ESPN selects Will Hernandez as Giants' bounce-back candidate
ESPN recently selected a bounce-back candidate for each team this season, and guard Will Hernandez earned the selection for the Giants.
As ESPN's Jordan Raanan writes, "Hernandez, a second-round pick in 2018, said he dropped close to 20 pounds this offseason and changed his offseason workout routine, putting in some work with renowned offensive line trainer Duke Manyweather. It seemed to pay dividends in the first preseason game of the summer."
Hernandez shifted over to right guard this offseason, and in his first game action at his new position against the Jets last weekend, the lineman performed well. He played 18 snaps at right guard and earned a pass-blocking grade of 81.2, the highest among the team's offensive linemen.
"Will had a tough season last year, but he is really having a terrific camp," general manager Dave Gettleman said earlier this week, adding that the team believes in the fourth-year guard. "Sometimes there are things that happen to you that you just can't control and that was one of them for me," Hernandez said at the start of camp last month about contracting COVID. "I didn't like it at all, but I had to deal with it and all that time that I missed because of it has just taught me how much more important the time that I have now is. So now I try not to waste any reps, waste any time. I try to do everything even better than I did before because I value that time a lot more because I had to sit out."
Giants look forward to joint practices with Browns
As a collegiate and professional quarterback, Daniel Jones has played in numerous offensive systems, thrown and rushed for thousands of yards, celebrated thrilling victories and endured debilitating defeats. Tomorrow, he will have a new football experience.
"I've never been to a joint practice before," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Jones and the rest of the Giants will be in Berea, Ohio for two days of workouts with the Cleveland Browns. After they take Saturday off, the teams will square off Sunday in a preseason game in FirstEnergy Stadium. The Giants will arrive home that night and on Tuesday they will hit the road again, to New England for two days of practice with the Patriots. The teams will meet in the preseason finale in MetLife Stadium on Aug. 29.
The meetup with the Browns will be the Giants' first in a practice setting since they worked with the Lions in Detroit in 2018.
Coach Joe Judge participated in numerous joint practices in his eight years as an assistant coach in New England. He has long known Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski and is close to the Patriots' Bill Belichick.
"To me the trust factor's huge, which is part of the reason early on me and Kevin talked way back in the offseason about the possibility of doing this," Judge said. "Part of it is because of our relationship and our experience together. That helps because then you can work together. When you go into these practices, you want to be with someone that you have a relationship with, because then you can work together and make sure, 'Hey, what do you need to see? What do we need to see? Let's work together to make sure we all accomplish that.'
"We talked continuously throughout these last few weeks making sure practice is mapped out for both me and him. We'll wait and see how our teams come out of practice (yesterday) and touch base before we finalize any plans going forward. Whether it's Kevin or Bill or other places I've been with or other guys we've worked with, it's very important in these practices to have a relationship. The players have to understand going in, it's going to be competitive. That's the nature of football, right? It's another team that's going to be competitive. Just like out here, we don't want to get out there and make it something that's not football. We want to get out there and work against each other and keep it between the lines and keep it between the whistles and make sure we play hard, we protect ourselves in every play, but we're also working with the other team, as well."
View rare photos of the storied history between the Giants and Browns ahead of their preseason matchup.
Travel Memories: Giants' history with Cleveland
The Giants continue their preseason schedule with a trip to Cleveland this week. Following a couple of joint practices on Thursday and Friday, Big Blue will take on the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m. Let's take a look back at some of the Giants' previous trips to Cleveland.
The Giants last traveled to Cleveland in 2016 for a Week 12 matchup against the Browns. Cleveland was winless at the time of this contest, while the Giants were on their way to a playoff berth. Eli Manning threw for 194 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, while the defense sacked Browns QB Josh McCown a whopping seven times, including three from Jason Pierre-Paul and two from Olivier Vernon. The Giants cruised to a 27-13 victory, moving them to 8-3 on the season.
The Giants traveled to Cleveland during the 2000 campaign, one which ended in a Super Bowl appearance for Big Blue. In this Week 10 matchup, Kerry Collins threw for 257 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, including six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns to Amani Toomer. Ike Hilliard caught the other touchdown and finished with three receptions for 58 yards and the score. The defense limited the Browns run game to 41 yards on 16 carries, while Michael Strahan registered two sacks and Emmanuel McDaniel picked off Doug Pederson for the Giants' only turnover of the game. Big Blue won this one, 24-3.
View photos of the team traveling to Cleveland for joint practices with the Browns before their preseason game.