Five training camp practices are now in the books, with no shortage of headlines produced along the way. What have we learned so far from observing the Giants drills at Quest Diagnostics Center? Check out these seven key items:
David Wilson can take a hit
One of the biggest story lines this off season was the health and recovery of Giants former 1st round pick, David Wilson. The injury he sustained to his neck was a major concern for the entire organizational hierarchy, from the brass to the fans . There was a question as to whether or not he would be ready for training camp, but he’s been out there since day 1 upon gaining medical clearance. On Friday, the neck got its first test with a hit from safety Cooper Taylor. Then on Sunday, the first full pads practice, he got laid out by standout rookie linebacker Devon Kennard. Wilson is A-OK. This is good news for David, the team and the fans, but be cautious, it’s still training camp.
The Tight End Battle
I for one fully expected Adrien Robinson, the “JPP of tight ends” (this will never go away), to come in and take the number one TE spot from the start of camp. However, according to the Giants first installment of the “depth chart”, Robinson sits 5th behind Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, rookie Xavier Grimble, and Kellen Davis. Larry Donnell has been the only player singled out due to his play on the field, while Kellen Davis and Daniel Fells seem to be in for goal line responsibilities. It’s still early, but it sounds like A-Rob has some work ahead of him.
The Running Backs
As I mentioned above, David Wilson seems like he’s ready for the regular season; now its up to the coaches to plug him in at the right time in the right packages. According to the depth chart: RB: 1. Rashad Jennings, 2. David Wilson, 3. Peyton Hillis, 4. Andre Williams. However, do not expect this to be the order of things come September. The rookie running back out of Boston College, Andre Williams, has been getting the bulk of the goal line carries (Jennings saw some during first full pads practice). The knock on Williams is his lack of ability catching the ball out of the backfield, a factor that certainly can’t be underestimated in Ben McAdoo’s offense. Look for Jennings to remain the No. 1 with continued uncertainty behind him.
Uneasiness On The Offensive Line
Unfortunately for the Giants, the health of William Beatty is not the only concern for the team’s offensive line this season. With the retirement of Chris Snee, there is a major void to fill at the right guard position. During practice it has been Brandon Mosley receiving starting reps, with free agent acquisition John Jerry backing him up. The battle does not end there, as 2nd string center Weston Richburg has been seen getting reps at guard as well. With all the problems in pass protection and run blocking a year ago, getting the line set and healthy must be the top priority for this Giants team during camp.
The New McAdoo Offense
From everything that I’ve been reading, this offense is pretty no nonsense stuff. The days of bombing it down the field seem to be over with a lot of short, quick routes coming right off the line. The pace is going to be much quicker as well. Rashad Jennings was quoted as saying, “We have the capability to run our whole offense through the no-huddle.” If the Giants do decide to go no huddle, or at least go at a much quicker pace, the fans would welcome the change with open arms. Eli Manning has thrived when overthinking is not part of the equation.
No Beason, No Problem?
Not quite. The Giants struck gold with their trade for Jon Beason last year, but unfortunately, he has once again gotten bit by the injury bug. At the moment, new free agent acquisition Jameel McClain is manning the middle with rookie Devon Kennard at the SAM, and Jacquian Williams rounding out the corps at weakside. When Beason comes back, expect McClain to shift to the SAM with Kennard being the first off the bench. Kennard was spotted at a hybrid DE/LB position during practice, a position he’s comfortable with from his days at USC. I have read nothing but good things about this rookie, he’s extremely versatile and continues to lay the wood every practice. Keep an eye out for any changes leading up to the game in Canton.
Beckham Off To A Painful Start
It didn’t take long for 1st round pick Odell Beckham Jr. to get noticed by Coughlin and the media. Unfortunately, the attention he’s received has been the result of injury rather than his play on the field. The wide receiver had a hamstring problem during mini-camp and tweaked it again on Tuesday racing Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie down the field. Beckham Jr. is player that relies heavily on his speed/quickness, and he needs his legs to be 100% operational. Albeit frustrated, Tom Coughlin is well aware that healing time is required. Beckham has not gone through one live drill since that route on Tuesday. Do not expect him to play on Sunday night against the Bills.
Keep an eye on the above newsworthy items heading into the Hall of Fame Game on August 3rd… and beyond. It has been an interesting off season for the Giants thus far, and I don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon. Competition battles will be hot and heavy throughout the preseason.