Giants Rookie Minicamp Notebook

The X-man, the Odell trade comparison, and best wishes to Corey Ballentine

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.— Giants head coach Pat Shurmur prides himself in keeping his emotions under wraps when he deals with the media.

But at one point during his press conference to open the Giants 2019 rookie minicamp, Shurmur at times seemed extra careful when he spoke about the tragic shooting that injured draft pick Corey Ballentine and claimed the life of Ballentine’s teammate and friend, Dwane Simmons.

“I am disappointed that he was the victim of a crime,” Shurmur said.

“He is a great young man. We got to know him really well through the draft process. My son trained with him at EXOS, so I had some knowledge of what a great man he is.”

Shurmur, who excused Ballentine from this weekend’s minicamp so he could take some time to recover from his injuries and the trauma, added, “It is very unfortunate that he was a victim of a crime. That could happen to any of us.

“We are here for him. He is going through the vigils and the funerals, the things that he has to go through. We are here to support him as he comes back to us. We are just here for him. Thoughts and prayers go his way.”

While the Giants are optimistic Ballentine will make a complete recovery, they’re not about to rush the young man onto the football field.

“Again, this is a unique situation. We want him to get full closure on his end. We are sensitive to that. This is a real-life situation,” Shurmur said.

“It is May. We play in September. We want to make sure he gets done on that end what he needs to and gets the help that he needs.”

Unfair Comparisons

The Odell Beckham Jr trade happened almost two months ago, a deal that netted two rookies and one young veteran (safety Jabrill Peppers), all of whom play defense.

Yet the debate seems to continue raging on regarding whether the Giants received equivalent value in return.

The fact is that judging the return the Giants received for Beckham is never going to be a straight apples-to-apples comparison. Thus this continued questioning of the players involved—in the case of the rookie camp, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and edge Oshane Ximines—and whether they feel any added pressure to match the impact of a generational talent like Beckham somehow isn’t fair.

If one or all of those players were receivers, then maybe you could make an argument. But again, all are defensive players, and in Lawrence and Ximines’ cases, they’re rookies whereas Beckham has been in the league a lot longer.

I’m not sure, then, what criteria those who continue to question the trade are going to use to measure the return on investment, but I do know that doing so is pointless since the deal cannot be reversed.

To their credit, Lawrence and Ximines understand that there is a false sense of pressure to live up to the legend that is Odell Beckham, instead preferring to live up to the expectations put on them by themselves and by the Giants coaching staff.

“I don’t feel pressure. When they called my name, that wasn’t on my mind. Today, that’s not on my mind. I’m a football player. I’m a defensive tackle; he’s a receiver. I got to go out there and make plays and do what I can.”

Ximines echoed those sentiments.

“I remember seeing the trade, but I didn’t think it would be me (as a player being part of the trade,” he said. “But it is, so all I can do is be myself and that’s what I plan on doing.”

Call Him the “X-man”

Speaking of Ximines, the third-round pick out of Old Dominion, he said he hadn’t heard of the moniker, “X-man” until draft day, but now that he’s heard it, he loves it.

“That’s the first time anybody has ever called me X-Man, but I love the nickname actually, and I hope to keep that going,” he said.

“I got a few of my friends back home calling me that now, and I just feel like it’s going to keep going in the right direction.”