EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants got a sneak peek Monday of what their offense could be this season.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall was catching passes all over the field with defenders draped on his back. Tight end Evan Engram was using his quick first step to shed defenders (in this case All-Pro safety Landon Collins on two occasions) and catch passes from quarterback Eli Manning.
This had to be what general manager Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo had in mind when they signed Marshall as a free agent and selected Engram in the first round: two new, big receivers capable of boosting an offense led by Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. The unit averaged only 19.7 points a game last season.
It has taken some time. Marshall and Engram started camp rather slowly and have caught passes only sporadically until recent days.
But with Sterling Shepard (ankle) not participating in team drills and Beckham somewhat quiet, Marshall and Engram were Manning's primary targets on Monday.
"We're doing some good stuff, Brandon and I, getting on the same page," Manning said. "Every day there's something new that comes up though. A route here, a concept, just getting on the same timing. You can kind of talk about everything, but you've got to get in as many live reps, one-on-ones, get running different routes, getting on the same timing with things will be good.
"Same with Evan [Engram]. He's making some plays, doing a lot of good things, but the more one-on-ones, the more situations, different things come up every practice. There's something to learn from it every day."
If the offensive line can hold up, the Giants may have more than enough weapons to field an explosive offense. Marshall in particular constitutes the big-bodied red zone target the unit has been missing.
It's reminiscent of when Manning had Plaxico Burress, a player he admitted didn't need to be open when targeted. Manning could throw Burress open. He did that with Marshall on Monday.
"Yeah, I mean, they're both similar height. And just smarts on football, body control, being able to go up and get the ball," Manning said. "So yeah, I'd say some definite similarities there. Obviously with Plaxico, [I] had a number of years playing with him, so I knew what he was going to do, knew how to read his body. I knew whether it was going to be a back shoulder versus a fly or a jump ball. So we need more live reps doing that."
Marshall caught one pass near the end zone with cornerback Michael Hunter draped on his back. He caught another with cornerback Eli Apple hanging on his shoulders. Marshall also beat Apple and made a bobbling grab deep down the right sideline during one-on-one drills.
It's what the Giants expected.
"The film shows, the evidence shows, year after year that the more traffic he's in, it seems like the better he plays," McAdoo said.
The more catches Marshall makes in traffic, the better the Giants' offense should be.
Other practice notables:
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas was getting physical with the running backs at practice. He delivered some big thuds (there is no tackling) on more than one occasion. Casillas, the team's defensive captain, has enjoyed a steady camp to date.
Cornerback Donte Deayon intercepted a pass thrown by backup quarterback Josh Johnson. Deayon continues to make plays, even if he was stripped by his own defensive teammate Apple (not sure why) afterward.
Mykkele Thompson's transition to cornerback has been marked by ups and downs. He was beaten deep by Roger Lewis during the one-on-one drill. In order to make the final roster, Thompson will have his work cut out for him.
Wide receiver Darius Powe's strong summer continued when he beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins deep in one-on-one drills. Entering camp, this was the one question regarding Powe: Can he create enough space? He showed he can on this play. Powe seems to be addressing every concern about him this training camp.
Injury update: Wide receivers Shepard and Tavarres King returned to practice in a limited capacity. They were sidelined with sprained ankles. Linebacker Mark Herzlich also appeared to be limited. Linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion) and Robert Thomas (unknown injury) did not practice.