Jul 292006
 
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July 29, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Beez

On a spur-of-the-moment move, I decided to drive up to camp for the afternoon session today. In tow were my 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter, so while I didn’t see everything, I thought I’d share what I had a chance to absorb.

We arrived in time to see the players walking through the outdoor corridor between the Phys Ed Building and the RACC, and while at first it seemed no one would stop for the masses to sign autographs (of course, they were on their way to get pads, helmets and off to the field), CB Frank Walker did for one woman. He received an “All right Walker!” from across the way, to which he responded with a fist pump. DE Michael Strahan received the loudest crowd response and he responded with both fists in the air, like a heavyweight champ. DE Osi Umenyiora was in his group (a formidable crew in shorts and t-shirts), and when the “Strahan!” screams subsided, there was a smaller spattering of “Osi! Osi!” hollers.

I read in Marty’s camp report that he made note of CB Curtis Deloatch’s skinny legs. In my notes I had jotted that when Deloatch and DE Justin Tuck walked out to the field side-by-side, at first glance they appeared similar in size…until you focused on the arms. Deloatch’s – wiry, to be polite. Tuck – huge, especially his triceps. The man’s a specimen.

As the players sauntered down the fenced walkway, I noticed: that RT Kareem McKenzie is just a hulk of a man, built like a large brick – he shuttles, more than he walks; MLB Chase Blackburn, for some reason, just looks healthy; OG Rich Seubert walked with QB Rob Johnson, and as they did, he put his arm around Johnson while they walked, talking and smiling; CB Corey Webster and HB Derrick Ward walked out together, laughing and joking the whole way; you can’t miss CB R.W. McQuarters – his very thick, very long hair goes as far down his back as about 3 inches into the top of his 2-5; DE Eric Moore and SLB Reggie Torbor came out together, and walking side-by-side, they look very big and very strong; DE Mathias Kiwanuka looks lean, and he responded to a couple people on the left side of the walkway who were calling to him by coming over and shaking their hands, all the while wearing a huge “I’m happy to be here” smile; and, the threesome of DT Damane Duckett (6-6, 313), DT Jonas Seawright (6-6, 335), and DT Fred Robbins (6-4, 317) made the most gigantic impression as they headed toward the field together. Only Robbins stopped at the very end of the line to sign something as the other two went on ahead.

My kids and I sat under one of the trees on the embankment, down toward the back corner. We first watched some kickoff drills, and while there was nothing extraordinary, I did note that Tom Coughlin was yelling encouragement OT Bob Whitfield’s way as he hit some hand-held pads. (“That’s it! That’s it!” he called out to the old fella.) In a separate kickoff drill, I noted that while most seemed to run the drill at three-quarters speed, it was Eric Moore who really seemed to push himself through it a few times, at least, showing some quickness and agility. Also notable was that toward the tail-end of this drill, WR David Tyree removed his helmet between turns and seemed to be sucking wind while the others appeared fine. (At that time it was sunny and in the mid-80s.)

I took some notes as the teams lined up, offense vs. defense, as players shuttled in and out. (A given here is that the players, in most cases, let up as the play unfolded – still just in shoulder pads and helments.)

  • On Eli’s first play, WR Amani Toomer got underneath CB Sam Madison on the left side and Eli lasered the ball in. Toomer caught it, juked around Madison and was gone.
  • Next play, Eli threw low to WR Plaxico Burress – maybe knee-high – and like his hands were stones, the ball jumped off. A very catchable ball, but a drop.
  • QB Jared Lorenzen was up next and hit TE Jeremy Shockey, who then put a nice juke move on SS Gibril Wilson. His next attempt was headed for WR Sinorice Moss about 25 yards deep, left, but Moss slipped before the ball arrived. Lorenzen then put the ball into the hands of TE Visanthe Shiancoe (right in the breadbasket), and he dropped it.
  • Eli stepped back in and hit Tyree on a short out as he pretty much torched CB Brandon Williams. Next play, I didn’t catch the receiver, but on the coverage, CB Gerrick McPhearson all but mugged the wideout and Eli’s throw sailed over the top. We could expect a penalty on that play, in a game.
  • Tyree – I’m pretty sure it was Tyree (this was when my daughter was asking for the camera) – ran down the left, angling toward the sideline, and Tyree got behind CB Kevin Dockery, and Eli floated the ball up and over – pretty. (To get a visual, recall Eli’s touch pass to WR Jamaar Taylor, going left, in their rookie preseason.) Eli definitely has this pass down.
  • Lorenzen back in – he looks toward Plaxico, who slows as the pass is unleashed, and underthrown. An ugly play.
  • Moss comes in on a quick slant from the left and Eli zips it in to him, complete.
  • Shiancoe tries a similar slant, but Eli underthrows him (at his feet).
  • Proving the toss to Tyree wasn’t lucky, Eli pulls the same toss from his bag, this one to a healthy looking (knock on wood) Tim Carter, this one on the right sideline. Perhaps pissed off that he’d been beaten, McQuarters dragged Carter down after the catch. (Overall, McQuarters is active on the field. He seems to be involved quite a bit.)

