After the first day of the New York Giants’ mandatory minicamp, quarterback Eli Manning said that he is feeling more optimistic about the progress being made in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new system.
“We did a pretty good job today; I thought the tempo was good” Manning said. “I feel a little more confident with everything that is going on – the adjustments, changing of the plays…everything is happening a little bit quicker so I think that’s a positive.”
Manning said he was also encouraged by what he’s seen from the running backs this spring.
“I think the running backs have done a good job,” he said, noting how the running backs were effective in their blitz pickups today and in understanding their routes in yesterday’s practice.
“It’s not just how you run the football; you’ve got to be a complete back, and you’ve got to be able to understand your protections and how you’re blocking…I think we’ve got a number of guys who can do those things,” he said.
Manning did not specify which of the four running backs that he thinks has the potential to be a complete back but there is no shortage of options among Peyton Hillis, Rashad Jennings, David Wilson, Kendall Gaskins, and fourth round draft pick Andre Williams.
Williams played for Boston College last year, and in his final season there he became one of only 16 players in NCAA history to rush for over 2,000 yards. He finished his career ranked fifth all-time for most yards rushed in a single season (2,177 yards).
Gaskins is listed with one year of accrued experience, while Jennings and Hillis are entering their sixth and seventh years respectively.
Besides the running backs, Manning praised the wide receivers.
“We’ve got a couple of guys who have stepped up and play well,” he said.
Victor Cruz, who has been one of the players who’s looked sharp this spring, has been trying to be a role model for the younger players.
“I am still getting used to that ’V-word’,” he said.
Meanwhile, Manning and the rest of the Giants are still waiting to see how the rookie out of LSU, Odell Beckham Jr., will perform.
Beckham has been limited in practice due to a hamstring strain. He ran some routes under the watchful eye of a trainer during last week’s OTAs and told reporters that he felt good. However, he still hasn’t been cleared for full activities and likely won’t be in this camp.
Overall, while it’s been a positive showing, Manning acknowledged there’s still much work to be done.
“We’re getting better; we are getting where we need to be but we are still fine tuning it.”