On Tuesday, the Giants held an impromptu dance party in their locker room after practice. Video of the event went viral, in large part because of the footage of Eli Manning grooving in a very uncool way among his more animated teammates.
On Wednesday, though, the players were so fiery with each other that they had to be separated from altercations at least three different times. One of the special teams drills was called to a stop so assistant coach Dwayne Stukes could remind them to behave themselves.
From the outside it seems incongruent to be dancing one day, fighting the next.
But for a football player, it makes perfect sense.
“That’s football, that’s the beauty of it,” said linebacker Devon Kennard, who was involved in one of the on-field showdowns, trading shoves and even throwing a punch at Justin Pugh. “That speaks to our team. It’s all love when we get in [the locker room], but we have a competitive group. I was a part of that shoving today, but I was also a part of that dancing yesterday.”
The first kerfuffle took place after Orleans Darkwa took a handoff and ran into linebacker B.J. Goodson. The two exchanged words, and then on his way back to the offensive huddle, Darkwa and Goodson had to be separated. On the very next play Kennard and Pugh got into it.
The Giants later moved practice indoors because of lightning in the area, but that did little to cool them off. Nearly every rep in the special teams blocking drill ended with fiery glances and shows of temper until safety Eric Pinkens and tight end Matt LaCosse had to be separated.
“I didn’t see much,” Ben McAdoo said of the action. “We had a couple of dust-ups, but nothing major. We had it under control.”
With the Giants in full pads for the first day this summer and in shoulder pads for just the second day this camp, McAdoo said he expected some outbursts.
“We’re going to have a little bit of that,” he said. “Guys are going to start not feeling great, especially coming to the end of the week. That’s healthy.”
At least on Wednesday they were hitting people on the other side of the line of scrimmage. The first fracas of camp took place over the weekend when Pinkens and fellow defensive back Janoris Jenkins got into it during conditioning sprints. So progress is being made.
“That’s a part of the game, it’s a part of the locker room,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “It’s not unusual to see somebody you were just fighting with on the field in the cold tub like an hour later and you guys are just talking about the fight like ‘Wow, I can’t believe we were doing that on the field!’ But that’s just what happens. Guys are so competitive, guys want to make the team. Guys want to get better. Sometimes you just have to go through another guy to get to that point.”
Apple stressed that there is no fighting in the locker room. Only dancing. Plus, whatever Manning was doing.
“He’s terrible,” Apple said of the second-best dancing Eli on the team. “He knows it.”
“This team is so close, the closest team I’ve ever been on,” said tight end Will Tye, whose dance moves were featured in those videos.
Tye insisted that the fire on the field will not burn down those bonds.
“Hey, to be able to go in the locker room and have that fun and then come out here and compete and want to fight, that’s good,” Tye said. “After we leave the field, that’s done.”