Training camp got a much-needed jolt this week and a welcome change of scenery, as the Giants headed to Michigan to bump pads with the Lions in a series of joint-practices before Friday’s preseason contest in the Detroit.
The joint-practice setup is something the Giants haven’t done much in the past, but the organization is trying breaking out of its comfort zone with the new initiative. It also throws a welcomed curveball at the players.
The opportunity to test themselves against the Lions gives the Giants a game-like feel to their practices, with a different playbook and personnel. This is the scenario set against the backdrop of the Giants not only wanting to get ready for Week 1, but also pare down their roster ahead of the regular season.
Pat Shurmur, Landon Collins and Kareem Martin sound off on the dual practices with the Lions, while Shaun O'Hara details how the team can benefit from the trip.
The idea set forth by the Giants’ coaching staff isn’t to beat the Lions, but to improve across the board.
“I think when we do training camp here, we really don’t change our environment like some years or some teams that go away,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said on Monday. “So this is a good event for us also to be a team away for a few days. There [are] some esprit de corps to that, some bonding, so we’ll take advantage of that and then, again, it’s new players against a new scheme, we’ll just try to do what we can to make sure we get work and don’t have those flare-ups.”
For the paranoid, there’s no chance of another edition of “Spygate” happening. There are strict guidelines in place to make sure that film doesn’t get out on either team, Shurmur said.
Seeing different faces allows the Giants to be cut loose and step up their competitiveness.
“Honestly, because you’re going against somebody different each and every day, you can test as a team, you can test other players and you’re not going against your own players,” safety Landon Collins said. “You can finally get more aggressive with your teammates.”
But there’s also a downside to practicing against a different team. Exhibit A is the scuffle this week during a joint-practice held between the Jets and the Redskins.
So while the Lions pose a fresh practice partner for the Giants, there is the risk of fights waiting to break out at any moment.
“[You have to] stay disciplined, stay within your technique and understand you have to be disciplined out there and under control,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “Get together with your guys and don’t do anything extra.”
[Watch Giants Training Camp Live Wednesday at 6 PM on MSG & MSG GO.]