EAST RUTHERFOD, N.J. - The fans were present in the lower bowl waiting for a look at the new-look Giants offense and defense, and throughout the hour-plus Blue-White scrimmage, they got a glimpse, albeit a vanilla one of the aggressive new defense and the progressive new offense.
"I thought it was a competitive practice," said head coach Brian Daboll. "I think the guys were a little bit more upbeat, but again, with the natural with the fans out here and the music going, but certainly there's a, there's a lot to improve on."
One of the things Daboll mentioned the team needs to improve on is conditioning. The coaches put the team to the test with a couple of long drives, and at one point, it looked like a couple of guys might have gotten gassed early.
"I think we're moving in the right direction, but we're a ways away," Daboll said. "I think we have to improve our condition level--that's why we did those two long drives, and I think everyone can get a feel for where they're at individually. But collectively, that'll be a point of emphasis this week."
Here are a few more thoughts from the Giants Blue-White scrimmage.
1 | Kayvon Thibodeaux Impresses
Rookie first-round rKayvon Thibodeaux has been terrorizing some of his teammates in practice since the start of camp, and tonight was no different. Thibodeaux literally lived in the offensive backfield, rushing off the edge against the Giants' left side of the line (tackle Andrew Thomas and guard Shane Lemieux).
At one point, the Giants had to double team Thibodeaux, who was that much of a pest to handle and drew at least one holding penalty.
"I hope he draws more of 'em," Daboll quipped before adding, "He's tough to block. He's done a really good job. These last few practices, getting his feet underneath him. He's got a variety of pass rush moves. Again, he's a rookie. We'll see when the reps become live."
Interestingly, the rookie isn't quite the polished pass rusher just yet--he uses power more so than technique. Imagine what he'll look like once he puts everything together.
"He's a humble guy that knows he doesn't have all the answers," said Daboll after the scrimmage. "I think he relies a lot on the veterans, and (outside linebackers coach) Drew (Wilkins) is doing a good job with him. He's been a good teammate."
2 | The Logic Behind the Live Tackling Period
Earlier in camp, Daboll said there would be an opportunity somewhere along the line for players to engage in live tackling to the ground, a practice that is otherwise avoided during training camp.
That time was tonight, and it was reserved for the third-stringers toward the end of practice.
"Yeah, it was really with the threes with some of the younger players," Daboll said. "They'll probably play a lot in the preseason, and we didn't want that to be the first time they fly in contact on Thursday night (against the Patriots). So most of the younger guys that were in there did a series with that, and everything else was kind of up-tempo."
3 | The Quarterback Decision Making Was Good
Daboll has stressed on more than one occasion that he's not interested in the quarterbacks' stats after each practice as he is in the decision-making process.
Overall, he was generally pleased with that facet of the game from all three quarterbacks.
"It was pretty good," Daboll said. "I'm sure there's a few plays they'd like to have back, but overall they did a good job with what we were calling and trying to execute."
Daniel Jones, who faced a lot of pressure from the defense, didn't have any turnovers and had one nice play in which his receivers were covered, and he tucked the ball away and ran it in for a score. Jones has looked good in practice the last couple of days and has continued to build on his decision-making process.
He also threw a couple of pretty balls, including one that Kenny Golladay hauled in over his shoulder and the completion to Wan'Dale Robinson on a third-and-long (the play was technically a sack as Julian Love got to the quarterback, but since there was no live tackling, Jones re-set his feet and got the ball out).
That said, Jones has had some struggles with his accuracy in hitting passes to the outside. He nearly got picked off on the first series by Adoree' Jackson and there were a few other throws he made that might have been of the questionable variety.
Perhaps the most telling thing about Jones's night was aboll's response to a question I asked about the quarterbacks and their decision making process in which Daboll subtly pivoted away from the question.
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Here is his complete answer:
It was pretty good. I'm sure there are a few plays that they’d like to have back but overall, they did a good job with what we were calling and trying to execute. Certainly, you have not just those guys, but I'd say as a team, a long way to go. That's why you do these things. It was good to get the fans out there. It was a great support. There was a little bit different energy. You get a little bit more tired than you do in practice just because you're a little bit more hyped. I thought it was exactly what we needed in terms of the tempo of practice, the amount of plays that we had. I just think we've got to keep on improving our conditioning.
4 | The Offensive Line Has Some Work to Do
As previously mentioned, the Giants defense was a load to handle with its basic blitzes. Other than that, how did the first-team offensive line do?
"I think the first unit is coming together," said Daboll. "Again, you'll get the truest test of an evaluation from the offensive line with live reps where you can bring a quarterback down or a running back down. But I think the guys are communicating well. They're working together. They still have a long way to go, just like every position, but I think they're moving in the right direction."
Speaking of the offensive line, the Giants had Jamil Douglas take some snaps at center with the first team, relieving Jon Feliciano, who started the scrimmage at center. By the end of the practice, Will Holden, whom the team signed earlier in the day, was taking reps with the third-string offense.
The unit suffered yet another injury when rookie Marcus McKethan went down toward the end of the practice with a right leg injury and had to be carted off. Daboll didn't have an update on McKenthan's status. However, after losing veteran Matt Gono to a potentially career-ending neck injury and Feliciano still sharing reps, the Giants can ill-afford to have many more injuries on that unit.
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5 | Other Observations
The Giants didn't do much pre-snap motion, again perhaps waiting to spring the element of surprise on their opponents rather than put that out there for people to film and pass along via social media.
Graham Gano hit his lone field goal attempt, a 30-yarder.
Undrafted rookie free agent running back Jashaun Corbin, who took part in the live tackling part of practice, ran hard and was physical. I'm not sure if there is an official depth chart just yet, but based on rep distribution, Corbin, who also got a chance to return a punt, has been ahead of Gary Brightwell in the pecking order where the third running back spot is up for grabs.
Leonard Williams rag-dolled Shane Lemieux on a play in which he shot into the backfield for a quarterback pressure against Daniel Jones.
Running back Sandro Paltzgummer got an opportunity to return a kickoff and looked slightly hesitant in traffic. Still, he came up with a decent return to about the 40-yard line.
Receiver Darius Slayton ran with the third-string offense. Alex Bachman, Richie James (who had a touchdown), and Collin Johnson all received reps ahead of Slayton.
David Sills V and Robert Foster, two receivers who had been having a good camp, were sidelined with injuries, Sills with a leg injury and Foster possibly with a concussion that happened earlier this week in practice when he collided with a defender and came up woozy.
Speaking of receivers, Darius Slayton has been running with the third-string offense.
Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones missed his sixth practice with an undisclosed ailment. His absence has opened the door for Chris Myarick, Andre Miller, and Austin Allen, all of whom have made plays either as blockers or receivers since he went absent.
Julian Love had a nice practice, coming close to a sack on a couple of blitzes. On one, the Giants got the ball out to Saquon Barkley on a well-designed screen that went for about 20 yards. Love also had a pass breakup on a ball intended for Wan'Dale Robinson.
Defensive back Nate Meadors, claimed off waivers earlier this week, and cornerback Rodarius Williams were also among those players that did not practice.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor connected with receiver Austin Proehl for what should have been a touchdown, except he couldn't hold on to it. Defensive back Michael Jacquet punched it out of Proehl's grasp, and Jarrod Wilson scooped it up.
Safety Yusuf Corker came up with an interception on a pass intended for Keelan Doss. Darren Evans initially knocked the pass into the air, and Corker alertly grabbed it before taking off along the sideline.
The Giants are off on Saturday and will be back on the practice field Sunday.
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