As a reporter who tries to jot down a note on every snap in training camp, this summer is going to be a challenge. That’s because the tempo of practice was noticeably quicker than it has been in the past. I don’t have an exact time – I think I’ll try to bring a stopwatch and figure that out in the coming days believe it or not -- but the snaps-per-minute were definitely ramped up.
“There are different speeds with which you play and we have a tempo for one speed, a tempo for another speed and so on,” Tom Coughlin said after noting that he was pleased by the pace. It will result in “maybe a few more plays” per practice, he said, “but not a whole lot.”
The big thing to watch will be the various speeds with which the Giants operate out of their no-huddle. “We emphasized that in the spring,” Coughlin said. “We came back on the field and picked up right where we left off.”
That said, I did manage to write down a few notes from the first practice of training camp. We’ll start with some of the injuries, most of them due to hydration and heat issues Coughlin said. Those carted off included Brandon Mosley, Xavier Grimble and Spencer Adkins (who technically walked off the field and wasn’t carted off). The only one Coughlin seemed concerned about was Jameel McClain, who was having the metatarsal in his foot examined after experiencing some discomfort.
There may also have been an issue with Odell Beckham Jr., who worked through a hamstring issue in the spring. He pulled up early on a deep pass from Eli Manning that wound up being intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (at least something good came from the only pass that travelled further than 15 yards on the day). Coughlin said he saw the first-rounder stop running and would look into why. “He stopped on the ball, I know that part,” he said.
“He’s got some work to do, just like they all do,” Coughlin said of Beckham. “We’ve seen enough in the spring to know what he can do. Hopefully we’ll see it again soon.”
Of the guys who were supposed to be limited, Will Beatty seemed to be the least limited. He wasn’t in for the first snap of 11-on-11s but took a good number of them as practice went on. Mario Manningham ran a few routes early on in individual drills but tapered off and did nothing in team drills. John Jerry was not on the field.
Practice started with special teams as it almost always does. Beckham, Trindon Holliday, Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz were fielding punts. Steve Weatherford, the only player in camp without competition at his position, mis-hit a few of his earliest attempts, prompting some to wonder if he was suffering from the after-effects of too many proms this spring. But he quickly regained his form.
The first offensive unit looked like this: Justin Pugh, Mosley, J.D. Walton, Geoff Schwartz and Charles Brown right to left on the line (and as we know that changed by 40 percent by the end of practice), Randle and Jerrel Jernigan at wide receiver, Rashad Jennings at running back, Larry Donnell in an h-back type of role at fullback, and Eli at quarterback. The first defense was: Kiwanuka, Jenkins, Patterson and JPP across the front, Williams, McClain and Kennard at linebacker, Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle at safety and Prince Amukamara with DRC at cornerback. When the Giants went to their sub package Quintin Demps came in and McClain and Paysinger were the linebackers.
The second offensive line at the beginning was, right to left, Troy Kropog, Dallas Reynolds, Richburg, Terrell Manning and James Brewer. Ryan Nassib was at quarterback and Peyton Hillis was at running back. The second defense had Ayers, Kuhn, Bromley and Moore up front, Paysinger, Herzlich and Fox at linebacker, Hosley and Bowman at corner and Taylor and Demps at safety.
A few plays of note:
The first team snap of the camp was a handoff to Jennings … Manning completed his first six passes of camp before missing TE Daniel Fells while rolling out to his right … The knock on fourth-round pick Andre Williams was that he couldn’t catch passes, but on his first team snap of camp he caught a pass out of the backfield from Manning … Williams looked to be the most explosive running back on the first day, although David Wilson, who took only a handful of snaps, did have one run in which he threw on the airbreaks and safety Nat Berhe fly right past him (“I’ll hit the breaks, he’ll fly right by.” “You’re gonna do WHAT?”) … Jernigan made a nice catch on a pass in the corner of the end zone but I couldn’t tell if it was a TD or out of bounds … Manning’s first eight passes were all short ones, which tells you a lot about what this offense will look like. The one time he did go deep was the afore-mentioned pass to Beckham that was intercepted … Fells caught a pass from Nassib and was running upfield when Bowman came in and stripped the ball for a forced fumble … Josh Brown was 3-for-3 on FG attempts … In 7-on-7s Manning completed all four of his passes, two of them to Marcus Harris … Cooper Taylor had an interception off a batted pass from Curtis Painter. On the next snap C.J. Barnett dropped an interception on a pass intended for Corey Washington …Back in 11-on-11s, Randle had a bad drop on a pass from Manning … JPP would have made a nice stop for a loss on a run to the offensive left … Nassib botched a handoff with Hillis and recovered the fumble … Nassib threw the worst pass of practice, a wobbler in the direction of Washington with Charles James covering him … Painter threw an incompletion that went over the head of Trindon Holliday, which doesn’t necessarily mean it was a high pass … Painter connected with Fells on the final snap of the workout.