If you’ve wondered why the Giants have started camp working on the red zone, head coach Joe Judge has your answer.
“It’s important to start them and ramp them up from that low red area, where it’s reduced space, to the red area before they’re ready to open up,” Judge said. “So we go low red area to high red area to fringe to early downs. We kind of expand the space to build them up over time.
“Now, there’s another emphasis we’ve made with the team as well in terms of that’s the most important area of the field. It’s about finishing down there offensively and defensively. The kicking game is a big part of the field position that sets up the opportunities offensively or defensively with field position at hand, so we place that emphasis for our team so they understand why we’re working the emphasis. However, it’s truly a physical reason more than mental.
The Offensive Line
One curious development since the Lemieux injury was the decision to plug guard/tackle Kenny Wiggins at left guard. Judge, who has a deep appreciation for versatile players, lauded Wiggins for that trait and others.
“Kenny is a good vet, he’s solid, he’s very smart, he’s got position flexibility, he’s played all five spots on the line,” Judge said. “He’s played in different systems with different coaches. He’s a guy that just has a really good, cool demeanor about him, he adjusts very easily, there’s no panic. He’s a guy that’s got good size and strength to anchor, and he plays ahead and faster because of his experience on the line.”
Saquon Barkley Update
New week, same answer by head coach Joe Judge regarding running back Saquon Barkley’s status.
“He’s making a lot of strides for us, and I don’t want to go ahead and make any predictions or anything on Saquon, but I will say that this guy’s showing progress, tangible progress every day with our medical staff, with our strength staff,” Judge said.
“Right now, we’ve really mirrored his rehab to what our players are doing on the field practice-wise to make sure that he’s building up that same volume, that same intensity. We can kind of go apples to apples with what he’s done on a daily basis compared to the players that are in practice to give us a better picture in terms of where he is physically.”
Judge clarified that what Barkley has been doing is not necessarily a simulated practice since no one is lining up across from him; instead, the simulation comes in terms of volume, specific drills, and running routes, which also mirrors what the others are doing on the field.
While Judge admits Barkley is making progress, there is still no estimated return date for the running back.
“Look, with this injury right here, we’re going to make sure we do the right thing by Saquon and what’s better for the team and we’ve got to take a long-term vision of this right here,” Judge said.
“The doctors know a lot more about the knee, about where he is medically. I know where his spirit is. I know where his work ethic is. I know he wants to be out there with the team. As I’ve said to him time and time again, ‘When you’re ready, we’ll let you go.’”
That Barkley continues to do a little bit more work every day suggests that his knee is becoming more stable and that he isn’t suffering any wind issues, all of which is a positive sign for a return (hopefully) soon.
Injury/Reserve List Update
Rookie receiver Kadarius Toney, who has been ramping up his return to the field after a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list, was spotted participating in a special teams drill.
“He’s still building up, but we will start seeing a little bit more of him day by day as the trainers keep allowing us to have him more,” Judge said of Toney.
“Look, these guys do a really good job as far as knowing our players and looking out for their health. We trust what they say, we trust our medical team, but the focus is to get this guy involved as much as we can with football and keep building him up through training camp. It’ll be limited for the time being., We’ll get him day by day a little more.”
The Giants have been deliberate in bring Toney—and all their players who have missed time for one reason or another—back up to speed, including tight end Kyle Rudolph (PUP/foot), who has said before that he doesn’t intend to miss any football.
Regarding the players on the COVID-19 list, tight end Rysen John and safety Joshua Kalu are thought to be inching closer to a return. Blake Martinez returned to the team Friday but hasn’t been activated off the list yet as he continues his ramp up, but Judge said that Martinez has been right on top of things mentally, adding. “Physically, he hasn’t been with our team yet, so he’s got to ramp up and physically catch up to where the team is right now and that’s just how all these guys come off this COVID list.”
Interior offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring/PUP) was activated by the Giants Monday and will work his way back into the mix. However, with the signing of Joe Looney over the weekend, it’s fair to wonder how much Harrison missed in the spring and the start of the summer have hurt his chances of being one of the backup interior offensive linemen.
New York Giants - Atlanta Falcons Final Week 3 Injury Report Revealed
Several Giants are trending in the right direction for Sunday's game.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley Remains Patient in Comeback
Barkley's production through two games has been pedestrian, but the fourth-year pro believes the best is still yet to come as he continues to get back into a groove following his year away due to an ACL injury.
New York Giants Offense vs. Atlanta Falcons Defense: Who Has the Competitive Edge?
