The fourth addition of organized team activities for the Giants featured a nearly 100-percent attendance record. And while a couple of vets weren’t present, those who were put in serious work on Wednesday.
Head coach Ben McAdoo has been quickly imprinting his philosophy as the new man in charge. The neophyte showed some disappointment in the vets who weren’t there, like wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, but admitted these OTAs are voluntary and that he expects a perfect attendance by week’s end.
“I don’t think there’s anything positive when someone can’t be here. We’d like to have everyone here, and obviously we have a few guys that aren’t here today, [but] they reached out. They communicated and that’s what we ask,” McAdoo said. “These are voluntary practices and when they can’t be here, we just ask that they communicate that and the guys who have missed today have been outstanding with attendance.”
Coaches may not want to hear that for the most part, OTAs are the most useless thing in sports, as there seems to be more risk than reward for players – especially for key stars and high-priced players.
But for the guys on the roster fringe, and for newcomers trying to impress their new bosses, they see these workouts as an opportunity to get noticed and stay in the coaches’ good graces.
There were plenty of those types of guys putting in serious work on Wednesday. Former University of Miami Hurricane Shane McDermott saw reps at right tackle and both guard positions with the first team, as well as plays at his customary center position behind starter Weston Richburg.
Former practice squad tight end Matt LaCosse was also seen working with the first team, deftly catching passes from Eli Manning – something that seemed unlikely just a season ago, whether it was in a game or even practice.
Oft-injured defensive end Owa Odighizuwa was paired with freshly-minted free agent Olivier Vernon with the first team and showed flashes of why he was a highly-regarded third-round pick, last season. Odighizuwa, who practically missed his entire rookie campaign with foot and hamstring injuries, knows he’s disappointed some and is looking to show that he’s not a bust.
He noted these OTAs have been a good start for him so far.
“My goal is to show everybody that I am that third man they’re looking for in that pass-rush rotation and that is my mentality every single day,” he said. “I didn’t get the opportunity to show them what I can do, last year, so that is what this year is about for me. It’s an opportunity. That is how I look at it.”
The one guy who is looking for an opportunity, and whose clock is ticking, is running back Andre Williams. Many Giants’ fans think the former Boston College star is on borrowed time, as he’s yet to fulfill the promise that helped him become a Heisman Trophy finalist and one of the best running backs in the 2014 draft. But for Williams, who’s piled up less than 1,000 rushing yards and just eight total touchdowns in his career, he hears the whispers.
And after the Giants selected another promising running back in the 2016 draft, former UCLA star Paul Perkins, if the whispers aren’t enough, then Williams has seen firsthand that his spot isn’t guaranteed.
McAdoo said Williams can use this time as a way to get noticed again by the coaching staff.
“Andre just needs some reps. He looks good right now. He’s moving around well. He’s fluid. He’s working a lot on catching the ball and doing a nice job for us there,” McAdoo noted. “We’re spreading the reps around. It’s early. It is June, but we’ll see more from Andre when training camp rolls around and we get the pads on.”
Williams said as long as the door is ajar, he knows he has a shot at impressing his coaches and keeping his foot in the door.
“I wholeheartedly agree with Coach,” Williams said. “I know what I’m capable of and I look forward to being able to show that on the field this year.”
Big Blue notes:
- McAdoo said wideout Victor Cruz (knee) is “progressing” and will be held out of team periods until training camp.
- Running back Orleans Darkwa (leg) will hopefully be back for the start of camp, said McAdoo.
- Landon Collins and rookie Darian Thompson were mainly working as the first-team safeties.
- Rookies Sterling Shepard and Eli Apple also saw a ton of reps with the first team at wideout and cornerback, respectively.