EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Heading into his second season as coach of the New York Giants, Joe judge went out of his way to point out that this is a new season and a new team after players arrived for training camp.
One thing didn’t change on Tuesday as veterans reported. COVID-19 is still an issue.
The Giants on Tuesday removed first-round draft pick Kadarius Toney from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and added leading tackler Blake Martinez and safety Joshua Kalu to the list.
Toney, a wide receiver from Florida, had tested positive last week after reporting with rookies at the Giants’ team headquarters in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“(Toney is) with us today in the building, so he’s back with us,” Judge said after talking to his players in the morning. The coach added that Toney won’t be pushed on the field until he’s ready.
The news about Martinez, a veteran inside linebacker, and Kalu surfaced after players went through drills to test their conditioning.
Judge said the team’s staff and coaches are vaccinated. He would not discuss the team’s vaccination rate.
“We’ve had a number of meetings with our players, that they understand that if they’re not vaccinated the protocols that are tied into that,” he said.
The obvious one is they have to wear masks when near other players.
The Giants went 6-10 in their first season under Judge, finishing second in the weak NFC East. They lost a chance to win the division when Washington defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the last game of the regular season.
After a 1-7 start to the season, the Giants went on a four-game winning streak but went 1-3 down the stretch.
Judge said he wants this team to be well-conditioned and develop good fundamentals and chemistry.
“This training camp is about getting our players in football shape, starting to have an identity as a team to build going forward, and building this season and ourselves ready to go out and play,” he said.
Judge said the Giants will continue to hit in training camp, something many teams tend to avoid. He believes it helped his team avoid injuries last season.
The Giants made a number of important offseason moves, signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph in free agency and adding Toney in the draft. The defense added cornerback Adoree Jackson in free agency and linebacker Azeez Ojulari in the draft.
Veteran safety Logan Ryan, signed by New York after training camp last season, says he is always optimistic heading into camp. The key, he said, is getting the new players adjusted to the Giants’ style of play and systems. That’s the purpose of training camp and the off-season programs, he said.
“Great players help you win games,” Ryan said. “Great players that play great together make great units. And that’s what we’re trying to create, great units and obviously a great team.”
The Giants face two big questions — can Daniel Jones be more consistent and emerge as a top NFL quarterback in his third season, and can running back Saquon Barkley return from an ACL injury? The offensive line needs to improve and the defense needs to play as well as last season, when Pat Graham’s unit was the biggest surprise on the team.
“I think, you know, at this level, in this job, we’re all expected to perform and play at a high level every day, and that starts today,” Jones said. “So … I certainly feel that (pressure). I think everyone on the team does. I think that’s healthy. I think that’s the way it should be, and I know we’re excited for the opportunity.”
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL