The temperature wasn't the only thing that ramped up at practice; the intensity also grew throughout the morning. The Giants have reached what is always an interesting point in training camp. The 53-man roster must be decided by 4 p.m. ET next Tuesday, and then it's all systems go to the Sunday night opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 10. Meanwhile, the Giants will "host" Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets this Saturday night in the preseason finale.
So, do the Giants approach this week with an eye on the bubble players or intent on getting starters ready for the season?
"It's probably going to be a combination of stuff," coach Brian Daboll said before practice. "We will go through this week, we will see what we need, and we will figure it out toward the end of the week."
Here are the highlights from practice:
Catch up on all the action from Monday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
🔹 Wide receiver Sterling Shepard caught a touchdown from Tyrod Taylor during a full-team period in the red zone.
On Friday, Shepard caught his first pass in a live game since tearing his ACL last September. The season before that, he tore his Achilles.
"You have such empathy for the players in this game because there's always nicks and bruises, but then there's injuries and some of them are bad," Daboll said after the preseason victory over Carolina. "Some of them have long recovering injuries and you don't really get to see behind the scenes of the work ethic that they put in, the grind, how hard it is to come back from one of those and then another one and you're out there by yourself, you meet with the trainers and you're kind of away from the team and then you come back and you start slowly integrating."
🔹 Undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito hit wide receiver Jaydon Mickens for a score during a 7-on-7 period in the red zone.
🔹 Rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins III continues to impress people, whether or not he was a sixth-round draft selection. Speaking of picks, the Old Dominion product grabbed an interception today and nearly had another if he had gotten his head around on a play that had its timing disrupted.
🔹 Disruption was the theme of that day for the defense. Outside linebackers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, in particular, kept finding their way into the backfield.
"We had a lot of plays during that last session that we just wanted to keep pushing through when it got hard for us and just wanted to keep going," Ojulari said after practice. "Just find a new energy, a new gear in you. Keep pushing, even though we're all tired, just got to keep pushing through. You never know, we might have a long drive in a game. We're just preparing ourselves for those moments that come."
🔹 Sacks aren't just the result of what happens up front. The back end also flashed throughout the day, forcing the quarterbacks to hold onto the ball.
🔹 Rookie cornerback Deonte Banks, the team's first-round selection, had tight coverage to force an incompletion during 11-on-11 in the red zone.
🔹 Wide receiver Collin Johnson (knee) returned to action and immediately made his 6-foot-6 presence felt. Johnson made a nice leaping catch shortly before drawing a long passing interference penalty on a deep shot.
🔹 Wide receiver David Sills V hauled in a perfect over-the-shoulder pass from DeVito deep down the sideline.
🔹 Jordon Riley, a rookie defensive lineman taken in the seventh round, continued on his upward trajectory and stuffed a run play. Coaches and teammates have taken notice.
"He's coming in head down, working every day, focused, locked in," Ojulari said. "You've got big Dex (Dexter Lawrence II), Leo(nard Williams) in there grinding, helping him out, Nacho (Rakeem Nuñez-Roches), A'Shawn (Robinson), they're all working on him. He's pushing them every day and he's just improving every day, going hard and getting better. … If you're out there playing hard every day, you're going to gain some type of respect from your teammates, coaches, and everyone, putting it all on the line at practice. When you get an opportunity on Sunday, Saturday, whenever we play, it's just great to show what you've got.
View the best photos of all the action at the Giants' 2023 training camp.