Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes participates in team drills during training camp...

Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes participates in team drills during training camp in East Rutherford, N.J., on Tuesday. Credit: Noah K. Murray

Darnay Holmes has earned something more than a starting job or a key role in the secondary so far this training camp.

He’s earned a spicy nickname from his new defensive coordinator.

“I call him Dirty Thirty,” Wink Martindale said of Holmes, the slot cornerback who wears that number. “I just love his toughness. I’m not saying he plays dirty, I’m just talking about how he embraces the grind of practicing every day, doing things right and asking the right questions. He’s got some qualities that we haven’t had before at that position.”

Now, after being a standout performer for the past two weeks and tormenting the Giants’ offense with breakups and interceptions, Holmes will get a chance to show he can carry his exploits over to real competition. Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Patriots will give him the opportunity to further cement his place in Martindale’s plans.

To do that, Holmes said he intends to “stay the course” and keep his head clear.

“Allowing things you’ve been doing to be seen on the field, allowing it to be translated, and not being so caught up in the mental thing, the mental side of the game,” he said. “Just be free flowing and understand that if you put the work in, you’re prepared for anything you face once you hit that field.”

That mental state is, Holmes said, the biggest change to his game.

“I’m a guy who is very open-minded so I’m constantly evolving,” he said. “I’m more in tune with things. I’m in tune with understanding that you’re never going to be able to eliminate doubt. You’re never going to be able to eliminate fear. You’re never going to be able to eliminate the inevitability of losing reps. Having the understanding that when I hit that field, it might not go my way and be able to respond. I feel like I’m more grounded and more free-flowing.”

And certainly more productive.

As for the nickname, Holmes seems to appreciate it.

“I feel like I’m a relentless player, so I feel like it’s very fitting,” he said. “I think it is something that was earned,” he said. “I think it is something that was earned.”

Now it has to be kept.

Notes & quotes: Coach Brian Daboll said he intends to play his healthy starters a series or two — depending on how long the first drives last — before turning things over to the second and third units. That means Saquon Barkley will likely see his first preseason action since his rookie year. “I’ll do whatever Coach asks me to do,” Barkley said. “That’s just how you be a leader and be a team player within practices, within preseason games, within joint practices. Just work on your craft. Get better every single day, get the conditioning down, get your body mentally and physically ready for a 17-game season” . . . The Giants did not have to wait long for a reunion with Joe Judge. Their former coach is a offensive assistant for the Patriots working with quarterbacks. “He was always a great person to me, a great coach,” LB Blake Martinez said. “I’ve always respected him. This is a business and things happen. You have to keep performing just like I need to keep performing or I’m going to be gone too. But I’ll definitely say ‘What’s up?’ to him and talk to him.”

More Giants


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months