EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants concluded their first practice of training camp on Wednesday morning at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. There is plenty from Day 1 to discuss, so let’s get to some of the takeaways.
Not your same old Giants’ offense
Pre-snap motion. Unusual alignments. Quick, often horizontal, throws to moving targets. Yeah, this is not the Giant offense we got used to over the past couple of seasons.
There were three plays during first-team 11-on-11 work that stood out to me.
- The first play of the day featured running back Saquon Barkley in the slot and second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson lined up in the backfield. Robinson, of course, played two years of running back at Nebraska. I honestly don’t remember the result of the play. The alignment is what I thought was important.
- Another play featured Barkley in the backfield, with both Kadarius Toney and Robinson aligned to the left side. At the snap, both Toney and Robinson came across the formation underneath the offensive line. The play led to Toney leaking out of the backfield for a short touchdown as the Giants worked in the red zone.
- A third play featured Barkley motioning out of the backfield, turning upfield at the snap and catching a short touchdown pass over the middle from Daniel Jones.
We wrote a lot in the spring about the Giants using motion and quick throws in their offense. That was even more noticeable on Wednesday.
Injuries have been an issue for the Giants for many years now. Any loyal follower knows that. Wednesday was, perhaps, a tiny step in a positive direction.
First of all, rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger was removed from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and worked with the first unit throughout team periods.
Second of all, aside from the PUP and Non-Football Injury (NFI) players (Azeez Ojulari, Sterling Shepard, Matt Peart, Nick Gates) and quarterbacks, there were no players sitting out or wearing red jerseys.
Finally, the Giants got through the 90-minute practice without any noticeable injuries. No one left practice. No one limped, or was carted, off. Everyone who started practice seemed to finish it without incident, which made Wednesday a good day on the health front.
“Well, first of all, I would say our training staff, our medical staff, our sports science, our strength staff do a really go job in the spring of mapping out what we kind of needed to do to try to get to this point,” said head coach Brian Daboll. “And we knew the three guys who are on PUP right now were going to be at pretty much on PUP, and really everybody else who was in those red jerseys, there was a plan in place – I’d say a very detailed plan, and those guys did a great job. Everybody should be ready to go.
“Credit to those people in the organization for their plan and getting those guys ready to go, which is where we wanted to be today.”
- Linebacker Blake Martinez, coming back from a torn ACL, said he has “no doubt” he will be ready to start the season and added that he “felt good” in his first practice.
- Left tackle Andrew Thomas was a full participant after being limited in the spring following ankle surgery. He said he is “feeling pretty good” and doesn’t have any limitations.
Offensive play of the day
Kadarius Toney did this on Wednesday:
That’s a brilliant, twisting catch by Toney with cornerback Aaron Robinson in tight coverage.
Wednesday was a good day for Toney. He caught a few balls, he celebrated with Wan’Dale Robinson after the rookie caught a touchdown pass. He made it through the entire practice without incident.
Truth is, after one day Toney has already had a better and more productive training camp than he did in the entirety of the 2021 camp.
Defensive play of the day
This was a great play by Darnay Holmes. It was also a terrible one by Daniel Jones, throwing late to Barkley in the middle of the field at the goal line.
Quote of the day
Many Giants players were wearing the ‘Guardian Caps,’ soft shell helmets that fit over the regular helmet and are thought to reduce concussions. Blake Martinez was among them. The veteran linebacker admitted the caps are not a good look.
Martinez, though, will put up with the look for the added safety.
“Anything that can kinda protect your brain, especially for me, I want to prolong this thing, I’m down,” he said.
Left tackle Andrew Thomas, who was limited in the spring after his second ankle surgery in as many seasons, was a full participant. He said he is “feeling pretty good.” He said the Giants “had a plan for me … just followed that.”
QB — Jones; RB — Barkley; WR — Kenny Golladay; WR — Kadarius Toney; WR — Wan’Dale Robinson; TE — Bellinger; LT — Andrew Thomas; LG — Shane Lemieux; C — Jon Feliciano; RG — Mark Glowinski; RT — Evan Neal.
DL Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence; Edge — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jihad Ward; ILB — Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder: CB — Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes (slot); S — Xavier McKinney, Julian Love.
Fans are back!
Fans were in attendance for training camp on Wednesday for the first time since 2019. Barkley signing autographs post-practice was definitely a highlight.
“I tell guys all the time – I came from Green Bay to here and you’re just used to that type of environment in both places,” said Blake Martinez. “To be able to have that again was special.”
Nick Gates update
The injured offensive lineman, rehabbing from his gruesome leg injury, chatted amiably with several media members post practice. Daboll and GM Joe Schoen both indicated Gates is doing far better in his rehab than they could have imagined.
“This guy has been rehabbing unbelievably, he has made a lot of strides. Where he is at and when he is ready, I couldn’t answer that right now,” Daboll said. “I just think that his mindset and what he has done up to this point has really been remarkable.”
“I would just say when I got here, I was just worried about his quality of life,” Schoen said. “The fact that he is where he is and may be able to play in the preseason is amazing and a credit to the kid. He has been working his butt off.”
Daboll pumped the brakes on the idea of Gates playing that soon, but added that Gates’ return “could be before you think, it could be before any of us think.”
Offensive tackle swap
The Giants waived OT Kamaal Seymour, who was just signed on Tuesday, and signed OT Garrett McGhin. McGhin, 6-6, 320 pounds, has been with the Buffalo Bills twice, the Carolina Panthers (two games played in 2019) and the Jacksonville Jaguars since 2019. He played for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL this spring.
Remaining public training camp schedule
The Giants will be back on the field Thursday morning. Here are the remaining public practices:
Thursday, July 28: 10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Friday, July 29: 10 a.m.- Noon
Saturday, July 30: 10 a.m. – Noon
Monday, Aug. 1: 10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 2: 10 a.m. – Noon
Wednesday, Aug. 3: 10 a.m. – Noon
Friday, Aug. 5: 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Giants Fan Fest & Scrimmage (MetLife Stadium)
Sunday, Aug. 7: 10 a.m. – Noon
Monday, Aug. 8: 10 a.m. – Noon
Tuesday, Aug. 9: 10 a.m. – Noon
Sunday, Aug. 14: 10 a.m. – Noon (End of public training camp practices)