New and Notes from Friday's Training Camp
With a heavy-duty, “long, physical, and fast” full-pads workout scheduled for tomorrow, New York Giants players took a “more mental” approach to today’s practice walk-throughs. Coach McAdoo explained to the media that today was a “REM Friday”, where the players gained “a little more REMs last night… [and] had a chance to hydrate [themselves]”. A nod to the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep, his hope was that in starting practice an hour later than usual, players arrived well rested.Punter Brad Wing approves. “It’s good! I think it’s a very valuable and important part of being a professional athlete- sleep. They drill it in every meeting and they tell us how important it is. The good thing about Ben is that he’s not just going to talk about it and not do it. A lot of people say sleep is important but they got you up here 15 hours a day. So, he’s doing good in putting that to practice and letting us get our rest”.
In front of grandstands full of fans, the offense, defense, and special teams stretched, warmed up, and ran simulated plays for the hour-long practice. Punter Brad Wing was the only source of live-action, sending booming punts downfield to a waiting Odell Beckham, Jr. After the first couple of punts, Wing hung and shook his head while walking back to his mark. When I asked him about this, he replied: “It wasn’t bad, it was just a lot of… when you’re punting, you’re doing a lot of talking to yourself, [and] sometimes it has to do with some head movements. We were [also] trying to do a couple different punts today. But, it wasn’t a bad day. Sometimes, we practice the fakes... I’d rather punt, but I wouldn’t read into that too much”. Delighted fans “oooh”-ed as the special teams unit mixed in a few fake punts to their regime. “They love it, as it should be. That’s an exciting part of any football game, so I can understand that”, said Wing.
Alumni note: Wide receiver PlaxicoBurress, most known for his touchdown catch on a in the back of the end zone to clinch Super Bowl XLII for the Giants, was in attendance to sign autographs for fans.
According to NFL Network’s Kim Jones, the Giants had the worst defense in the league last season. One of the newest Giants (signed on March 6, 2016), Olivier Vernon looks to change that stigma by leading a completely revamped defensive line for Big Blue. I asked him about his thoughts on the Giants’ first preseason game (taking place in the Meadowlands one week from today) against his former team, the Miami Dolphins. Obviously looking for a lot of playing time, Vernon responded, with a smile: “I wish it was the third preseason game”. As far as his feelings on his former teammates, Vernon wishes them well: “I wish all those guys the best, come the season. In speaking to them every now and then, I miss those guys down there. But, business is business come Friday and I would just wish them all the best and to stay healthy for the season”. No need to worry, Giants fans: he won’t be taking it easy on his former teammates.
Vernon, to me, also offered his opinions on the Giants’ first-round draft pick Eli Apple (cornerback): “He’s strong, physical … he’s a good corner. He’s not shying away from competition, so that says a lot about him and I just can’t wait to see this come gameday”. That first opportunity will be at 7pm next Friday, August 12, 2016.