They then brought a defensive drill closer to the tree-lined hill, covered by fans. As Marty mentioned in his report, Jeff Feagles played QB for this one, and while things were, for the most part, at half- or three-quarters speed, it was apparent that DT Barry Cofield was learning the ropes in the middle of the D-Line, while WLB Gerris Wilkinson was often running stunts with MLB Nick McNeil. (I know – who?)

Strahan and Osi were where you’d expect them to be during these drills, and in the middle a lot, together, were DT William Joseph and Robbins. A time or two, they swapped sides as the cadence was called. MLB Antonio Pierce and WLB Carlos Emmons also appeared to be working on stunts, and FS Will Demps pulled a couple delayed blitzes, coming from center field.

When the other defensive squad was running stunts and blitz drills, Kiwi and Tuck were coming from the corners, and up the middle were Seawright and DE Adrian Awasom. The LBs in for this group were SLB LaVar Arrington and Chase Blackburn.

Shortly after, the coaches brought the teams together, and appeared to run the first-team offense against what you might believe is the first-team defense at this early stage. Here’s how it went, as all four QBs were shuttled in and out:

  • Eli overthrew Toomer, who was clearly held by Webster.
  • Eli handoff to Jacobs, off left tackle – very quick, but still appears to be standing somewhat upright (if he’s receiving tutelage from Eddie George, I don’t imagine this style will change any time soon).
  • Eli hands to Tiki, left – Strahan was in the backfield just after the handoff, coming around the left side. If this is a live play, he drags down the ball carrier for a 4-yard loss.
  • (Wilson talking a LOT, and LOUD on the defensive side of the ball.) Plaxico goes toward the left sideline, maybe 15 yards deep, but he’s doubled by Wilson and Madison, and Eli throws over Plax’s head (it was borderline high, making you wonder if it was thrown away or just missed – the optimist in me says Eli saw the tight coverage).
  • Ward takes an Eli handoff up the middle – Brandon Short would have obliterated him if the play was live. He plugged the hole very nicely.
  • Tim Hasselbeck stepped in and pitched left to Jacobs, who got through the first hole all right, only to encounter LA, who reminds me of a shark trolling for food. Many of the folks seated around us were laughing as both Jacobs and LA delivered little “bumps” to one another. You could see LA wanted to take on the kid, and it was fun to watch Jacobs doing his thing.
  • Hasselbeck hit a quick screen to Toomer, who was left completely uncovered. Would have gone for big yards up the sideline.
  • On a misdirection right, Hasselbeck rolled left and completed a short out to TE Wade Fletcher.
  • Johnson stepped under center, handed off to HB James Sims, and the hole up the middle closed immediately.
  • DTs Marcus Green and Awasom (I know, listed as a DE, but lined up Saturday as a DT) had some confusion, and flip-flopped, then Johnson hit WR Willie Ponder crossing to the right. It was complete, but wouldn’t have amounted to more than a few yards, as people closed quickly on defense.
  • Johnson then tried a toss to WR Anthony Mix in the left flat, but he underthrew it badly and it was nearly picked off by McPhearson (who seems to close very quickly).
  • Johnson hands off to Little John Flowers right, but there’s no room.
  • Eli steps back in, and after a nice ball fake (not quite a Brett Favre fake, but getting close), Eli threw toward Shockey, who was crossing to the right. Shockey slid on the ground for the catch, to the delight of those on the hill.
  • A counter handoff to Jacobs, who really seems to enjoy bouncing off people.
  • Next play, Shockey and Moss shifted and settled on the left, then the handoff went to Tiki, who picked his way off right tackle (as he will). He had 4-5 yards easy before the first contact came.
  • Next play Eli drops to pass, and the most notable thing this time is that LA is in the backfield in a wink. He let up some, of course, but he drove the OL (didn’t catch who – perhaps Whitfield) 5 yards deep. Eli’s throw was then rushed and he overthrew Plax.
  • Hasselbeck back in, and he tries going left to Moss, but Deloatch broke it up nicely. Notable – Duckett got a nice push and good pressure on the QB.
  • Hasselbeck hands off to Ward, right side, but Blackburn and Walker were camping out in the backfield. Would have been another 4-5 yard loss.
  • Hasselbeck complettes a short pass to Shiancoe, but Blackburn had his hands on Shank the second he caught it. Very short gain.
  • Hasselbeck hands to Sims – CB E.J. Underwood was in the backfield, but Sims got around him and turned the corner, but it looked like Underwood let up some, too, almost as if to say, “I had him, game over.”
  • Lorenzen came in and missed WR Triandos Luke terribly – Luke went on a fly pattern, straight, and Lorenzen missed him way inside. And his big windup and release look, in a word, lazy.

