Giants head coach Joe Judge didn't have this in mind for his first rookie minicamp in his new position in New York, but the video conferencing that occurred last week for the team went much better than expected.
All draft picks for the Giants were introduced to the organization in every way except stepping foot in the East Rutherford, N.J. facility. Still, Judge and his coaches got a great feel for how the rookies have been working while getting acclimated to their new NFL life -- even if it isn't the exact way they dreamed it would be.
"I am very pleased with how they have been working," Judge said on MSG 150 at Home. "We had our rookie minicamp last week, which was really our first exposure as an entire organization to them and them to us in terms of laying out our expectations and what we're going to demand from them."
The main thing people think about when it comes to rookies is learning the new playbook. While that is an obvious task, Judge explained how the schemes and plays is just the tip of the iceberg.
"The biggest thing with these rookies is that it's far from just the X's and O's that are important," Judge said. "With these rookies, it's so much about just teaching them about the league. Teaching what it takes to be a professional, how important their bodies really are to them and how accountable they are to really maintain the shape they are in to compete."
Like Judge, the rookies have had positive things to say about the video-only minicamp, like LB T.J. Brunson.
"Because of everything going on right now, I think this is the best option we have," he told the New York Post last week.
Cornerback Chris Williamson also explained how this truly engages the mental aspect of the game instead of just the physical side that everyone sees.
"Football is such a physical game, but it's also a part of the mental makeup. Guys who are successful at the NFL level, it comes from the mental aspect of the game," he said.
It isn't just the rookies who have been working with their new coaches through video conferencing. All players have been going through meetings to learn Judge's new system, including free agents who are in the same boat as the rookies. Players like James Bradberry and Blake Martinez have yet to meet their new coaches and teammates in person.
But that will come down the road. On paper, though, Judge knows this group of free agents, rookies and Giant veterans will all mesh really well.
"I think we definitely got smarter," he said of the free agent pickups. "And that's what we were looking to identify. We didn't try to answer any one question in free agency or say we're going to address this side of the ball now, and then in the draft later. We were really looking at what fits us as a whole team. And what players we can add -- in the way we want to be identified as a team. And I think the guys we added really do that. They have good experience in the league.
"We wanted to make sure that when everyone shows up to training camp, everybody understands we're going to be going full speed. This train is moving, so we have to get going fast."