Late in practice on Thursday, the Giants were told to line up near the goal line, run a short sprint and then get back to the huddle for the next play. It looked as if the extra bit of conditioning running was a punitive measure, but in fact it was all part of a plan.
A day later, new head coach Brian Daboll explained.
“It wasn’t anything like they made a mistake or did anything like that,” Daboll said Friday. “I think that you need to be at your best when you’re tired. A lot of games come down to the fourth quarter in this league, and when you’re tired, maybe you’re not concentrating or focusing as much as you need to. Kind of short sprints there, put them right back on the line of scrimmage, call a play quick, get them lined up, make sure they know who’s in the game.
“And everybody’s operating when they’re tired. It’s not like it was 40 sprints or anything like that, but still a short, quick sprint to get their wind up a little bit and get them out there to play and operate and execute a play.’’
Daboll did not bring this idea with him from Buffalo.
“I talked to some really good coaches in the offseason to try to improve myself, ask a lot of questions,” he said. “If you run sprints at the end of practice and you come up and you break it down, and there’s nothing else going on after that. So, we’re doing a little bit of that before the practice ends and then putting them in a situation, whether it be the last play on the goal line, a big fourth down, 17 seconds left at the 18-yard-line in the red zone. And try to have them do it when they’re tired. I think that’s important.”
Second-year CB Aaron Robinson has caught Daboll’s attention, but not in a good way. Robinson on Thursday nailed wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson in the back, sending the rookie to the ground for a few seconds. On Friday, Daboll yelled at Robinson after he hit receiver David Sills too aggressively. The Giants are not in pads yet and this sort of physical activity is frowned upon.
The first three camp practices all featured different offensive and defensive situations.
Wednesday, it was the red zone. Thursday it was third and short (between 2-5 yards). Friday it was third and long (longer than 5 yards) and the offense struggled in this more stressful environment.
“That’s why you practice,’’ Daboll said. “You learn from it, and you move on. You see if you can fix the things you need to fix.”
With starting center Jon Feliciano sitting out after experiencing heat-related issues a day earlier, DT Dexter Lawrence dominated the line of scrimmage, single-handedly blowing up several plays.