The 2017 New York Giants training camp kicked off and once it went to full pads on Wednesday the intensity ratcheted up and we had our first fight. BSO was on hand Friday for a light workout after two days of heavy hitting. Head coach Ben McAdoo stressed the importance of staying mentally sharp on a light workout day, but also said the team will crank it back up in full pads on Saturday.
Today the players did a light run through, similar to what they would do in a Friday practice during the regular season. We saw the first team offense and defense simulate against one another, special teams work, and positional breakdowns. All with no pads. Second year wide receiver Sterling Shepard updated his injury status. The MRI was negative and he just rolled his ankle. He began therapy and did pool work today and will follow the protocol that will get him ready to return to action. Shepard was non committal on if he would play in the preseason but said he would be back for game one of the regular season.
Injuries are commonplace in football and the Giants had very good injury luck last year, part of the reason they finished 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time in a few years. Balancing the amount of time in pads engaging in full contact versus a light run through is a difficult tightrope for any head coach to balance. The NFL regulates the amount of padded practices teams are allowed to have during camp, for safety reasons. Of course the entire game itself is unsafe, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
Following Friday’s practice McAdoo answered questions from the media and talked about a light practice versus a heavy one. While the head coach would prefer to have the players in pads, he said physically they need a break and getting mental reps are vital to remain sharp. It really is a catch-22, you need to see how players react in actual physical conditions they will see in a game, but you also want the players to make it to the games that matter. Too much heavy pounding in training camp will certainly create problems down the line. Take a look at the teams that advance deep in the postseason and win the title every year. They are almost always among the most healthy teams in the league. A large part of that is luck, and also knowing when to push during training camp and take your foot off the gas.
The Giants have some injury concerns and a number of key players for them are veterans and need to “manage their minutes” so they are in the best possible position to contribute. It’s supposed to be another hot one in NJ on Saturday. We’ll see how the team responds to their third day in pads and cranked up intensity.