Eli Manning, Daniel Jones
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The first day at New York Giants training camp features the Daniel Jones debut and a tough Sterling Shepard injury.

Jason Leach

The New York Giants had their first training camp practice session on Thursday as the team looks to bring back credibility to the franchise after going 8-24 over the last two seasons.

The team did not practice in pads, but it was a lively practice, especially for the first of the season.

One of the players who is poised to play a pivotal role in changing the Giants fortunes is receiver Sterling Shepard, who the Giants rewarded this offseason with a four-year contract extension. Shepard is poised to have the best season of his four-year career now that Odell Beckham Jr. is a Cleveland Brown.

But Shepard wasn’t able to make it through the first practice without a setback. He fractured his thumb towards the end of practice and is officially listed as week-to-week.

It’s never a good time for a player to go down with an injury, but with the start of the regular season six weeks away, the Giants are optimistic Shepard will be available for Week 1 against the Cowboys.

Other news and notes

Rookie Daniel Jones misfired on a few passes early, but rebounded, and put forth a solid practice, showing accuracy and touch on his deep passes. He connected on deep passes to Alonzo Russell and Shepard, prior to his injury.

There had been speculation on whether 17th-overall pick Dexter Lawrence would play nose tackle or one of the end positions in James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense. On Thursday, Lawrence lined up primarily at right defensive end with Dalvin Tomlinson playing nose tackle and B.J. Hill on the left side.

As far as the rest of the first-team defense goes, Lorenzo Carter and Kareem Martin were at the two outside linebackers, with Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson and Tae Davis all taking reps at inside linebacker.

For the secondary, Janoris Jenkins and rookie DeAndre Baker were at corner, with Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea at safety. Grant Haley was the nickel corner with the first-team defense and rookie Julian Love played nickel corner with the second-team defense.

It’s unknown at this point on who is the favorite to be the team’s punt returner this season. On Thursday, several players took reps fielding punts including Corey Coleman, Golden Tate, Brittan Golden, Jabrill Peppers and Antonio Hamilton.

Players that stood out

Receiver Alonzo Russell helped his case for earning a roster spot on Thursday as he caught several mid-range and deep passes throughout the afternoon. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton started at right corner with the second-team defense and forced a fumble by Rod Smith by punching the ball out. Hamilton also almost made a diving interception off a pass that was deflected at the line of scrimmage.

Play of the day

Second-year linebacker Lorenzo Carter made the play of the day at practice when he intercepted a screen pass by Eli Manning that was intended for Saquon Barkley. Not only did Carter show athleticism in making the interception, but he also showed great awareness as he read the screen coming, and stayed with Barkley rather than rushing towards Manning.

The Giants will hold their second practice of training camp on Friday at 2:45 p.m. ET

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.