On another hot, humid day in New Jersey, the Giants took the field for their second practice of 2014 Training Camp. Today included a ten minute cool down break midway through as the players went inside to escape the heat. It shows how far NFL team have come in understanding athletes and the effects that heat can have on the body. Training camps used to be a test of endurance, and players would often try to avoid drinking water as not be seen as weak in front of teammates. The pendulum has swung and franchises look to protect their million dollar investments.
The day started with good news as all of the players who left early yesterday took the field today, including Jameel McClain. Despite being “sore,” McClain participated fully in practice. Odell Beckham, who “tweaked” his hamstring yesterday, did not, and was limited to individual drills on the sideline. Tom Coughlin did not hide his annoyance with Beckham in his post practice press conference and commented that the hamstring is “sore” and that Beckham will be out “who knows how long.”
Coughlin’s rallying cry for the players this season is “Burn the Boats,” meaning that there is no turning back once the regular season has begun. It stems from a Grecian tradition where the Greek warriors, once they landed on the shores of an enemy, would burn there boats and only return home upon defeating the enemy in battle and seizing their vessels. In 2011, Coughlin introduced the concept of “Finish” to the players wanting them to play better in the fourth quarter. In 2007, it was “All in” and the players received poker chips. Perhaps toward the end of the season, if playoffs are on the line, they will receive replica ancient Greek vessels.
The pace on offense continues to be rapid and the time between plays was timed at between 17 and 33 seconds. Plenty of time to get the play off before the play clock runs out. No mention if the players are huddling between plays, but it’s not feasible in a seventeen second window. Given Eli Manning’s efficiency in two minute scenarios during his career, this offense may cater well to his skill set.
On the offensive line, Will Beatty took most of the first team snaps at left tackle and fared well against Jason Pierre-Paul. Coughlin commented that Beatty is “Doing more than expected,” a positive sign given the severity of his broken leg. Brandon Moseley returned from yesterday’s upset stomach to run with the first string at right guard, although John Jerry also took snaps with the first unit.
Daniel Fells has been taking most of the snaps as the first string tight end. Adrien Robinson or Larry Donnell was expected to be the starter, but Fells is currently in that role. A early quirk of the new offense, fullbacks are appearing only in sets without a tight end and are frequently running pass patterns. Usage of the fullback will be one of the more interesting facets to watch early in the regular season.
Coughlin praised rookie running back Andre Williams in his press conference, calling him a “highly conditioned, powerful athlete” and that he is “demonstrating that he is more than a straight ahead runner.” Williams has been used in short yardage packages and may be playing himself into a bigger role, especially if his receiving skills improve. The current running back depth chart has Rashad Jennings starting, David Wilson second, and Williams third. Peyton Hillis may be the odd man out.
Despite today’s heat, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was wearing long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a windbreaker. Apparently, the Green Bay winters did not desensitize him to warm weather.
Special team practice featured kickoff returns. The returners were Trindon Holliday, Quintin Demps, Jerrell Jernigan, and David Wilson. Wilson made a particularly impressive move, showing that his 2013 injury has not robbed him of his agility. He will likely be one of the deep men on the kick return unit.
Kicker Brandon McManus made all 4 of his field goal attempts and showed a strong leg. He may prove to be tough competition for returning veteran Josh Brown, especially since Brown is scheduled to make $1,250,000 and McManus, $420,000.
The team made a roster move, waiving injured wide receiver Kris Adams and signing offensive guard John Sullen. Sullen had previously worked out for the team last month, but was not signed. Originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn University, the 6’6″, 340 pound Sullen spent the preseason with the Bengals before being released last August 31st. With Jon Beason on the PUP list, the Giants have 88 active players and therefore have room to sign two additional players before reaching the limit of 90.