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By: Ed Valentine
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The New York Giants are in Ohio for joint practices against Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns on Thursday and Friday. The teams will work together for two days, then meet in a preseason game Sunday at 1 p.m. at First Energy Stadium.
“To me the trust factor’s huge, which is part of the reason early on me and [Browns coach] Kevin [Stefanski] talked way back in the offseason about the possibility of doing this and part of it is because of our relationship and our experience together. That helps because then you can work together,” Giants coach Joe Judge said earlier this week. “When you go into these practices, you want to be with someone that you have a relationship with because then you can work together and make sure, ‘hey, what do you need to see? What do we need to see? Let’s work together to make sure we all accomplish that.’
“Whether it’s Kevin or Bill [Belichick] or other places I’ve been with or other guys we’ve worked with, it’s very important in these practices to have a relationship. The players have to understand going in, it’s going to be competitive. That’s the nature of football, right? It’s another team that’s going to be competitive. Just like out here, we don’t want to get out there and make it something that’s not football. We want to get out there and work against each other and keep it between the lines and keep it between the whistles and make sure we play hard, we protect ourselves in every play, but we’re also working with the other team, as well.”
Stefanski told Cleveland media that his relationship with Judge is critical to the success of the practices.
“It is a huge deal. I know what Joe is about. I know what he believes in,” Stefanski said. “There is that relationship there where we know our two teams and then I think you can get good productive work when you have that.”
By way of background, Judge and Stefanski were briefly teammates at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Pa. Stefanski beat out Judge for the starting quarterback job on the freshman team. Judge later transferred to Landsdale Catholic High School in Lansdale, Pa.
Here are a few things to watch.
Saquon won’t be a full-go
Saquon Barkley won’t be a full participant as he continues to work his way back from last season’s knee injury.
“I wouldn’t plan on putting him in 11-on-11 at this point. We’ll see if there’s something else we can slide him into drill-wise,” Judge said. “At this point, until the doctors give me the green light, I’m not going to throw him into any live contact drills or anything of that nature. We want to be careful as we go through it, but we just have to keep on pushing his body. When the doctors say that he can go further, we’ll keep pushing him further and further.”
Hello, old friend
Beckham, of course, was always the center of the universe when he was a Giant. We know Giants GM Dave Gettleman is “happy” with what he got in return when he traded Beckham.
Giants co-owner John Mara will be happy to see Beckham.
“I think it’s a trade that will work out well for both sides. Obviously, the players that we added have been big contributors for us,” Mara said. “I expect Odell to have a great season. I still have a great relationship with him, I’ve texted with him. I’m looking forward to seeing him next week.”
Giants defensive backs are excited about facing a talented Cleveland receiving corps.
“I’m looking forward to facing the entire Browns team,” said cornerback James Bradberry. “You got some good receivers other than Odell: Jarvis Landry, (Rashard) Higgins, Donovan Peoples (Jones), so they got some good receivers all across the board that I’m ready to go against.”
it is uncertain if Beckham, rehabbing from his own knee surgery, will participate in team vs. team drills.
A test for the offense
The Giants won’t have their full complement of offensive players during these two practices. Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Kyle Rudolph will be missing. Perhaps John Ross, as well.
Can the Giants offensive line protect Daniel Jones against an excellent Cleveland defensive front? Can the Giants look competent on offense despite their missing players?
i asked offensive coordinator Jason Garrett this week what he was hoping to see during the joint practices.
“As much as anything else, it’s about just getting out there and competing. Again, Cleveland’s a good team. It’ll be a good challenge for us with the guys they have on their defense and their defensive scheme, so we’ll go run our offense against them,” Garrett said. “The guys who are available, let’s take advantage of that opportunity. The guys who aren’t available, stay close to it and try to learn what you can from the situation that you’re in. So continue to try to grow, continue to try to stack good days on top of each other.”
Stay with Big Blue View for full coverage over the next couple of days. Use the Twitter stream below for updates from a handful of Giants beat writers who will be in Cleveland. Check SB Nation’s Dawgs By Nature for the Cleveland perspective on the festivities.
Practice begins both days at 2:15 p.m.
- Jason Garrett on the opportunities created by injuries, youth on offense and more takeaways
- For Giants offense, a few silver linings Saturday in the run game
- When will the Giants address the offensive line depth?
- Thomas McGaughey on veterans, newcomers, and more takeaways
- Dave Gettleman: “I’m happy” with Beckham trade, and more takeaways