July 28, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
The air-horn had just sounded to begin the opening of the summer’s first Giants practice. Within the next five seconds, as Coach Coughlin was walking past him, LB LaVar Arrington gives Tom a friendly smack on the tush – a very loud and very exuberant smack on the tush – as if to say, “OK boss, let’s get this show started.”
I couldn’t believe it and I don’t think Coughlin could either. He didn’t know whether to smile or yell at the huge linebacker. If LaVar were any bigger, he’d have tusks. I couldn’t hear what was said, but Coughlin’s body language screamed, “Mr. Arrington, if you EVER do that again, it had better be immediately after the Giants win the Super Bowl!”
The Giants were on an upper practice field wearing helmets, shells, and shorts. There was no hitting, but a number of players did their share of grabbing. The day was muggy and overcast and most of the practice took place in a light rain. There was a bit of wind that must have made it a bit more bearable for the players, yet it did not have any apparent effect on the throwing accuracy of the quarterbacks that was quite good.
Generally, everyone looked in pretty good shape and did pretty well. This is a significant statement because in prior years there were players (OL Deterding comes to mind) that you could just look at and say, “This guy is too fat, too slow, too untalented to make the team.”
The only player that seemed to have a bit of trouble was QB Rob Johnson. He held onto the ball a bit too long and even had to throw one pass away. As he had never seen the playbook before this year, I will give him some slack in that regard. Otherwise, his arm strength seemed as good as the other QBs. The quarterback order is Eli, Hasselbeck, Johnson, and then Lorenzen.
LB LaVar Arrington practiced. He did not look slow or uncomfortable. He did grab a great handful of TE Visanthe Shiancoe’s, but otherwise he looked good. Whether he will practice in the afternoon remains to be seen.
WR Sinorice Moss is fast, but at least on one play in the 11-on-11′s, CB Sam Madison had no trouble covering him. Along with HB Chad Morton (who looked fast and agile) and a few others, Sinorice returned punts that were kicked by second stringer Travis Dorsch. Dorsch is not a threat to replace Jeff Feagles, who did not punt today.
The punt to Moss was into the wind and that held it up. The Giants, who may have some speed on special teams this year, had formed an impenetrable wall in front of Moss and would have killed him. Then two defenders graciously lifted up their arms as one does in “London Bridges” so that Sinorice could slip through underneath and run it back. We all laughed. Clearly, with experience, Sinorice will learn to fair catch those punts.
The one play on which Moss really shined was an end-around with what appeared to be a nifty, no-look, behind the back hand-off from Eli. Eli is so good at disguising a hand-off that it makes me want him to do it at least once every possession.
LB Gerris Wilkinson looks big and strong. He nearly picked off a pass. He leapt and it went through his outstretched arms.
CB Sam Madison was notably explaining the finer points of defensive play to CB Corey Webster, the other starter at cornerback. That’s another benefit that Madison brings to the Giants.
CB R.W. McQuarters has braids that stick out from under his helmet and go halfway down his back. It is very Preditoresque. So is the way he plays cornerback. He may get a lot of calls against him. CB Frank Walker made the only notable pass defense. Unfortunately, it was about 50-50 whether he interfered with the receiver. CB Curtis DeLoatch also knocked down a pass.
FS Will Demps practiced and did not appear to be limited in any way. The same for LB Carlos Emmons, who blocked a pass.
They may not have a chance to make the squad, but they looked good: RB Little John Flowers, who finally got a jersey number (30), got onto the field and looked good running and catching a pass. The same can be said for RB James Sims, who has some speed and wiggle in his run.
Linebackers Chase Blackburn and Antonio Pierce played with no apparent discomfort. OG Lewis Kelly did not dress and watched from the sidelines. FS James Butler was not dressed and left early.
OC Grey Ruegamer and OG Rich Seubert spent a lot of time swapping center and guard positions.
Stars of the Practice:
TE Visanthe Shiancoe caught at least half a dozen passes – everything thrown his way. Unlike last year, he was not awkward or uncomfortable. He was impressive. I was very surprised. Maybe he is feeling some pressure from Boo Williams. It is too early to tell whether this good play will continue. We have to wait and see.
WR Tim Carter. He looked fast and flexible catching a bunch of passes, including an over-the-shoulder sideline pass of about 20-25 yards that was well-defended. We will see if he plays in the afternoon.
The starting tackles on defense are William Joseph and – drum- roll – Fred Robbins.
The first sign that Eli and his receivers might not be on the same page was one of the first plays in the 11-on-11 drills. Eli Manning threw the ball to TE Jeremy Shockey, who did not turn around for it. It hit the ground several yards behind him and it was clear that Shockey was upset about that. On the very next play, Manning threw the ball to Shockey again. This time Shockey caught it and threw the ball straight up in the air in celebration.