Sterling Shepard
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Eli Manning was red hot and Pat Shurmur on Sterling Shepard’s Week 1 availability highlighted a New York Giants practice day. 

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The New York Giants returned to the practice field on Sunday afternoon as they prepare for their third preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.

The game against the Bengals should serve as a barometer on what to expect from the Giants in the early part of the season. It’s the famed “dress rehearsal” exhibition content, so the anticipation is heightened.

One player who appeared to be ready for the season opener on Sunday was quarterback Eli Manning, who completed 10 out of 12 passes in 11-on-11 drills. Manning has only played two series in the preseason so far, but expect Shurmur to give him extended playing time on Thursday.

Other news and notes

Two players who did not practice on Sunday were Golden Tate and Dalvin Tomlinson. Tate was in concussion protocol while Tomlinson was dealing with a personal matter. In Tomlinson’s absence, Olsen Pierre took several reps with the first-team defense, and it appears he’ll be in the defensive line rotation this season.

With rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker unable to practice due to a sprained knee, and Antonio Hamilton unable to practice due to an injured groin, Henre Toliver saw time with the first-team defense at corner. Later on in practice, rookie Corey Ballentine was in at left corner, and Jenkins moved back to his regular right-cornerback spot.

There has been speculation on whether or not Sterling Shepard would be on the field when the Giants take on the Cowboys in Week 1. Following practice, Shurmur was asked if he expects to have his number one receiver on the field against the Cowboys.

“We believe so, yeah. Absolutely.”

The Giants will be back on the practice field Monday morning as they continue their preparation for the Bengals.

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.