With that in mind, let’s go over some ‘things I think’ after more than two weeks of practice – most of which I was able to witness.
Daniel Jones and the offense
It’s been hard to catch up to the performance of the Giants’ quarterback and the offense so far in training camp. There is excitement about the possibilities with a creative offense that includes plenty of pre-snap motion and versatile personnel. That, however, doesn’t mean the offense is a well-oiled juggernaut.
There was some good. There was also plenty of bad stuff, with many off-target or head-scratching throws from Jones, and some obvious miscommunications. It’s all hard to understand, honestly, because we’re not sure exactly what we’re seeing on a play-by-play basis.
The Giants’ brain trust has reminded us time and time again that the Giants are installing a complex passing game, melding the ideas of head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, and trying to fit that around what the team’s personnel is doing – including the quarterback -. best There are options in many of the pass routes that will take study and repetition to get right.
Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka believes the Giants are “right on schedule” in developing their offense.
“I think that communication has really improved a lot. In the meeting rooms, those guys get a lot more vocal. Not just the quarterbacks, but the quarterbacks making sure that, ‘Hey Daniel. Well if it is – I saw it that way.’ And then vice versa. Daniel saying, ‘I think you should hit it like this, or show me this body language.,'” Kafka said. “So, I think over the last week, week and a half, things have really gotten a lot better because they open up their lines of communication. That’s what we stress to these guys: Let’s talk. Not just receivers and quarterbacks, but O-line. Everybody has to get on the same page.”
Quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney said Tuesday that the Giants are still in the “process over results” phase.
“We’re all growing in this offense together. Some of those might be the first time he’s seen the guy run that route or the first time he’s seen that coverage against that play we called,” Tierney said. “It’s all a learning experience now, which are good. They’re good discussions for us to have … now we’re about process over results … the process is what we’re focused on. Let’s continue our process, let’s stay there and we go ahead and fix the things we need to fix.”
I think all of that is just a reminder that this is a work in progress, and also to keep in context that raw completion numbers from training camp practice tell you very little about what may or may not have actually happened.
About that fight
I just want to make two quick points, both of which I made in the short YouTube video below.
First off, NFL players throwing punches at other NFL players wearing helmets and full pads is stupid. The only person who can possibly get hurt is the guy throwing the punch.
Second, the difference in the way Brian Daboll reacted versus the way Joe Judge reacted to a big scrimmage a year ago – 10-15 minutes of 100-yard sprints accompanied by a loud, F-Bomb-filled diatribe, was striking.
Daboll clearly got his message across without making a scene, embarrassing anyone or ruining practice.
“Sometimes that happens, but there’s no way we condone it,” he said before Tuesday’s practice. “I talked to the team and I talked to the coaches. They know what the expectations are [are]. We will not lose our cool like this.
“Tempers rose. I spoke to the team, everyone involved. That’s not what we’re trying to do. We will pride ourselves on being smart, strong, reliable. I’ve been around long enough to see some of these things — on the third of four days in pads — happen. It is addressed. We will not do that.”
Daboll treated men like men, and I’m sure his players noticed.
I’m glad that starters will play on Thursday
No seasoned NFL player wants to play in preseason games, and when the Giants’ first-line players take the field Thursday night, everyone should be crossing their fingers that no key players get hurt.
However, I think Daboll is absolutely making the right decision to have his starters play in the game.
I was wrong a year ago when I supported Joe Judge’s decision NOT to have Daniel Jones and most of the starters play in the first two preseason games.
Skip preseason games could be good for Aaron Rodgers and other established teams and startups. It’s not good to start over from a rock-bottom team like the Giants with five straight double-digit losing seasons, a brand new offense that needs all the test-drive rotations it can get, and a ton of young players who need the experience. .
The Giants need the job, and I’m glad Daboll is giving it to them. Just don’t kill me if someone gets hurt.
The Giants have been – knock on wood – relatively lucky when it comes to injuries so far in training camp.
Unfortunately, the three major injuries suffered all came to rookies — players who need every rep, every day of meetings as they learn how to be NFL players.
Guard Marcus McKethan probably wouldn’t have a major role on the 2022 Giants, but he flashed some ability early in camp. His torn ACL, however, will keep him out for the rest of the year and put him back to square one when it comes to potentially developing into a regular contributor.
Safety Dane Belton (broken collarbone) appeared headed for a big role in three-safety sub-packages. That may still be the case, but we’ve seen it before with Xavier McKinney, Aaron Robinson and even Elerson Smith. Lost time slows down development.
Tight end/defensive back Andre Miller (broken forearm) is likely headed to spending the season on injured reserve. That’s unfortunate for a player who has flashed some ability and is clearly intriguing the coaching staff, but needs every practice rep he can get as he transitions from being a college wide receiver.
Players who need strong pre-seasons
Here are five players who appear to need solid preseasons to establish themselves as legitimate 53-man candidates.
- Darius Slayton: We’ve talked a lot about the fourth-year wide receiver. One thing he has going for him is an emerging bond with backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a longtime friend and offseason training partner. Maybe he can leverage that to make enough plays this preseason for the Giants to keep him around.
- Quincy Roche/Oshane Ximines: It looks like these two could compete for one roster spot. Going into camp, I would have considered Ximines a long shot and Roche a likely member of the 53-man roster. Now? I’m not so sure. Ximines played more games, and got first team opportunities, which Roche doesn’t have.
- Gary Brightwell: I haven’t counted reps, but in my eyes it looks like the second-year running back has gotten a lot less than Antonio Williams or undrafted free agent rookie Jashaun Corbin. It feels like he has to do some things on special teams, which is his strength, to stick around.
- Ben Bredeson: The backup center/guard situation is messed up. The Giants also have veteran free-agent signees Max Garcia and Jamil Douglas. Bredeson, acquired last season in a trade, worked for the first time at center and also as a guard. The central results were sporadic, with some clicking issues. If he’s going to have a spot on the 53-man roster, Bredeson will have to earn it.