EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants offensive lineman Bobby Hart was lined up at right tackle for a snap during Saturday’s training camp practice, itching to carry out his assignment. Except he left before the ball was snapped.
It was a clear false start. The play stopped after a second or two and everyone headed back to their spot for another rep.
Everybody but Hart. He immediately trotted off the field knowing the consequences of such an infraction during one of coach Ben McAdoo’s practices. Marshall Newhouse took his spot with the second-team offense.
McAdoo and the Giants mean business when they take the field for practice. There is no time for wasted motion or silly errors. Tempo is vital.
It’s so important to McAdoo that he was displeased they only finished Friday's practice a minute early.
“All right, we got our work in today. We finished a minute early,” McAdoo said, via the team’s website. “That is not good enough. Just because at the end we were doing these jog-throughs at the end doesn’t mean we slow the tempo down. We want to keep the tempo going, just go low impact with the lower body there.”
It all fits into the mantra that has already become somewhat of a gag reflex.
“Sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise,” McAdoo has said on numerous occasions, including at the start of training camp.
Get used to that. These are McAdoo’s building blocks for success, and the discipline part was evident on the field Saturday. Foolish penalties apparently will earn you a spot on the sideline.
Cruz ‘on schedule’: Wide receiver Victor Cruz completed his second straight practice without any limitations. McAdoo said he remained “on schedule” after taking part in team drills for the first time since last summer. Cruz was on the field Saturday for some first-team snaps. It was another hurdle cleared.
Next up: Surviving a more demanding practice on Sunday before putting on the pads for the first time this year on Tuesday.
The CB and TE rotations: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, and first-round pick Eli Apple were rotating as the outside cornerbacks with the first-team defense. Only Rodgers-Cromartie took some snaps in the slot.
At tight end, the Giants began 11-on-11 drills with Matt LaCosse and Larry Donnell in the backfield to block for running back Rashad Jennings. Will Tye and Ryan Malleck rotated in several plays later. Malleck made a nice block to spring Jennings on the right side.
It appears that the Giants have a wide-open tight end competition, with Tye, Donnell, and LaCosse the favorites to earn playing time. Donnell had a strong day catching the football, making several plays downfield.
Unknown player to watch: The first touchdown of training camp came courtesy of wide receiver Tavarres King. He caught a 50-yard touchdown pass deep down the right sideline from Ryan Nassib during 11-on-11 drills.
Now, normally I'd just note the big play. But this isn’t a fluke. King caught several passes and has displayed an ability to create separation. He had a strong spring that has now carried over into the summer with multiple catches. He’s someone to keep a close eye on at the bottom of the roster after spending most of last season on the practice squad.
“He is a guy that grew on us last year when we had him on the practice squad. He’s chomping at the bit, I know he had a couple different opportunities and he feels like, I know I’m speaking for him, but he’s walking around like a guy who seems like he’s earned his stripes and he’s ready to take that next jump,” McAdoo said. “It was good to see him make a play today.”
Defense wins early: The first play of team drills this summer produced a quality result for the defense when linebacker Devon Kennard intercepted an Eli Manning pass intended for Tye. It was a good start for a unit that finished dead last in the NFL last season in yards allowed, with the coverage from their linebackers among the biggest deficiencies.
“Great effort. DK made the same type of play last year in Buffalo on the same type of route,” McAdoo said. “Great effort, good ball skills, and I’m happy for the young man. He made a nice play.”
Offense gets theirs: King scored his touchdown against the second-team defense not long after the Kennard interception. Wide receiver Geremy Davis later caught a touchdown pass from Manning in the red zone. Davis also made a nice diving catch with a defender draped on his back.
Even though they were in shorts and shoulder pads, defensive end Olivier Vernon had a strong day. He tossed Tye aside on one running play and beat left tackle Ereck Flowers with an inside move on a play-action pass play.
The Giants ran a fake field goal. Offensive lineman Weston Richburg dropped the pass from holder Brad Wing (even if he may have been out of bounds). "Hopefully we’ll have another chance to work on that one," Richburg said. "I thought I had it. I think he overthrew me a little bit, though. I ran the route perfectly and he was definitely over-throwing it. I was moving fast."