EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The “training camp” portion of the summer is officially over. New York Giants camp broke Tuesday when veterans were allowed to check out of the hotel and return home.
Now, they’re into the preseason portion of the summer. With it comes three games in 11 days before final cuts and preparations for the regular-season opener Sept. 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. First up is the Cleveland Browns this Monday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).
Some other training-camp awards:
Underdog who has a legit shot to make roster: DL Jordan Williams
He’s more than just the awesome first name. Williams has been a play-wrecker this summer. He’s flashed a quick first step and strong pass-rush ability. This is what the Giants' defense needs, a lineman who can provide pass rush from the interior. Williams has a legitimate chance.
Williams, 24, was undrafted in 2015 out of Tennessee. He has spent parts of the past two seasons with the Dolphins and Jets. He dropped weight this offseason and “feels faster.” It’s showing on the field. He had three tackles and a sack in the preseason opener, when he thought he looked more comfortable. He’s a player to watch as the preseason progresses.
Solid and steady 1: QB Eli Manning
It has been a good summer for the Giants' starting quarterback. Manning has “been consistent ... been productive,” according to coach Ben McAdoo. It’s somewhat expected from the two-time Super Bowl winner, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Manning’s arm has looked fine; the 36-year-old's velocity isn’t anything special. Most impressive has been the lack of turnovers. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when McAdoo arrived with his new offense and Manning was throwing two interceptions a day in practice. He’s thrown three (according to my unofficial stats) this entire summer. That's a big positive.
Solid and steady 2: G Adam Gettis
The second-team guard doesn’t receive a ton of notoriety. He doesn’t have the pedigree or size of offseason signee D.J. Fluker, but it doesn’t seem to matter. If one of the Giants’ starting guards was injured right now, Gettis might be the first choice to step into that role. He’s been among the most consistent offensive linemen this summer, even if he did miss a practice earlier this week with an eye problem and left practice early Friday with what appeared to be a minor ankle injury.
Quiet but effective: WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Even with the contract situation hanging over his head and last season's playoff flop barely in the rearview mirror, we haven’t heard much from Beckham since he arrived at training camp. The only chatter seems to be about the big plays he’s made on the field and the spectacular one-handed grabs. This has been a smart approach for the enigmatic wide receiver, who claims to be in a better place right now than ever before. There is no reason to believe he's not in for another monster season.
Look out for ... No. 1: WR Darius Powe
No Giants player was busier at training camp than Powe, the second-year receiver who spent his rookie season on the practice squad. He caught more passes during team drills than any other player. It’s obvious Powe made his mark, working his way up the depth chart and into some first-team reps (even if it was in part because of injuries). Powe dropped weight this offseason and appears a step faster. He’s used his big body -- 6-foot-2, 218 pounds -- and strength well to create space and make tough catches in practice. Powe is pushing Roger Lewis and others for a roster spot, even if he’s been slowed in recent days by a hamstring injury.
Look out for ... No. 2: LB Calvin Munson
The opportunities have been there this summer at linebacker with veterans Mark Herzlich (stinger) and Keenan Robinson (concussion) missing chunks of time. Munson seems to have made the most of the chances; the rookie from San Diego State is active and moves well, and has really made an impact on special teams. That is where his bread is buttered. Munson’s best chance to make the team is as a backup middle linebacker and core special-teams player. He’s done well so far, working with the starters on special teams.
Made the jump: DT Jay Bromley
The summer began with Robert Thomas working alongside Damon Harrison at defensive tackle. But Bromley has played his way into the driver’s seat to start with a strong summer. The fourth-year pro is playing lower to the ground, with improved footwork and quickness off the line. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul also believes Bromley isn’t just running around anymore: He understands the game better, and is reading his blocks in order to make plays. Whatever it is, it’s working.
Good for a leaping catch a day: TE Matt LaCosse
Yes, offseason acquisition Rhett Ellison has caught the ball well, first-round pick Evan Engram flashes that athleticism and second-year tight end Jerell Adams made a significant jump and is having a strong summer. But it seems every day in practice LaCosse is making an impressive, leaping catch over a defender for a big play, a good skill to have. It will leave the Giants with some tough decisions at the tight end position.
Don’t forget: S Nat Berhe
It’s evident when Berhe is healthy, and on the field he can play. He’s a natural strong safety who plays with power and speed despite his small frame (5-11, 195). He’s a quality special-teams contributor. After missing most of the second half of last season, this summer has served as a reminder that Berhe can still play at the NFL level. The Giants have depth at the safety position.
Goodson and Thompson stepped into starting roles this summer, working almost exclusively with the first-team defense. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said he was “encouraged” by what he saw from them at training camp. Goodson’s thumper middle-linebacker mentality and Thompson’s ball-hawking skills could help take the defense to the next level. All positives on both ends this summer.