Giants try different options (including Leon Hall) at safety

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It’s a big week for the New York Giants at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, with the third preseason game on the horizon Saturday against the New York Jets. This is the week and the game that serves as the as the best barometer for what to expect during the regular season.

Tuesday’s practice provided some good hints. Here’s what we saw from the Giants:

The safety shuffle

With Darian Thompson sidelined with a shoulder injury, Nat Berhe took a majority of the first-team reps at safety alongside Landon Collins. Berhe looked fast and quick, darting to the line of scrimmage on one play where he would've had an opportunity to make a tackle for a minimal gain.

Thompson is expected to be ready for Week 1, but if he’s not, Berhe is the favorite to start.

“Nat is a guy that is a heat-seeking missile,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. “He plays fast and aggressive. He’s bouncing back from an injury, and he’s done a nice job getting in with the scheme. It’s nice to see him out there.”

The Giants still tested other options, including cornerback Leon Hall working for a few plays at safety with the first-team defense. Hall has played some safety since joining the team earlier this month, but not as much as he did Tuesday.

Second-year safety Justin Currie also took some snaps with the Giants' first-team defense.

Bennett Jackson, meanwhile, was working as a slot cornerback.

The kicking competition

Newly signed kicker Randy Bullock was told he’s with the team to compete for a job.

Josh Brown is suspended for Week 1 for violating the league’s conduct policy after being arrested in May 2015 on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Bullock, who said he's here to win the spot and be on the roster for 17 weeks, appears to be the Giants’ contingency plan.

At Tuesday's practice, Bullock did little but watch. Brown kicked all four field goals during special-teams drills and made all four.

Bullock did not attempt a kick.


Wide receiver Victor Cruz (groin), cornerback Eli Apple (leg/knee), wide receiver Geremy Davis (groin), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (shoulder), defensive end Kerry Wynn (groin), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (knee) and cornerback Leon McFadden (leg) all returned to practice Tuesday. Pugh and Davis appeared slightly limited.

Linebacker J.T. Thomas (hamstring) was also activated off the physically unable to perform list Tuesday and participated in his first practice of the summer.

Tight end Matt LaCosse (knee), tight end Will Johnson (stinger), safety Mykkele Thompson (concussion) and safety Darian Thompson (shoulder) did not practice.

Other observations

Jasper Brinkley started at middle linebacker with the first-team defense and had an interception later in practice. But Kelvin Sheppard and Keenan Robinson also took some first-team reps. The rotation continues. ... Offensive lineman Bobby Hart continued to get some work with the first-team offense with Pugh limited -- but at guard, not tackle. ... Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dropped an interception that quarterback Logan Thomas threw directly into his hands. Dropped interceptions were a problem for Rodgers-Cromartie last season. ... Will Tye and Larry Donnell remained the first-team tight ends, despite their struggles in Buffalo. They both made plays in the passing game Tuesday.