Eli Manning Odell Beckham Jr.
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There were several things that stood out during the New York Giants three day mandatory minicamp last week.

The New York Giants concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday and while there’s only so much you can take away from since the team was not in pads, a few things stood out.

Odell Beckham Jr. Looks As Good As Ever

Surgery on his fractured ankle may have left some ugly scarring, but Odell Beckham Jr seemed fully healed from the devastating October injury.

Despite Pat Shurmur saying Beckham has been cleared to practice, he didn’t participate in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills. However, he did work with the other receivers during position drills and caught passes from Eli Manning and the rest of the quarterbacks.

All signs point towards Beckham being a full participant when training camp opens in July.

The Giants Will Use A Plethora Of Formations On Offense

Under Ben McAdoo, the Giants were in single-back formations with three wide receivers with one tight end the majority of the time. That won’t be the case under Shurmur.

The Giants will, of course, run three-receiver sets, but they’ll also implement formations using fullback Shane Smith to lead the way for Saquon Barkley. They’ll also use two receivers with two tight ends to throw off defenses.

A few times throughout minicamp, the Giants had Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer split out wide with Evan Engram in the slot and Rhett Ellison lined up next to Nate Solder. Once training camp starts, Beckham will take the place of Latimer and will give the Giants a dynamic lineup that will give defenses headaches. 

Linebackers Are No Match For Saquon Barkley

It’s without question that the most impressive player in minicamp has been Saquon Barkley. Throughout rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Barkley recalls only dropping one pass.

“I did. I dropped one. That is something that I pride myself on. You come out here every single day and you want to be perfect. When I mean perfect, I don’t mean a perfect player, but you want to go through practice without drops. Sometimes it reassures you that you have to get back on the jugs and catching after practice.

There is a ball that I caught 100 times and I dropped it because I was trying to turn up field instead of securing the catch. I kind of worked on that after and it has not happened since. That is just a part of the game. I hate making mistakes but I love making mistakes. I love having MA’s (missed assignments) and drops. It reassures you and makes you get back on your grind, lock in and focus a little more. It is better to happen now and in practice than in week one against Jacksonville or preseason against the Browns.”

When the Giants would throw swing passes to Barkley with a linebacker covering him, Barkley was out in front of the linebacker by 5-8 yards. There was one play in particular in which Barkley was about 10 yards ahead of Olivier Vernon.

Linebackers simply don’t have the speed to cover Barkley who should have over 50 receptions in this offense if provided the necessary targets.

The Defense Is Excited About James Bettcher’s Game Plan

James Bettcher loves the effort his players have given and the players love the aggressive nature of his defense.

“Starting back in April, I think we sat in as coaches and defensively, you start to try to formulate what your vision is for how you want things to go. And I stood here, same place back then and talked about what we were hoping to accomplish during the offseason was to build a mindset in our defensive room, and that doesn’t happen unless players buy in, players believe. That doesn’t happen unless guys are willing to come and be here and be present when it’s voluntary. And that’s one thing I can say about our guys here, is our players have had their hands in the pile, they’ve been working extremely hard.”

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was asked how he feels about the new defense.

Q: How do you like this new defense?

A: I love it. It is an aggressive defense. Coach (Bettcher) is doing a good job.

Q: Do you like him as a coach?

A: Yes, I love him. He understands the game, is an aggressive play-caller and understands the way his guys play. 

Landon Collins, who was kept out of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills during OTAs and minicamp, was asked about his impressions of Bettcher’s defense.

Q: How would you describe Bettcher’s defense?

A: If I were to describe it, I would say, like what I came from in college, honestly. When he came in and he started coaching, it was like I’m back to kind of my grounds and stuff like that. Still quarters, still stuff like that, but back to my grounds from what I had learned in college. It’s kind of second nature.

The Giants Will Be A More Physical Team In 2018

In minicamp, there’s limited contact between the offensive and defensive front seven. As Dalvin Tomlinson explained to me, the contact is just for hand placement.

Although there was limited contact, it’s obvious the new additions to the offensive line in Will Hernandez, Solder and Patrick Omameh, as well as B.J. Hill, Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin to the front seven, will add much-needed physicality and aggressiveness to the team.

We saw how intense these two units can get as on the final day of minicamp when Hernandez and Damon Harrison got into a scuffle where Harrison swung Hernandez’s helmet at him.

Expect more heated exchanges from these two units in training camp minus the helmet swing as they push each other to make one another better heading into the season.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.