As Joe Judge put it, you are sadly mistaken if you think the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming into MetLife Stadium in less than a month to hug the New York Giants.
The head coach's philosophy is to train his players in a physical manner to make it safe for them to play the game the way the game is played. That much was evident during Tuesday's early evening practice at training camp.
"Listen, we can't get the guys ready to drive on I-95," Judge said after practice, "by riding back roads."
Here are standout players from the today:
G WILL HERNANDEZ
The highlight of practice was the 1-on-1 drill between the offensive and defensive linemen. Each side notched their share of wins, but guard Will Hernandez stood out from the pack today. Hernandez, who last year became the first Giants' offensive lineman to start each of the first 32 games of his career since David Diehl in 2003-04, more than held his own in the drills, even beating his man with one arm at one point.
"Will is a great, great leader in the room," said offensive line coach Marc Colombo, who played in more than 100 games in the NFL. "He's a great player and I love having him in the room. I think just learning from experiences that I've had and have been able to teach these guys, they're really absorbing a lot right now and they're taking it all in. I believe we're pushing in the right direction, and Will is a big part of that."
S XAVIER MCKINNEY
The rookie second-round draft choice from Alabama notched the sole interception of team drills, jumping a route with his momentum going the other for a would-be Pick 6. He's following up fellow rookie Darnay Holmes in a promising start for the young defensive backs.
"Just like all young players, there is going to be a growth curve with him (McKinney) where he's adjusting to our communication system, our way of doing things, which is a little bit different than his at Alabama," defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said. "But the thing you know about the kid, he loves football. He has a lot of natural ability that you guys all saw when you studied and watched him coming out. We're excited to have him in the mix, again, learning those multiple spots, honing in on one spot. You hope that he just continues to grow. We're going to really push him hard to make sure that he continues to grow and become one of those communicators for us on the backend. The safety position is the one that kind of sits back and sees it all and talks down to what's beneath them. We're certainly going to ask that of him."
TE EVAN ENGRAM
Everyone knows what Engram can do as a receiver – which he showed again tonight – but what jumped out about him in this practice was his physicality. He was doing some dirty work, highlighted by a pancake block at one point to get the edge.
"I think Evan is in the mindset that he should be in, and that's just getting better today," tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens said. "We're trying to stay in the moment here with every position, with every player, with every coach, and keep our head down and just work to get better each and every day. Evan has done a good job up to this point in doing that.
"He did a hell of a job this summer in rehabbing and getting back to where he's at right now, and just kind of taking it day to day and getting better with his releases, his hand placement, with everything. Every aspect of Evan's game, we want to try to get better at each and every day. Evan's done an unbelievable job in staying focused and concentrating on, even more specific to every day, just every rep. He's done a good job and we're just going to stay in the moment."