EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Giants coach Brian Daboll wanted to make Friday night’s “Fan Fest” at MetLife Stadium “as game-like as we could.” So an extended portion of the practice was a scrimmage simulating game conditions. Here’s what happened during the dress rehearsal leading into next Thursday’s preseason opener:
Wide receiver Robert Foster, tight end Ricky-Seals Jones and cornerback Rodarius Williams weren’t in uniform for practice (they may have been on the sideline in street clothes). It was the sixth straight missed practice for Seals-Jones with an undisclosed injury. Foster has been sidelined since suffering an injury when he landed hard after making a catch during Tuesday’s practice. Williams, who is returning from a torn ACL, hasn’t participated in team drills since last Saturday.
Rookie offensive lineman Marcus McKethan suffered a lower right leg injury that appeared serious, as the cart immediately came onto the field for the fifth-round pick. Daboll didn’t have an immediate update after the scrimmage, but it appears the Giants will be without McKethan, who had been working as a second-team guard and tackle.
Wide receiver David Sills ran sprints during warmups but didn’t participate in practice. Sills was joined by safety Nate Meadors, who was claimed on waivers Thursday.
Running back Antonio Williams returned after missing one practice with a knee injury.
Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, who has been on the non-football injury list since the start of camp with a hamstring injury, remains sidelined. Ojulari should be ready to return to practice within the next week, according to a source.
DJ ➡️ Wan’Dale pic.twitter.com/5fM6FUqQRP
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 5, 2022
• Daboll handled the practice like a dress rehearsal for a game. Aside from a long special teams period early in practice, the warmups mirrored the pregame routine.
The first-team offense got two lengthy series against the first-team defense. Quarterback Daniel Jones completed 12-of-22 passes for 112 yards and one touchdown in an uneven performance.
Jones’ first pass was a curl to Kadarius Toney that should have been intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Adoree’ Jackson, but the cornerback dropped the pick. Jones then hit wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson with the strike over the middle for a 28-yard gain, although blitzing slot cornerback Darnay Holmes likely would have had a sack if contact on the quarterback was permitted. Jones’ next pass was behind running back Saquon Barkley in the flat and nearly intercepted by linebacker Tae Crowder.
The 13-play drive was extended by a defensive holding penalty on Holmes on a third-and-5 incompletion. Jones’ accuracy remained erratic, but a 20-yard scramble moved the ball to the 7-yard line. The drive ended when wide receiver Kenny Golladay failed to get both feet inbounds on a well-thrown back-shoulder fade by Jones on fourth-and-goal from the 3.
The starters’ other drive was an epic 17-play slog. Rookie outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux was a menace on the drive, drawing a pair of holding penalties. The defense consistently created pressure, often with unblocked blitzers. Safety Julian Love would have had a sack on a play that resulted in a 13-yard completion to Golladay on third-and-12. Love had a nice play to knock the ball out of Robinson’s hands to force an incompletion later in the drive.
The defense’s aggressiveness backfired on a screen pass to Barkley on third-and-13. Barkley had left guard Shane Lemieux providing an escort to a huge patch of open field on the 21-yard gain.
Golladay used his size to box out cornerback Aaron Robinson for a 9-yard gain on a slant on third-and-7 in the red zone. The offense eventually faced a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Barkley was joined by four tight ends, including rookie Andre Miller, who caught a touchdown in the right flat after first blocking to sell a play fake.
Center Jon Feliciano, who has been eased back into action after missing four practices, left midway through the second drive and was replaced by Jamil Douglas. Jackson left late in the drive with what Daboll said was cramping.
• No. 2 quarterback Tyrod Taylor got three series. The first drive was a three-and-out, while the second series ended in a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Richie James on fourth-and-goal. James went in orbit motion before the snap, caught a swing pass in the left flat and used his speed to get into the end zone.
• No. 3 quarterback Davis Webb got three series. His first drive ended with a 30-yard field goal by Graham Gano. His second drive was highlighted by a 29-yard pass to wide receiver Keelan Doss on a fade against cornerback Darren Evans. Evans got revenge later in the drive, deflecting a Webb fade to Doss into the arms of safety Yusuf Corker for an interception. Webb’s final drive ended on a turnover on downs when his fourth-down fade to Doss was overthrown with cornerback Zyon Gilbert in tight coverage.
• It was glaring that wide receiver Darius Slayton was running with the third-team offense. Robinson, Golladay and Toney were the first-team receivers. James, Collin Johnson and C.J. Board were the second-team receivers, and they rotated in sporadically with the starters. Slayton spent most of the night on the third team with the likes of Doss, Proehl and Alex Bachman. Slayton got a few reps with the second string late in the scrimmage, but it continues to look like it will be an uphill climb for the fourth-year pro to make the roster.
• Rookie Daniel Bellinger was clearly the No. 1 tight end. Chris Myarick saw action with the starters in rare two-tight end sets. Miller lined up as a fullback in the jumbo goal-line formation.
• Rookie cornerback Cor’Dale Flott curiously was the third-team slot cornerback. The third-round pick opened camp as the No. 2 slot corner, but he was behind Khalil Dorsey on Friday night.
• The final two drives for the third-stringers featured full tackling to the ground rather than the “thud” tempo used for the rest of camp. Daboll said those players will see the most action in the preseason, so he wanted to prepare them for live contact.
• There was major confusion getting the punt team onto the field after Taylor’s first drive stalled. Friday’s game-like setting was a good dress rehearsal for game-day operations for Daboll, who has never been a head coach at any level. There were a ton of penalty flags in an overall sloppy performance.
• It was interesting that Daboll was critical of his team’s conditioning level after the scrimmage since he has run a fairly light camp. It will be intriguing to see if he ramps up conditioning, like wind sprints, next week.
Friday night work 💪 pic.twitter.com/DdjywkXxJJ
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 5, 2022
Play of the day
Webb lofted a fade into the end zone to Doss from the 15-yard line. Evans batted the underthrown pass directly into the arms of Corker, who made a long return up the sideline.
Quote of the day
“He’s tough to block. He’s done a really great job these last few practices of getting his feet underneath him. He’s got a variety of pass-rush moves.” — Coach Brian Daboll on rookie linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux
The Giants are off Saturday. They will hold their next practice Sunday at 10 a.m. The session is open to fans.
(Photo: Jessica Alcheh / USA Today)