The New York Giants held their eighth of 10 OTA practices on Tuesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. This is their third and final week of OTAs before mandatory minicamp, which begins next Tuesday. Here are the standouts from OTA No. 8:
OLB OLIVIER VERNON: It is tough for the front seven to make this list during non-contact OTAs, so when there is a chance, you have to put one of them in there. During a red-zone blitz period, Vernon was part of a bang-bang play that resulted in an interception for the veteran entering his seventh NFL season, third with the Giants. Cornerback William Gay, another established vet, broke up the pass and redirected it to Vernon, who caught it and took it up the sideline. After missing a game for the first time in his career last season, Vernon is looking to bounce back as he now finds himself in the linebackers room in coordinator James Bettcher's new 3-4 scheme.
With just a handful of practices left in spring football, coach Pat Shurmur was asked yesterday if it is becoming clearer how the personnel is fitting into the new schemes despite the non-contact rules.
"Yes and really the physical nature of practice – a lot of times, even though this is non-contact there is blocking and guys fitting up blocks, so you try to minimize any kind of contact that you have," Shurmur said. "But really once the season gets going there are many, many practices where we don't have pads on and so you practice the same way and so you just have to be really fast, you have to talk about body position, you have to talk about moving their feet and we can still see all of that."
On Tuesday, they saw No. 54.
S MICHAEL THOMAS: Shortly before Vernon's interception, Thomas made another play in close quarters during a period inside the five-yard line. Eli Manning looked to find running back Saquon Barkley at the goal line, but the ball skimmed off the rookie's hands and into the chest of Thomas, who signed with the Giants this offseason after spending his first five seasons in Miami as one of the best special teams players in the league.
"Everybody can make plays, literally," fellow safety Landon Collins said yesterday of the new defense that is becoming not so new with every practice gone by this spring. "It's not to where it's keyed on one person making the play. It's overall, anybody can make the play. And we all can play fast. It's not very complex and we have everything set in stone. You just play fast."
Collins added that players have more flexibility to make a play if it is there. "You see something," Collins said, "go get it."
WR ROGER LEWIS: For the second day in a row, Lewis made a circus catch to add to his highlight reel. The wide receiver showed great concentration on a Davis Webb pass to the sideline, coming back to the ball, eyeing it the entire way through, and securing it after tipping it to himself a few times. Yesterday, Lewis and Webb hooked up a few times for big plays, including a one-hand grab.
Remaining OTAs: June 6-7. Mandatory Minicamp is June 12-14.
Photos from the Giants 8th OTA practice