While some are counting down till the beginning of summer others are waiting for fall Sundays and NFL football to begin. The first mandatory team mini-camps has recently occurred for the New York Giants and it was an opportunity to evaluate how the 2018 draft class performed and see how the veterans are holding up. While people focused on the performance on the field there is one characteristic that seems greatly different from Big Blue since the end of the 2017 season and that change is in the attitude department.
One alteration in mental mentality was shown by the most talked about Giant of them all and that is Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ is one of the most talented players in the NFL yet due to on and off the field antics, Beckham Jr has felt criticism from fans and scribes around the league and even those faithful to the G-Men. Adding to the drama was the reports that OBJ could be traded this past offseason and the speculation that OBJ would hold out this pre-season because he is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Well, the trade talk and holdout conversation was put on hold as Beckham Jr. participated this week in the mandatory minicamp. While the Giants and OBJ have not reached an agreement on terms of a new contract it was an act of good faith and illustrates how Beckham Jr. wants to get better and be a part of the Giants organization.
The second change in attitude comes from the offensive line in two different forms. The first form comes from the Giants 2nd round pick Will Hernandez who made an impression when Hernandez got into a scuffle with pro bowl defensive end Damon “Snacks” Harrison. While teammates fighting in practice could and should be frowned upon this incident can be taken in a positive light. For the last few seasons, the Giants offensive line has been pushed around. Now, before even an exhibition game Hernandez showed the moxy to stand up to one of the premier defensive linemen and not back down. That type of attitude has been lacking on the G-Mens frontline and Hernandez could be the force that helps rejuvenate Big Blues offensive line.
On the topic of beleaguered offensive lineman, no one has been publicly criticized for poor play more than Ereck Flowers. The lack of productivity from Flowers lead to the signing of Left-Tackle Nate Solder which meant Flowers was going to need to move to right tackle. Initial reports stated how Flowers was upset and might be traded. At the start of camp, it appears that Flowers is ready to accept his new position. If Flowers excels at Right-Tackle David Gettleman will have upgraded two positions, Left-Tackle and Right Tackle, with the signing of Solder and moving Flowers to Right-Tackle.
While these are all positive signs from a 3-13 season we have to take a deep breath and remember this is minicamp. A lot can happen from mid-June till the beginning of September, while the attitude change in June is important victories in November and December are critical.