New York Giants Readying Themselves For the Mandatory Part of the Offseason
May 25, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo answers questions from the media during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone is expected at mandatory minicamp this week now that the voluntary OTAs are over for the New York Giants. 

The New York Giants concluded their final organized team activity on Friday and head coach Ben McAdoo feels as if his team has some momentum going into next week’s mandatory minicamp.

“Well, they are finished,” McAdoo said of the OTAs on Friday. “It is good to have eight weeks in. We are looking forward to minicamp next week, but we got a lot of teaching and learning done. That is the goal and it looks like we have some chemistry going.”

The minicamp begins on Tuesday and will run through Thursday. After that, the Giants won’t assemble as a team again until training camp, which begins the last week of July. The difference between OTAs and minicamp? Not much rules-wise. There’s still no contact permitted (“live” blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run, etc.) but the feel will be slightly different as the coaches amp things up a bit.

“We will make the day a little bit longer, take our time a little bit more, but everything is in from a teaching and learning standpoint,” said McAdoo. “We just have to polish it up. We will get a little bit longer on the field on Wednesday, but other than that, it is really just an extension of the offseason program the last week.”

McAdoo said he liked the chemistry of the new players blending in with the old. The Giants have added quite a number of new faces on both sides of the ball and on special teams over the offseason.

The coach was reluctant to talk about attendance as the mandatory part of the offseason begins, as several players, such as WR Odell Beckham, Jr. and DEs Olivier Vernon and Owa Odighizuwa skipped OTAs altogether.

“I expect everyone to be here,” McAdoo said. “I am not spending time talking about attendance, but yeah it is minicamp and we look forward to everyone being here next week.”

Beckham is said to be pondering holding out for a new contract, or a more lucrative extension anyway. He has been working out in California but came to New York last week for a promotional appearance, so the team expects him to at least appear at the facility. They have not heard from any of his representatives thus far regarding any type of holdout.

Why Vernon didn’t attend OTAs is unknown. Maybe he wasn’t kidding when he said he didn’t like cold weather. He signed a huge contract last March (too huge according to most) so his motive can’t possibly be financial. He was in New York this week for a charity event and said he will be here Monday for physicals as well. Odighizuwa is another story. He sent out ambiguous messages on social media recently which have left the Giants wondering if he wants to continue his professional football career. We’ll see if he shows.

What’s with the QBs wearing a glove on their non-throwing hands?

The Giants’ quarterbacks have begun wearing gloves on their non-throwing hands, leading onlookers to ask ….why? QBs coach Frank Cignetti, Jr. told reporters last week that it’s “something that just came up” and for more clarity, you have to ask Eli and the guys themselves what they’re experimenting with it.

“It’s not with the New York Giants, but you look around the league, guys that wear the glove on their non-throwing hand, just get more traction, more grip, and it’s as simple as that,” Cignetti said. “It’s just something that came up. The offseason is a great time to start and see if you’re comfortable doing it.”

When asked if he thought it would lead to better ball security and fewer fumbles, Cignetti wouldn’t get into detail.

“It’s really as simple as this; the offhand is having more grip, better traction on the ball. I wouldn’t read into it any more than that.”

First round pick Evan Engram has been impressive thus far…

One player the Giants are excited about is their first round draft pick, TE Evan Engram. McAdoo confirmed the organization’s fervor for the former Ole Miss star on Friday.

“We are excited about the young man,” he said. “He has a tremendous skillset to do a lot of different things for you. He shows that he is willing as a blocker. Now we have to get some pads on him and get his fundamentals right there. He is a conscientious young man, he works hard at football and seems to enjoy it, he does a nice job in the meetings at this point and I think that he will get better as time goes on. But a lot of times success in this business nowadays, meetings are pretty important. The good players do well in meetings and can take it on the field because there is just not as much time on the field as there used to be.”

Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas has been impressed with Engram thus far, and this is before the bullets, as they say, have yet to fly:

“He is such a dynamic player at the tight end position with his skillset, he is going to create a lot of mismatches, whether it’s between linebackers, safeties or corners. He is not a small guy. He runs routes just as good as any receiver we have on our team. He creates separation and he has great hands.”

OT Ereck Flowers appears ready to turn the corner on his career…

Another player the Giants are rallying behind is OT Ereck Flowers, the former first-round pick who had a down sophomore campaign in 2016. McAdoo spoke to the dedication Flowers has shown this past offseason to re-sculpt his body and hone his craft.

“He is in tremendous condition,” reported McAdoo. “You can see it as practice goes on and especially in a no-huddle period when the ones run back out there for a second time. He is in better condition, so his feet move a little bit better, his technique is a little bit better and, again, it is still early and we need to get the pads on these guys, especially the big guys, and see how they come along with their fundamentals, but it definitely shows.”

Lewis situation may not be as serious as first reported…

McAdoo addressed the Roger Lewis situation by stating the team will await the legal process to play out before making a determination. Lewis was arrested in Ohio last week on OVI charges (operating a vehicle while impaired) but many feel the case against him isn’t a strong one. Giants director of player development David Tyree said this week that he believes Lewis, who pleaded not guilty, could be exonerated once his side the story comes out.

John Fennelly has been covering the New York sports scene on the Internet since 1997. He has advised and been published on dozens of prominent websites and in major periodicals and can been heard on sports talk radio stations all over the dial. Before embarking on his career as an accredited journalist, John held several management positions in a successful 25-year career in the financial industry. He holds a degree in New Media/Journalism from Queens College.