The New York Giants returned to the practice fields on Tuesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It was the second of 10 organized team activities (OTAs) that will be held over the next few weeks. The defense won the first day, but the offense got on the board in OTA No. 2.
Here are the standouts from Tuesday’s practice:
QB ELI MANNING: Going on 16 years in the Meadowlands, Manning knows how to navigate the wind. He showed it today. With winds gusting at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, Manning made some tough completions throughout the morning practice, particularly when targeting wide receiver Sterling Shepard (more on him later). Pat Shurmur, head coach and offensive architect, didn’t shy away from the long ball in the conditions. Manning and Shepard hooked up for two deep touchdowns to bookend the day. While they did lead the NFC East in scoring last season, the Giants are looking to take another step up in the second year of the offense.
“Guys get lined up and are playing fast,” Manning said. “They know what to do. They know plays, adjustments and different things. Just a few new spots here and there at receiver or offensive line. For the most part, a lot of the base guys are returning. They have that second year and will be able to play fast. It is just not thinking as much early on. It should help out on both sides of the ball.”
WR STERLING SHEPARD: The team’s longest-tenured wide receiver, Shepard signed a four-year contract extension in April that will keep him in a Giants uniform for another five years (he has one season remaining on this rookie deal). The former second-round pick said he has “a lot more to give” in his career and is no longer a young guy. “I’m a vet now,” he said at the time. “This contract says a lot, so I’m going to handle it the right way.” He certainly did in Tuesday’s practice. Shepard spread a handful of catches throughout the morning, highlighted by the aforementioned deep touchdowns from Manning. Shepard, who had the team’s longest reception last year, tracked the arcs of Manning’s passes perfectly and accelerated through the catches for scores.
“It was a new system for us early on last season,” Shepard said. “Sometimes in a game, you’re thinking about what you have to do instead of just going out and playing your game. Having a year under our belt is huge. Now we know what the coaches expect of us. I think with everybody getting their feet wet with the system, it’s going to be a lot smoother.”
LB ALEC OGLETREE: After arriving via trade last season, Ogletree quieted critics of his coverage skills by intercepting five passes in his first season with the Giants, the most among all NFL linebackers -- the closest players were two behind – while returning a pair for touchdowns. Through two practices this spring, he has already deflected one pass that led to a Janoris Jenkins pick and then intercepted one of his own on Tuesday. The veteran inside linebacker also had what would have been a sack during team drills.
Remaining OTAs: May 23, May 28-29, May 31, June 10-13. Mandatory Minicamp runs June 4-6.
View the top images from Tuesday's OTA practice as the Giants get back to work