August 4, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Both Practice Sessions)
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Pegasus Parking Goose
The morning session began at 8:40AM and was marked as much by the extreme heat as by any noteworthy plays. For the most part, most of the players looked sharp and practiced at a reasonably fast pace. Old reliable WR Amani Toomer drew the largest ovation hauling in a nice over the shoulder catch from QB Eli Manning. Perhaps sensing a heat far greater than the Albany temperatures, WR Willie Ponder was very active nabbing several catches, although Eli overthrew him on a deep route on which he looked poised to make a play. Little known TE Darcy Johnson, wearing number 48, a rookie free agent from Central Florida, made a couple of nice grabs, including an outstanding one-hander from Eli. Also worthy of mention was number 15, WR Michael Jennings, who has caused as much buzz in camp regarding his “pimped ride,” gold teeth, and choice of tee-shirts as by his play. However, on this morning it was his pass-catching acumen and quickness which was on display, hauling him two passes from QB Jared Lorenzen, one from Rob Johnson, and one from Eli. Speaking of Lorenzen, he probably looked his sharpest of all the backups, though none of the quarterbacks had what you would call a good morning. Some of the negatives: LB LaVar Arrington looked tired and out of shape. TE Jeremy Shockey, WR Plaxico Burress, and WR Sinorice Moss all did not practice, although Shockey was the only one not in uniform.
The evening session began under the threat of rain clouds and although the thunder in the sky never seemed to gain any momentum, the thunder from the Giants defense surely did (more on that later).
The opening drills of the evening focused on the punt return unit. The four men back for punt return duty were Chad Morton, R.W. McQuarters, Michael Jennings, and Sinorice Moss. Moss did not participate in drills though he was there for the schooling. Regarding the three who did participate, several things did jump out. First, Chad Morton looks a bit stiff until he catches the ball, but then accelerates in and out of his cuts as quickly as anyone I’ve seen including Tiki Barber. Second, R.W. McQuarters looks as fluid tracking and catching punts as anyone I have ever seen, though not as quick as Morton once the ball has been secured. Third, Michael Jennings once again looked solid yet not spectacular in all areas.
After the punt return session, the team broke down into group work and I was paying special attention to the linebackers, in particular LaVar Arrington . After charging into a practice dummy being held by a coach “Mr. Nickels” stumbled around like he had a concussion. Then he sat around getting his helmet fixed for five minutes while the rest of his unit worked their butts off. (Note to Mr. Arrington: If you can’t find a helmet that fits get a haircut!) Once back in drills, Arrington walked around with his head down displaying terrible body language. If there was a positive regarding Arrington, it was that he surely seemed to perk up once the starting 11 on defense faced off against the starters on offense. However, it was more of an overall team effort on defense as they clearly out-hit, out-hustled, and out-performed the offense.
One offensive player who was not out-hit was HB Brandon Jacobs, who flat out laid the wood to anyone who tried to fell him. Later, during an extended autographing session for number 27, I remarked to him how obvious the bounce in his step was. To which he cheerfully replied, “You noticed that bounce huh?” Lastly, FS Will Demps and CB Sam Madison look extremely aggressive and by all appearances have become fast friends. Also number 97, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, looks absolutely huge, a great sign considering the Giants lack of big dominating players.