At around 11:35 a.m. Friday morning, Giants defensive back Dravon Askew-Henry was sent off on a lonely lap around the East Rutherford training grounds.
During the early stages of the first of two Giants’ intrasquad scrums at this truncated training camp, Askew-Henry, a former New Jersey Guardians and the late XFL, responded to Joe Judge’s punishment of a way that might be an endorsement of the head coach’s old-fashioned tactics for the first time.
Sign up for Giants Extra: Get exclusive news, behind-the-scenes observations and the ability to text reporters directly with reporters
A possession after being left with nothing but his thoughts to keep him company as he ran the perimeter of the field, Askew-Henry jumped the road along the sideline and crushed a pass from Alex Tanney intended for wide receiver Tony Brown on the ground. Two games later, Tanney tried to place the ball in a narrow window for Brown, and Askew-Henry swept it as well.
Given the Giants’ lack of quality depth at the cornerback, Askew-Henry has an opportunity to push for a roster spot and playing time.
Askew-Henry wasn’t the only player fighting for a position that intensified in Friday’s scrum. Here’s a look at other sleepers, who put on quality duct tape for coaches to study the scrum:
WR David Sills
Whether catching assists from Daniel Jones or Colt McCoy, Sills was a quarterback favorite for the Giants on Friday. Halfway through the scrimmage, Sills raced down the sideline, beating cornerback Grant Haley a step and a half as McCoy led him perfectly for a touchdown. Sills later hit a neat tailoring course, beating James Bradberry and opening up to catch Jones’ second and final touchdown of the day.
After Cody Core was lost for the season with a torn Achilles, Sills appeared to be the favorite to replace him on the special teams. However, Sills appears to be building a solid relationship with Jones and could also push for playing time on offense, especially if he continues to build on Friday’s strong performance.
DB Julian Love
Love’s place on the roster, entering his second season, is assured, but the former Notre Dame may well find its way into the starting lineup after a dominant performance on Friday. During a red zone spell, Jones targeted an open Golden Tate in the end zone, but Love recovered to snatch the ball away from Tate, turning what appeared to be an easy touchdown when Jones released the ball into a interception.
The versatility will help get Love onto the pitch, but he could push for some starting safety work, if his performance in Friday’s scrum is a harbinger of what will happen the rest of the summer.
TE Garrett Dickerson
The Giants have a crowded room for tight ends, but Garrett Dickerson makes a good point.
Dickerson caught two touchdown passes on Friday, one from Cooper Rush, and later from Colt McCoy just as the pocket collapsed around the veteran quarterback.
Evan Engram and Kaden Smith are the keys to making the list, but if Dickerson continues to stack impressive performances in training, he could be at the forefront for the No.3 position.
LB TJ Brunson
Tanney led wide receiver CJ Board on a pass down the middle, leaving him exposed, and TJ Brunson quickly introduced himself. Brunson lowered his helmet and pushed Board to the ground for a thunderous blow that shot his teammates in defense. One of three linebackers chosen by the Giants at the end of the NFL Draft in April, Brunson has a reputation for being a punishing hitter, and he lived up to it on Friday morning.
RB Javon Leake
Leake, an undrafted rookie from Maryland, showed plenty of flurry, including leaving a defender along the sideline for a good win late in the fray. He also had some great catches out of the backfield.
If the Giants keep four running backs, Leake has a real chance of making the squad, and maybe if he continues to show the kind of potential he did on Friday, he could beat veteran Wayne Gallman. .
Graham Gano for a perfect start:
The veteran kicker, who arrived at camp on Wednesday, didn’t miss a basket in Thursday’s practice and was a perfect seven-on-seven in field-tryout while adding two more points in Friday’s scrum. At one point during a special teams period, Gano appeared to split the uprights with a lot of room to spare from over 50 yards.
James Bradberry lives up to the challenge
Bradberry, signed as a free agent this spring, is expected to be the Giants’ top cornerback.
When he faced arguably the Giants’ top wide receiver, Sterling Shepard, on Friday, Bradberry did a good job shaking the ball to break a touchdown pass early in practice. Although he allowed a late touchdown pass to David Sills without any safety help, Bradberry looks set to provide the kind of stability in the secondary the Giants desperately need.
Wayne Gallman runs with a goal:
Saquon Barkley’s workload was limited during the second half of the scrimmage, and Gallman took advantage of his opportunity.
Gallman, pushing for the No. 3 running back position behind Barkley and Dion Lewis, landed a right tackle and emerged from a stack of players for a big win that saw Jones make a touchdown pass to Kaden Smith four games later.
Saturday is a day off for the Giants, who return to practice Sunday morning with five more practices leading up to an intrasquad end-of-training camp scrum under the lights at MetLife Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday.
Receive Giants text messages: Get through the mess of social media and text directly with writers. Plus, exclusive news and analysis. Register now for a free trial.
Please Subscribe now and support the local journalism you rely on and trust.
Follow Matt Lombardo on Twitter and Instagram at @MattLombardoNFL. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.