The team lined up for FGs next, and my son had a great time on the hill, trying to field some of Jay Feely’s kicks, along with about 30-40 other kids and big kids. Not sure on the count, but Feely made either 6-of-7, or 7-of-8 from varying ranges (his miss was from the far right hash mark), the longest appearing to be from about 35-37 yards.

Last thing before the thunder and lightning ended things roughly a half hour early was the 7-on-7 drills. These aren’t all the plays, but most, as I saw them:

  • Eli back to pass, pumps right, pumps left, then drops in a beauty to Toomer about 30-35 yards downfield (who, by the way, probably would have been called for a push-off, but it was still another pretty play).
  • Moss in motion right. and Eli zips it in to Carter on a slant in. Madison was on Carter like a glove and they both went to the ground grabbing at the ball, but Carter wrestled control, it appeared.
  • Eli hits Moss with a perfect short bee-line in the flat.
  • Eli hits Shockey underneath Blackburn, then Shockey heads upfield around Blackburn…bringing a smile to some around me was the fact that Charlie Peprah was closing, and it appeared that Shockey half-wanted to lower a shoulder, but didn’t. This time.
  • Eli hits Shiancoe with a nice pass – maybe on his hip, but there, still – in the right flat…and Shank drops it.
  • Eli has nice zip on a pass to Plax along the left sideline in front of Deloatch.
  • Eli hesitates/pumps, and Toomer appears to just stop over the middle and Eli snakes the ball in to him. (These two seem to be on the same page, by the way…not to say Eli’s not on the same page with others. Just an impression.)
  • Hasselbeck steps in and splits splits Williams and Wilson to hit Carter with a nice 15-yard pass.
  • Hasselbeck then throws a Billy Kilmer duck 25 yards down the left sideline toward Luke, but Dockery gets a hand up and knocks it away.
  • Holy CRAP, everything people have been saying about Moss and his lightning quickness was showcased on the next play. He darted across the middle from the left slot, and I mean he was just THERE, in a friggin’ blink, and Hasselbeck hit him in the gut, just as quick. I pray we see at least 5-6 plays a game designed for this kid, because he’s going to break a handful of them. Really fun to watch. What a draft!
  • Johnson came in, and looked left, looked left, all the way, then telegraphed his pass toward Ponder, but by that time, Wilson was all over it and mauled Ponder. Incomplete.
  • Moss in motion right, then on the snap crosses left. Meanwhile, Plax criss-crosses right and is wide open. Johnson hits him in stride. The play looked nice.
  • Johnson looked right, right again, checked off and went left to Tyree, but threw behind him.
  • Johnson tossed a quick pass underneath to again, gonna say Shivers – wearing 45), but Short was right there to wrap him up.

(Weather update – at this point, it’s clouding up and thunder is rolling in the distance, so the kids and I start to pack up, as others around us do, too)

  • Lorenzen tosses a very lazy (again, that’s what comes to mind when he throws) deep ball, slightly wobbly, and overthrows WR Michael Jennings – badly.
  • Lorenzen looked confused at the line, stepped back, checks left then hands off to Flowers for a time-filling nothingness play.
  • Lorenzen then threw a nice, tight spiral to the right to Mix for 20-25 yards, but it was broken up VERY nicely by Underwood.
  • Eli steps back under center, takes the snap, looks left, then right, then appears to just chuck the ball toward the middle of the field where no one is. Out of nowhere (to me, but not Eli) comes PLax (poof!) who makes a sweet grab (over his head – sticky hands) in front of Demps, for about 20-25 yards. A crowd-pleaser, to be sure.
  • Eli then flipped a quick-hitter out in the flat to Moss, with Shockey outside him…and on this screen Moss was just GONE. Damn, he’s quick, and VERY shifty. I’d say he reminds me of Meggett, but I don’t think Meggett was THIS quick. Moss is really explosive.
  • Another nice play came when Jim Finn and Shockey (Finn outside, Shockey out) lined up side-by-side on the right flank of the OL, then both went on out patterns. Carter came across from the left slot, trailing, and Eli hit him in stride.

Big thunder was approaching, and with lightning seen in the distance, there were a handful more plays but the coaches soon were sending the players in. None of them appeared to be signing, as the skies darkened, so the kids and I headed to the car. We got to within 100 yards of the lot, alongside the tennis courts, when the sky opened. Aside from taking pictures, it was a highlight for my drenched 5-year-old. A really fun spontaneous day for the Beez clan, and even Mrs. Beez enjoyed it, as she was able to clean the house and pay bills unabated.

I am so ready for the season!

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