New York Giants head coach Joe Judge’s description of the team’s eight OTA schedule reminds one of a preparatory session ahead of a major exam.
“The first part is to see where our players are physically. Until I know these guys can go out and operate at 100 percent and stay healthy and protect themselves on the field, soft tissues, and we want to avoid collisions at this part of the camp,” Judge said before last week’s OTA that was open to the media.
“Until we know that we are not really going to go ahead and keep this as a competitive drill. You will see team on team, 11-on-11 activities out there but we will control the tempo in practice.
"But there are other times in individual and group work where we will ramp that up and make sure the guys work on skill development, timing, offense, defense, and place a large emphasis on communication this time of year.”
It's an intelligent approach to take as jobs are seldom won in the spring during football drills conducted without live contact and pads.
Judge’s approach has undoubtedly given him clarity on any adjustments he may want to make for when training camp opens on July 27 in terms of the all-important teaching aspect that usually precedes the on-field work.
“You have to take the mental steps forward in terms of the understanding of the scheme and you have to develop chemistry with the communication on offense and defense,” Judge said.
“This is a great time of year to have it. You're not preparing for an opponent, and you can take it day-by-day and challenge the players in different ways and see the interaction grow with young and old guys.”
Friday’s OTA will be open to the media for observation, the second and final OTA this spring to be open ahead of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp set for June 8-10. What can we expect?
During last week’s OTA open to the media, about 60 players were estimated to have shown up for the workout.
Among those reportedly missing were receivers Kenny Golladay, John Ross, and Kadarius Toney; defensive backs Logan Ryan, James Bradberry, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, Adoree’ Jackson, Sam Beal, Xavier McKinney, and Darnay Holmes; defensive linemen Leonard Williams, B.J. Hill, and Dexter Lawrence; linebackers Cam Brown, Reggie Ragland and Ryan Anderson; and kicker Graham Gano.
This week, don’t be surprised if more of those players show up as the team gears up for next week’s mandatory camp.
More Offense vs. Defense
With limited roster availability—again, most of the defensive backs weren’t on hand last week for the voluntary workouts, and some of the receivers were missing—it wouldn’t be surprising if there were some limitations as to what the coaching staff was able to run.
Between the players now having several practices under their belts and the anticipated increase in player attendance, the coaches could potentially come away with an even better idea of where everyone is after weeks of virtual classroom learning.
Kadarius Toney’s Indoctrination into the Offense
When the media last saw receiver Kadarius Toney, the Giants’ first-round draft pick, the big story centered around some ill-fitting footwear that caused him to miss some of the rookie minicamp drills to avoid blistering on his foot.
Toney has since been absent from the voluntary OTAs, presumably while his contract got wrapped up.
With that having been taken care of, he’ll make his debut with the veterans, where it will be interesting to see what the coaching staff might be thinking about how they plan to deploy him on the offense.
The OTAs remain voluntary, so it’s not yet known if the defensive backs are expected to show up.
Still, if they do, one of the things worth watching is how defensive coordinator Patrick Graham plans to deploy the sudden embarrassment of riches he has among the corners and safeties.
More Offensive Line Growth
While most of the defensive backs chose to hold an off-site workout, many of the Giants offensive linemen were at the last OTA open to the media, which was a positive development.
Chemistry and communication are vital among offensive linemen. That the group has collectively been working together under the watchful eye of new offensive line coach Rob Sale is an encouraging off-season development.
We won’t necessarily know how much of a leap this unit has taken until the pads go on. Still, their getting with Sale after going through two offensive line coaches last year is a significant step in their development as a unit.
Daniel Jones's Growth
If Daniel Jones is to avoid becoming the league’s biggest coach killer, he’ll need to continue building that on-field chemistry with his cache of passing targets.
Having Toney and Kenny Golladay, both reportedly scheduled to be there Friday, will be significant. So too, would having John Ross available so that Jones can start working on some of the deeper passing concepts that it’s believed offensive coordinator Jason Garrett plans to run more of this coming season.
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