It’s really hard to believe that this mandatory minicamp has one more day.
As I noted yesterday, the practices have gone by so quickly, which when I mentioned that to a colleague today, he asked me if I thought that was because things had become stale in recent years or if there was just more to take in.
We concluded that it’s been a little bit of both. The offense under Kevin Gilbride, while having won two Super Bowls, had become stale and predictable, and as a result, the practices seemed to drag.
Under Ben McAdoo, the practices while not perfect, just seem more up-tempo and livelier. You get a sense that something big is just waiting to happen.
That something will have to wait until the pads go on, but with one practice to go, it’s been very interesting to watch this offense unfold. I’ll have specifics in the June issue of Inside Football, but for now, let me give you a few quick notes from today’s practice.
*As I have noted in a previous report, Brandon Mosley has been filling in at right guard for Snee this spring, which is what I expected based on the personnel that carried over from last year and the guys they brought in over the offseason.
“There are a lot of guys that play in there, but he deserved the opportunity that’s been given,” head coach Tom Coughlin said.
“He’s been in that classroom for any number of years and been with us for a long time, got an opportunity last year and was not able to take full advantage of it, got hurt right away in the game in Detroit. He’s a big, strong kid that’s played at the highest level in college, so we’re counting on him to be a young player that’s going to develop and help us.”
* The screen game continued today—with all the work the offense is getting in this area, I fully expect that we might see a well-executed screen or two during the preseason.
*We also got a look at the full house formation, which reminds me of an arrow pointing away from the line of scrimmage. In this particular formation, there was one running back and two tight ends flanking him, but I have seen pictures from the OTAs in which there’s been a fullback in place of a tight end.
* I thought cornerback Zack Bowman, working with the second-string defense, had a nice practice today. He was usually around the ball and his efforts were rewarded with one interception (for a Pick-6) plus another near pick of Ryan Nassib. He was, however, beaten by Odell Beckham, Jr., who returned to full practice today on a short post pattern thrown by Ryan Nassib.
* I mentioned in a tweet something about group text messaging being done within the receivers and the running backs groups (you can also add the linebackers to the list). Anyway, the purpose of the group texting is for the teammates and the coaches to keep everyone on their toes regarding certain play situations and calls. It also promotes bonding between teammates – key considering there are so many new faces trying to fit in. Ina game where communication is of the utmost of importance, it’s nice to see the Giants players embracing technology in such a positive way.
* We had quite a few fullback sightings in this practice. One of the things I’m noticing is that on running plays, they don’t always follow the led block of the fullback – I think I counted maybe two that actually went behind the fullback and on both occasions, John Conner was in there. I like this twist because – and I hate to keep comparing the two offenses—under Gilbride, every time the fullback was in the game, you pretty much knew what was coming.
McAdoo’s use of the personnel seems to keep defenses on their ties, and I doubt very many people will be complaining about how predictable the offense is once you see what has been done.
* Keeping with the fullbacks, Conner took two handoffs. I couldn’t quite see what kind of yardage he got, but I liked how he kept his legs churning even when he hit a brick wall. I suspect had there been pads in this practice, he would have tried to bowl over the guys in front of him, but of course, live contact is a no-no and if there’s a wall there, you stop.
Conner also was the lead blocker on a run by Michael Cox, but I couldn’t tell what kind of yardage cox managed to get because he disappeared behind a wall of bodies.
*I still don’t know what to make of Ryan Nassib. I can tell that he has a grasp on what to do, but knowing what to do an doing it have yielded two different results. Nassib hasn’t been as accurate with his throwing as you’d like to see after four weeks or so. At least one of his decisions to throw into a crowd was ill advised (thankfully for him, the ball fell incomplete). Nassib also drew two delay-of-game buzzers, which is not what you want to see.
* I didn’t think Eli Manning threw the ball particularly well today either. He overshot Jerrel Jernigan on a back shoulder pass by a good five yards (Jernigan had a step against cornerback Zack Bowman). There were a few other passes that were off target as well, though to be fair, it’s hard at times to determine if it’s on the quarterback or the receiver.
*Larry Donnell had a couple of nice receptions in the seam, including one in which he smoked Jacquian Williams in coverage. Williams was late to move and his slight delay was all Donnell needed to whiz past him. Donnell also beat Antrel Rolle on his other reception; unfortunately, the tight end had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for dehydration after practice. He’s since been released and is said to be doing better.
*Damontre Moore got the better of Charles Brown, shooting into the backfield for a sack. Moore’s energy just jumps out at you–if he has it all together, this year, he’s going to be a very nice full-time addition to the defense.
*One of my rookies to watch, linebacker Dan Fox, has been getting reps at the strong-side spot with the two’s. I’m still not sure about Fox’s strength being at an NFL level, but this kid has shown some nice play-making instincts out there and seems to have a nose for the ball.
Don’t forget tomorrow wraps up the three-day minicamp. We’ll also be hearing from all of the assistant coaches, which is always a fun event, so be sure you’re tuned into Twitter for the latest.