The New York Giants concluded their final organized team activity on Friday and head coach Ben McAdoo feels as if his team has some momentum going into next week’s mandatory minicamp.
“Well, they are finished,” McAdoo said of the OTAs on Friday. “It is good to have eight weeks in. We are looking forward to minicamp next week, but we got a lot of teaching and learning done. That is the goal and it looks like we have some chemistry going.”
The minicamp begins on Tuesday and will run through Thursday. After that, the Giants won’t assemble as a team again until training camp, which begins the last week of July. The difference between OTAs and minicamp? Not much rules-wise. There’s still no contact permitted ( “live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run, etc.) but the feel will be slightly different as the coaches amp things up a bit.
“We will make the day a little bit longer, take our time a little bit more, but everything is in from a teaching and learning standpoint,” said McAdoo. “We just have to polish it up. We will get a little bit longer on the field on Wednesday, but other than that, it is really just an extension of the offseason program the last week.”
McAdoo said he liked the chemistry of the new players blending in with the old. The Giants have added quite a number of new faces on both sides of the ball and on special teams over the offseason.
The coach was reluctant to talk about attendance as the mandatory part of the offseason begins, as several players, such as WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and DEs Olivier Vernon and Owa Odighizuwa skipped OTAs altogether.
“I expect everyone to be here,” McAdoo said. “I am not spending time talking about attendance, but yeah it is minicamp and we look forward to everyone being here next week.”
Beckham is said to be pondering holding out for a new contract, or a more lucrative extension anyway. He has been working out in California but came to New York last week for a promotional appearance, so the team expects him to at least appear at the facility. They have not heard from any of his representatives thus far regarding any type of holdout.
Why Vernon didn’t attend OTAs is unknown. He signed a huge contract last March (too huge according to most) so his motive can’t possibly be financial. He was in New York this week for a charity event and said he will be here Monday for physicals as well. Odighizuwa is another story. He sent out ambiguous messages on social media recently which have left the Giants wondering if he wants to continue his professional football career. We’ll see if shows.
One player the Giants are excited about is their first round draft pick, TE Evan Engram. McAdoo confirmed the organization’s fervor for the former Ole Miss star on Friday.
“We are excited about the young man,” he said. “He has a tremendous skillset to do a lot of different things for you. He shows that he is willing as a blocker. Now we have to get some pads on him and get his fundamentals right there. He is a conscientious young man, he works hard at football and seems to enjoy it, he does a nice job in the meetings at this point and I think that he will get better as time goes on. But a lot of times success in this business nowadays, meetings are pretty important. The good players do well in meetings and can take it on the field because there is just not as much time on the field as there used to be.”
Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas has been impressed with Engram thus far, and this is before the bullets, as they say, have yet to fly:
“He is such a dynamic player at the tight end position with his skillset, he is going to create a lot of mismatches, whether it’s between linebackers, safeties or corners. He is not a small guy. He runs routes just as good as any receiver we have on our team. He creates separation and he has great hands.”
Another player the Giants are rallying behind is OT Ereck Flowers, the former first round pick who had a down sophomore campaign in 2016. McAdoo spoke to the dedication Flowers has shown this past offseason to re-sculpt his body and hone his craft.
“He is in tremendous condition,” reported McAdoo. “You can see it as practice goes on and especially in a no-huddle period when the ones run back out there for a second time. He is in better condition, so his feet move a little bit better, his technique is a little bit better and, again, it is still early and we need to get the pads on these guys, especially the big guys, and see how they come along with their fundamentals, but it definitely shows.”
McAdoo addressed the Roger Lewis situation by stating the team will await the legal process to play out before making a determination. Lewis was arrested on Ohio last week on OVI charges (operating a vehicle while impaired) but many feel the case against him isn’t a strong one. Giants director of player development David Tyree said this week that he believes Lewis, who pleaded not guilty, could be exonerated once his side the story comes out.