EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants’ first practice of the summer didn’t involve hitting, full pads or even team drills. It was a glorified organized team activity or minicamp workout disguised as a training camp practice.
The Giants took the field Friday morning and practiced in shorts and shoulder pads for 80 minutes. It was hardly a grueling workout, which is all part of new coach Ben McAdoo’s plan to “build them up.” It was quick and low impact, and almost seemed as if McAdoo and his staff were using Practice No. 1 as an acclimation project.
“It was a quick one,” McAdoo said. “We were on and off today to get the cobwebs out a little bit.”
Given the limited nature of the workout, it’s hard to make any hard determinations on performances. But here are some general observations from the practice, which was held inside due to inclement weather in the morning:
Cruz passes first test
Wide receiver Victor Cruz was on the field and looked as good as can be expected after missing almost two full seasons with injuries. He didn’t appear to be favoring a leg or limping. And, most importantly, he was cutting seamlessly and made it through the entire workout unscathed. “Huge accomplishment,” he conceded. The next benchmarks are stringing together back-to-back practices and working against a defense. He’ll have that opportunity on Saturday.
Big plans for Shepard
When the first-team offense was on the field running some plays with just two wide receivers, rookie Sterling Shepard was next to Odell Beckham Jr. The second-round pick out of Oklahoma earned that honor with a strong spring, and he’s going to get every opportunity possible to be a significant contributor regardless of what happens with Cruz. “Shepard, obviously, we're going to have him right there in the mix at receiver,” quarterback Eli Manning said. Cruz worked out of the slot with the second team during that same drill.
The first-team defense
Cornerbacks: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins
Note: When the Giants went to a nickel defense cornerback, Trevin Wade replaced Devon Kennard.
The first-team offense
Quarterback: Eli Manning
Running back: Rashad Jennings/Shane Vereen
Wide receivers: Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard
Note: The Giants were in a two-wide-receiver set when I charted the first-team offense.
Running back Shane Vereen looked more muscular and bigger than the past. … Adam Gettis appears to be the second-team center right now. He played guard last season. … Pierre-Paul is working on the left side with his left hand on the ground. His right hand is the one that was mangled in the fireworks accident. … Safety Nat Berhe earned the praise of secondary coach/safeties David Merritt during footwork drills. … Thompson also looked fluid and fast.