The Giants concluded OTA practice No. 8 Tuesday, the last practice open to the media before training camp begins on July 24 (the rookies will report on July 22).
Here are a few leftover thoughts from the spring OTAs and minicamp practices.
Shurmur has said all along that he’s optimistic that his injured players who missed all or part of the OTAs and minicamp will be good to go for training camp.
What he hasn’t said, though, is who will receive a full green light to go versus who might be limited.
To recap the list of veterans who missed all or part of the spring practices include tackles Nate Solder (ankle) and Mike Remmers (back); tight end Evan Engram (hamstring); edge rusher Markus Golden (knee); defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (unknown); safety Sean Chandler (unknown); and cornerback Antonio Hamilton (unknown).
Solder and Remmers are of particular interest, given that both had off-season surgeries. While the Giants are no doubt anxious to see what their new offensive line will look like, don’t be surprised if Solder and Remmers are both limited in the early part of training camp, which opens July 24.
The reason why the Giants can afford to bring both of those veterans along primarily has to do with the players next to them on the line.
In Solder’s case, guard Will Hernandez is entering his second season and is at a point where he doesn’t need Solder to hold his hand as much as was believed to be the case last year.
And in Remmers’ case, he has Pro Football Focus’s top-graded guard in Kevin Zeitler playing next to him.
At some point, the projected starting offensive line is going to need to get together and take a few snaps to get ready for the season.
In this particular case, the veteran presence of the guards will not only benefit the line on the field, but it will also ensure that the two recovering tackles are fully ready to go once the season starts.
Speaking of injury concerns, it finally emerged that a strained hamstring is what’s kept tight end Evan Engram on the sideline since last week’s minicamp.
"I feel good," Engram said. "Definitely just out there running, definitely out there watching the guys compete. I feel good. Working with the trainers, just taking it easy."
Engram was asked if he could go if this were training camp, the preseason or even the season.
"I mean, that’s all on the trainers and coaches. I feel good. I feel good with where I am at. That’s a decision for the coaches and trainers."
Both Engram and Shurmur have tried to downplay the injury, saying they’re trying to be smart with the tight end’s reps, but it’s starting to become a bit of a concern that Engram can’t seem to avoid some sort of ailment that ends up costing him either practice time or games.
With receiver Odell Beckham Jr gone, Engram figures to be an even more significant part of the offense moving forward, especially given the success he’s had without Beckham in the lineup.
This is also a big year for Engram in that after this season, general manager Dave Gettleman will need to decide whether to pick up the option year in Engram’s rookie deal.
Engram certainly hopes to cash in, especially since his role in the offense looks like it will be expanding.
"I try to be as versatile as I can be. I like making plays when the ball is in my hands," he said. "The coaches did a really good job last year of working around not having ‘O’ (Odell Beckham Jr.) and trying to get guys in different positions.
"Definitely going to look forward to doing more of that this year, and like I always say, just doing whatever I am asked to do to the best of my ability."
Let's hope he starts by finding an answer to the nagging injuries that have crept up.
It’s not uncommon for rookies and veterans to stay behind to get some extra work in, but in the practices that have been open to the media, the amount of players who delayed hitting the showers in favor of getting in some extra drills has unofficially been at an all-time high.
That’s no doubt exactly what the coaches want to see. If, as former center Shaun O’Hara claims, everyone inside the Giants headquarters “feels the heat.” it’s good to see that the players have gotten that message early.
And speaking of extra credit, Shurmur sounded pleased that he had near perfect attendance at the voluntary OTAs.
"I do think it means something when the players get something out of being here," he said.
"I believe that when you train together, you learn something from the people that you are training with. I also know that if you are going to build chemistry--we have a lot of new and a lot of young--the more time they can spend together, the better."
Above all, the attendance, Shurmur said, shows that the players are in it for more than just a paycheck.
"It shows that they care and it shows that they think what we are doing is important," he said. "I think the time they spend together is going to help in the long run."