Olivier Dumont takes a deep dive into the numbers, personnel and matchups between the New York Giants offense (running and passing) and the Atlanta Falcons defense to see which team has the competitive edge.
Outside linebacker Ryan Anderson (back/NFI) has done some limited work with trainers on the side. Fellow outside linebacker Oshane Ximines (hamstring/PUP) has also done some work on the side with trainers, but like Anderson, there is no word about when either might be removed from PUP.
Starting training camp on PUP was probably the worst scenario for Ximines, who landed on injured reserve last year. With the Giants having added Azeez Ojulari in the second round of this year’s draft, it’s certainly fair to wonder how much of a future Ximines has on this team.
Inside linebacker Reggie Ragland (hamstring/NFI) is also trying to work himself back into a flow. However, with the Giants having added Todd Davis over the weekend, it’s certainly fair to wonder if the Giants might be thinking of going in another direction for depth at inside linebacker.
Rookie cornerback Aaron Robinson, who was limited in the spring with what is now known to be a core muscle injury, underwent a procedure a few months ago from which he’s still recovering. Robinson’s work on the side has been limited.
New injuries that have popped up include OG Shane Lemieux (knee), who was carted off last Thursday. The NFL Network reported that Lemieux would miss about two weeks, but Judge gave a more optimistic timeline.
“I think if you asked Shane, like I said the other day, he’s going to always tells us what we want to hear. He’s with the medical team now and they’re continuing to do more and more with him each day,” Judge said Monday.
“We’ll see where he is. Hopefully, we’ll get him as soon as possible, but I would say it’s more day by day than week by week.
Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter has had his workload scaled back these last few days. Still, Judge told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t due to the season-ending Achilles injury Carter suffered last year. Instead, it’s more of a rep management issue with Carter to make sure he doesn’t do too much too early in the process.
Judge also hinted that “something else” happened with Carter in practice, saying of the fourth-year outside linebacker, “Right now, he’s in one of those periods accompanied with something else that happened in practice.”
New running back Mike Weber left Friday’s practice with what is believed to be a hamstring injury. With Alfred Morris returning to the fold—and that move was said to have been in the works before Weber’s injury—the Giants are trying to make sure they’ll have enough running backs for the upcoming preseason games and the two joint practices they have scheduled at Cleveland and New England.
Tight end Levine Toilolo and receivers Austin Mack and Derrick Dillon have missed a couple of practices. Mack has a hamstring strain; it’s unknown what Toilolo and Dillon are dealing with.
According to Judge, rookie fourth-round defensive end/outside linebacker Elerson Smith is dealing with multiple issues, who also added that Smith is day-to-day.
“He’s made a lot of progress the last few days. He had a small setback early in training camp. We don’t think it’s something that’s going to long-term limit him, but I don’t want to put a timetable on him in terms of when he’ll be back,” Judge said.
“We feel confident in the direction he’s moving, the trainers feel good about where he’s at right now and he’s working hard with the strength staff.”
Penalty Laps Continue
Quarterback Daniel Jones received his second penalty lap of training camp—he had one on Friday, as well—and offensive lineman Joe Looney got his welcome to the Giants moment when he also had to take a lap for a botched snap.
But the oddest site was when the entire defense and their coaches were sent on a penalty lap around the field, the official explanation from the Giants being that there had been a substitution error made.
Joe Judge continues not to tolerate mental mistakes being made that can potentially cost the team yardage—or points if they pop up in games. Last year when he implemented penalty laps, he was mocked by some national analysts, but his method apparently worked as the Giants finished with 81 penalties, sixth fewest in the NFL.
As previously noted, the Giants will be in full pads starting Tuesday and again on Wednesday. The Wednesday practice will be held later in the day to give the players some extra recovery time after putting the pads on for the first time since the end of last season.
(Special thanks to Ric Serritella of NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated for the above video clip featuring NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger's take on the New York Giants offensive line and quarterback Daniel Jones.)
More from Giants Country
- Reflections After the First Week of New York Giants Training Camp
- Andrew Thomas Eyes Continued Growth in Second Season
- Just Call New York Giants Defensive Back Julian Love "Mr. Versatility"
- Giants D-Lineman Danny Shelton Grateful for Another Opportunity with Joe Judge
- Kenny Golladay Not Worried About Slow Start to Giants Training Camp
- Giants Receiver John Ross Breaks Silence About the Past, Shares Thoughts on the Future
- A Way Too-Early New York Giants 2022 Mock Draft