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Giants rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes ready to be a major contributor

Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) jogs across the

Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) jogs across the practice field between drills during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ, on Sunday, Aug 23, 2020. Credit: Brad Penner

Darnay Holmes said his biggest adjustment to the NFL has been trying to slow things down.

“Having an understanding that certain shifts and certain things that the offense is doing are out of my control, so really just being even-keeled,” the rookie cornerback said on Sunday. “Having a mind that is just being still and at peace with everything that is going on around me.”

That’s a philosophy that helps not just on the field, where Holmes has been excelling in the early stages of training camp, but also when it comes to his place on the team. Because since the day he was drafted in the fourth round out of UCLA in April, the cornerbacks room for the Giants has undergone some transformative changes. Presumptive starter DeAndre Baker was arrested and is facing four felony charges in Florida and Sam Beal decided to opt out of the season over concerns about the coronavirus.

All of which means that Homes will likely play a larger-than-expected role in the Giants’ defense in 2020.

So far, he hasn’t seemed shaken by that prospect. If anything, he’s risen to the challenge. He made one of the defensive plays of the day last Friday in the scrimmage when he intercepted a deep pass intended for Golden Tate and has flashed plenty of other times.

“He’s a real competitive guy that comes to work every day with a full head of steam,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “He’s very attentive. I’m not surprised to see him improve day by day … Like every rookie, they have to get used to the pace and the adjustments within this level of football. But I don’t think Darnay is really backing off from any challenge.”

No, not Holmes.

“I have an unwavering faith and belief in myself and the scheme I’m being surrounded by,” Holmes said.

This season, he figures to be a big part of that scheme.

Notes & quotes. Asked about the performance of the quarterbacks in last Friday’s team scrimmage, quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski said: “It wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible. We just kept plugging away and sticking with it” … LB Ryan Connelly, who is returning from ACL surgery last year, was sidelined for Sunday’s practice. He did not participate in Friday’s scrimmage, either. Judge declined to give a specific reason.

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