July 30-31, 2005 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practices)
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor jaenyg
I have been to the last two morning practices. Here are some observations:
Eli Manning is head and shoulders above any QB on the roster. He might have some second-year struggles, but it’s all over without him. Watching him you know he’s going to be special.
Until you lay eyes on him in person, you have no idea how huge HB Brandon Jacobs is. No corner is going to want to tackle him; hopefully he can get that far into the secondary.
The three teams of offensive linemen as been this – First team: Petitgout/Diehl/O’Hara/Snee/McKenzie. Second team: Whitfield/Seubert/Lucier/Whittle/Winey. Third team: Smith/Kelly/Tidwell-Neal/Pears/Hilliard. Gary Walker has practiced but not in 11 on 11’s. When Whitfield comes in on the first team at either tackle, Lewis Kelly takes over second team tackle.
If training camp is any indication, WR Amani Toomer is going to be fine this season. He is really lighting it up. Manning has been going to Toomer, WR Plaxico Burress, and WR Jamaar Taylor equally but he hasn’t developed much with WR Tim Carter yet. Plax has worked the sidelines well. What is interesting with him is that his height and long arms work well towards the sideline with balls in front of him but has soon as his hands go above his head they become stone-like. I think when he has to look up, his focus falters. The play he got injured on was a lob ball that he easily should have had over the smaller corner but he struggled for it and got tangled up. He does show good separation and soft hands when the ball is out in front of him though.
Take the note I wrote about Manning and the QB’s and substitute Shockey and the TE’s.
It is true that all sorts of combos of defensive tackles have been used with the first team defense. However, almost every first team combo had Damane Duckett in it. I don’t know the real reason for this but he has looked good along with Kenderick Allen and Kendrick Clancy. Clancy is not that big for a “nose tackle” but he is pretty quick and has been standing next to the red shirted QB when they throw quite often. In 11-on-11’s, the defensive tackles have owned the interior of the offensive line. I haven’t seen to much out of the defensive ends. The second team has been DE Justin Tuck and DE Eric Moore with Tuck lining up on Strahan’s side.
The third team rotates with the rest. One thing that I do see is that Strahan looks like he cakewalks through everything, not really being a leader for a crop of young defensive ends. DE Osi Umenyiora has smoked Luke Petitgout a few times.
MLB Antonio Pierce is the man. When the first unit lines up there is a ton of communication being shouted and it is almost always Pierce leading the talk. He is extremely instinctual. Today when WLB Barrett Green went out from the first unit for some rest, T.J. Hollowell took his spot. But later in practice it was Kevin Lewis on the weakside with the first team. Greisen was always second team middle linebacker.
Gibril Wilson and Brent Alexander have been the two starting safeties so far. When you don’t hear Pierce, you hear Alexander. He may stick another year because the secondary seems clueless without him. On Saturday, the second-team safeties were Shaun Williams and Jack Brewer, but Brewer was MIA today and Art Thomas took over for him. Occasionally James Butler would rotate in with the second team.
CB Will Allen has been up-and-down. The first day Toomer was ripping him but today he seemed better. There is no denying his speed has no one could out run him but we all no his problem is locating the ball while maintaining good coverage. In press drills with the wide receivers, CB Will Peterson shines. Today, CB Frank Walker had a great day. He stayed step for step with Toomer on one fly pattern that fell incomplete and on one play Manning tried to pump and go on Frank with Tim Carter going full speed and Frank broke up the perfect pass. He has good man to man skills but he lost track of WR Willie Ponder on a play where he was playing either off or zone.
You can tell that special teams will never be a weakness with this coaching staff; they really focus a lot of time and effort on it. The punt returner position seems wide open, but Ponder still looks like the best option for kick returner.
That’s all for now. I will be back at camp on Tuesday.