Practice report 8/5: Hillis sprains ankle, 3.5 picks for the D, and Soup is on
A few quick notes from today’s practice, since it was closed to the public thanks to those crazy kids in One Direction, or as I like to call them, 1D.
First, Odell Beckham Jr. did not practice on the two week anniversary of his hamstring injury, but he celebrated the occasion by doing more running on the side than we’ve seen him do since he first left practice. He was doing 100-yarders and running with turns, which is good. My sense is that he’s close to returning.
Also running was Jon Beason. He was doing some late last week too and seems to be progressing. His timeframe is still a little bit away for a return, but he seems to be keeping the pace in his rehab.
Will Beatty (headaches), Robert Ayers Jr. (ankle) and Spencer Paysinger (concussion) returned to practice. On the side were Trindon Holliday (hamstring), Xavier Grimble (hamstring), Mike Patterson (shoulder) and Daniel Fells (knee).
RB Peyton Hillis left practice early with a sprained ankle. LG Geoff Schwartz seemed to hurt his leg, came out, went back in, fell, and came back out. RB Kendall Gaskins appeared to be having thumb trouble. He played through it. We’ll get updates on them tomorrow.
The offense continued its installation, so it was no surprise that the defense was the far better unit today. They picked off three passes and should have had a fourth. The three successful ones were by Cooper Taylor, Nat Berhe and Trumaine McBride. The missed opportunity was by Walter Thurmond III who tried to make a one-handed grab on a pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. He cut in front of Cruz and was in good position but didn’t get his second hand up and the ball slipped away from him. Push ups!
Speaking of interceptions, the coaches and players were getting on Prince Amukamara for not being more aggressive going after the ball in practice. That was a complaint by the coaches in the game on Sunday too. They want Prince to become an interception machine this year. To that end, he was working with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie after practice on going up and catching deep passes.
It wasn’t all secondary as far as the standouts either. Mathias Kiwanuka had his most active practice of camp, putting constant pressure on the quarterback from both end positions. At one point he pushed Justin Pugh backwards and beat him with an inside rush, then on the next snap he bull-rushed Will Beatty and drew what would have been a pretty obvious holding penalty. It was also a good after-practice for Kiwanuka as he stayed beyond the bands to work with Cooper Taylor on his punt protection blocking. Good veteran move. Of course, Kiwanuka probably doesn’t want to have to do it himself so teaching Taylor the ropes benefits both of them!
One guy who looked sharp for the offense was Larry Donnell. Yeah, he was the target on the Taylor interceptions, but he also made a nice leaping catch on a high pass against Berhe. And Marcus "Soup" Harris continued to impress, making a strong catch with Jayron Hosley on his back. Ryan Nassib looks more and more confident and comfortable with each passing day. If he can continue that for the next few weeks, the Giants may feel good about keeping only one quarterback. He threw a nice TD pass to Julian Talley in the end zone in practice, a timing pass that was in the air and halfway to the receiver before Talley even turned around to look for it.