Following the second practice of mandatory minicamp, offensive coordinator Mike Shula, defensive coordinator James Bettcher and players met with the media. Here is what you need to know from the pressers:
1. Flowers is “having fun” at new position. Like new guard Patrick Omameh, offensive tackle Ereck Flowers is getting used to playing on the right side instead of the left. Flowers, the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft had started all 47 games (including one postseason contest) of his career at left tackle. He admitted that “of course” it was tough to get the call that he would be moving to the other side with the arrival of two-time Super Bowl champion Nate Solder, but he loves playing football, so he dealt with it.
“I am feeling great, I am having fun every day and I am just looking to continue this,” Flowers said. “It is an adjustment, but it’s going well. I’m just chopping wood every day and trying to get better.”
Flowers said the toughest adjustment is the kick set.
“You are pushing off of your left instead of your right now,” he said. “With any position change, it is just getting used to it, muscle memory and trying to get that muscle memory in it.”
2. Saquon responds to Harrison’s threat: “His name is Snacks for a reason.” For well over a year now, all you have heard is people gushing about running back Saquon Barkley. Damon Harrison took a different approach yesterday. Between a few compliments of the second overall draft pick, the 350-pound defective tackle said, “I’m excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass [laughs]. See what he’s made of. I told him, it’s not Penn State.”
Barkley wisely had this to say today: “My response to that is I am happy we are on the same team. He only gets to hit me maybe once or twice a year rather than a full game. Snacks is arguably one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. I definitely have a lot of respect for him and how he carries himself as a vet. You could just watch him on the field. I am going to say I am going to run away from that. I am happy he is on my team and my side. … I don’t know anyone in this league that could run over Snacks. His name is Snacks for a reason. Just happy he is on my team and fortunate that I get to play with him.”
Another interesting note from Barkley’s presser was that he has dropped only one catch since joining the Giants, which includes a rookie minicamp, 10 OTAs and this week’s mandatory minicamp.
“It was an angle route,” he recalled. “I looked up before I secured the catch, tried to go and score and didn’t lock it in. You have to lock it in and move onto the next play.”
3. Shula sees a “calmness” in rookie QB. For the second year in a row, the Giants drafted a quarterback in the middle rounds. Kyle Lauletta is currently third in the rotation behind Eli Manning and Davis Webb, who was in Lauletta’s position as a rookie last year.
“It’s early, we haven’t done anything in pads, we haven’t played any games,” Shula said, “but [Lauletta] has a nice calmness about himself that if things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast so far and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch and things like that, so I think he’s off to a good start.”
On Webb, Shula said: “He has taken big strides and I think he’s flashed for sure during some practices. I really like his arm strength, he can be really accurate. Again, he will probably be the first to tell you that he can work on his consistency. If everything is not right, finding the outlet and fixing it sometimes. It might not be a great call against that defense, knowing how to fix it, maybe a receiver falls down or whatever or there is a protection and knowing where to go when those things happen. But all those guys are and he is another good example of guys that are really eager to learn the offense as well as they can and he comes to work with the mindset that he wants to prove to himself and everybody in this building that he can play.”
4. Excitement continues to build for rookie B.J. Hill. General manager Dave Gettleman never hid his intentions to build the Giants from the inside out. He retooled both the offensive and defensive fronts through free agency and the draft, which included taking Hill out of North Carolina State in the third round. Yesterday, Harrison said that with time and experience Hill could become a “dominant” player in the league. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher agreed.
“I think B.J.’s really coming along,” Bettcher said. “I’m really excited with where he’s at right now. Again, another guy excited to get his pads on, excited to see how we play in the run game when we get to training camp and have some padded practices. We know it’s going to start with the run game and if we’re going to be good in the run game, it’s going to start with those interior guys up front.”
5. Where will the pass rush come from? After trading Jason Pierre-Paul and parting ways with players like Devon Kennard in free agency, the Giants return only 44.4 percent of their sack production from a year ago. Of that, Olivier Vernon accounted for more than half. So who will make up the deficit in Bettcher’s blitz-happy defense?
“I think some of that will just come as we get into it,” Bettcher said. “Finding what some of the strengths of the guys that we have on the field and trying to put those guys in the best possible position. OV, we know is a dynamic guy, a guy that can rush from different angles, a guy that you can move around and put in different matchups. And he’s embraced everything that we’ve done to this point. I’ve loved working with him and I think he’s making some great progress, not just in this scheme, but I think as I’ve looked at him as a player, he’s sharpening his tools right now. Some of the other guys that I think can give us some impact would be guys that have a chance to win one-on-one matchups, or our guys that we can bring from different angles. And at times, if we have to, change who the fourth rusher is. At times maybe bring five or six. Whatever we would need to do.”