(East Rutherford, NJ) The heat was nowhere nearly as high as it was on Tuesday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center but the practice was more cohesive and structured as the Giants worked out for over two hours on Wednesday.
The main attraction was the red zone offense vs the red zone defense. The Giants have stars on both sides of the ball and each side took turns making plays.
For those concerned about Odell Beckham, Jr’s conditioning or sharpness, you can back off the ledge. His absence from the Giants’ offseason program had a lot of fans and pundits lining up against him. You can all exhale. Watch the play below. I witnessed it first hand at the team’s minicamp on Wednesday. Beckham beats Pro Bowl CB Janoris Jenkins for a TD.
Eli Manning ➡️ @OBJ_3 for the touchdown! #NYGiants pic.twitter.com/iFDLcVNJjb
— New York Giants (@Giants) June 14, 2017
Jenkins made some noise of his own as did several other members of the Giants’ secondary. It will likely be the final matchup of the spring between the two elite units as they will break for the next six weeks after Thursday’s walkthrough.
OC Mike Sullivan is excited about the new possibilities the additions of WR Brandon Marshall and TE Evan Engram bring to the offense. They also have more depth at fullback and tight end as well as Beckham and second year wideout Sterling Shepard, who has looked nothing short of stellar thus far in workouts.
“I think that the personnel groupings are at a point right now where we can have more multiplicity,” Sullivan said after practice. “We were at a high percentage of the Zebra personnel, 11 personnel, with 3 wide receivers, 1 tight end and 1 back, as people call it. With those additional tight ends and with having a couple of fullbacks that we’re taking a look at, just to have those different groupings gives the defense more to prepare for and in terms of trying to do things that will give us that balance that we want, run and pass, we have a few more options when you run all of those different personnel groups and then some of the play-action passes, some of the shots that you take intentionally. But it is exciting with all of the additions we have. I’m really, really looking forward to training camp.”
So do the defensive backs. Jenkins and fellow corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have both been to the Pro Bowl as Giants. Last year, safety Landon Collins was named an All-Pro after a breakout sophomore season.
“I think that we can be special,” Rodgers-Cromartie said on Wednesday. “I think that we started something last year. The main thing is that we are coming back and everybody is together and we are in the same system. So once you know your system and you know your guys, it makes it that much easier to play.”
Collins, looking more like a linebacker than a safety at around 220 pounds, also believes the Giants’ secondary is on the verge of doing some grand things.
“It looks great to me,” he said. “We’ve got all the guys back. All of the guys know what they are doing. It’s like second nature now. It’s just building, building on top and adding more to the defense so we can just confuse the offense when we play against them. It’s great.”
The Giants were missing two defensive starters in CB Eli Apple and safety Darian Thompson, two players that will figure in greatly this season. Both players were sitting out with illnesses as did the rookie TE Engram, who was dealing with soreness.
One player the Giants appear to be giving extended opportunities to is third year TE Matt LaCosse. He was targeted at least a half-dozen times on Wednesday and caught a pair of touchdowns in the scrimmages.
OG Justin Pugh (back) sat out for the second straight day. OT Ereck Flowers was limited with soreness and OL D.J. Fluker left the field with what appeared to be a hand or arm injury.