Monday marked the final organized team activity (OTA) that allowed media access. And while the attendance was spotty, with notable names not fully working, it gave opportunities to those who could really use the extra reps.
First-round pick Ereck Flowers got in his fare share of reps – both with the first and second teams – as he tries to find his way into the offensive line rotation.
Flowers was seen putting in work at left tackle with both the first and second-team units, as the Giants have been keen on expediting his learning curve, now that regular left tackle Will Beatty could be lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said that guys like Flowers needs to take full advantage of every extra rep, especially when it’s someone like the former Miami Hurricane who was already expected to step right in and be an immediate contributor.
“It is obvious you throw an awful lot at them [and] the young guys are doing okay. Progress is being made and this is what these [OTAs] are all about — throwing them in there and letting them go [and] see how they do,” said Coughlin, adding he likes how his young lineman is progressing. “He has gotten plenty of playing time. Hopefully he will continue to benefit from it.”
Coughlin noted that while they’ll miss Beatty and are still trying to fit the pieces together, he believes the offensive line, as a whole, is really gelling.
“We are way ahead in terms of that [last year’s offseason]. There is an awful lot of information being thrown at them [and] they seem to be handling it well, especially some of the new guys [who] have done well with it,” said Coughlin. “As we do more and more adjusting, they are picking that up as well … and those that that are here are going to get a good, long look. There are not that many guys working right now and they all are getting a lot of reps.”
Next week begins a three-day mandatory mini-camp, and then following that grind, the players have a nice break until training camp begins. Flowers isn’t the only one to put in work, sans veteran presence, as wideout Corey Washington has also taken full advantage.
Starters Victor Cruz (patella tendon rehab) and Odell Beckham Jr. (hammy) didn’t work on Monday, meaning Washington was able to gobble up the reps. Washington, who was a preseason wonder last year, only to be a non-factor during the regular season, has come into this offseason with a renewed purpose.
The athletic receiver was seen working on the front line of the kickoff return first-team unit, as an outside blocker. And while he admitted he’d rather just be a wideout, he’s taking advantage of every opportunity and hopes that such work ethic and unselfishness gets him noticed by his position coach and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
“I want to show everyone that I’m more than just a jump-ball receiver,” said Washington, who made many preseason highlight reels for being just that.
He added that to erase the stigma of being a one-trick wideout, he “worked hard” at his craft to become a well-rounded player.
“I went down to Greenville, South Carolina to work out at TNT [Team In Training] with Jordan Reeves and he got me right,” he said. “And the team has been working on everything to get me where I am at now. I am not going to speak too fast [about an expanded role on offense], but I’m being used a lot down in the red zone, green zone area, so I figure I can come in [as the] fourth receiver [and in] goal line and the red zone … My confidence level is high. And I am gaining Eli [Manning]’s trust and coach’s trust, so I just have got to continue to work and keep it up – whatever role that is.”
Washington admitted that playing special teams last season was “difficult” to accept at first, because he saw himself as primarily a wideout. But he feels reps anywhere can only get him noticed, with hopes of being on the active roster.
“This [special teams role] is definitely the best path to 53 [active roster], no question, Washington reasoned. “I know how important these practice performances carry over.”
Whether all the extra work helps Washington become a regular in the wideout rotation is still up in the air. But one thing is for sure: the more he can do, the more he can help his cause at being on the official roster.
Big Blue notes:
– Budding defensive end Kerry Wynn worked with the first-team defense. Wynn is getting those reps due to the absence of star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his franchise tender.
– Linebackers Jon Beason and Devon Kennard lined up with the first-team nickel (five defensive backs) package.
– Veteran Truman McBride was the slot cornerback, while rookie Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor started at the safety positions.
– Linebackers Jonathan Casillas (injection) and Jameel McClain (back) missed practice.
– Tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles) was also out of action, and will likely be out until camp, noted Coughlin.
– Defensive ends Damontre Moore (shoulder) and Owa Odighizuwa (leg) were held out of team drills today.
– Cruz was grinding hard again in the far corner of fieldhouse, alongside running mate Beckham (hamstring).
– Veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was rather benevolent towards rookie safety Collins, as he gave up his No. 21 jersey for free. Collins, who originally wore No. 27, requested the new number as a way to pay tribute to his role model, the late Sean Taylor.