Jun 292007
July 28, 2007 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor UAGiant

Training camp began under dark and dreary skies for 2007, but that didn’t keep the team off the practice fields to start their annual return to the University at Albany. Coach Coughlin was greeted to a round of applause as he made his entrance to the field this morning. He waved to the fans and seemed to be in high spirits, joking that he wishes the weather would be a bit more cooperative. The team entered as two large groups, as the receivers and linemen made a late entrance to the field.

From the get-go, a few things were obvious. First and foremost, Michael Strahan was absent from the field. Though it should come as no surprise, Strahan is continuing his holdout. Despite rumors that would have you think otherwise, Mathias Kiwanuka remains a starting linebacker with that unit. Though little can be concluded from the first practice of the season, he was used very close to the line and seemed to blitz quite frequently. He seems massive amongst the linebacker group, as he’s tall with an incredible wingspan.

In Strahan’s place, however, is William Joseph. He completed a unit consisting of himself, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, and Osi Umenyiora. The linebacker group was Kiwanuka, Kawika Mitchell, and Antonio Pierce. The secondary was shuffled quite frequently, but Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters seemed to stand in with the first unit the most often. The safeties were also shuffled frequently, but it seemed James Butler and Gibril Wilson were on the field most often.

The other point of interest throughout the offseason was in regards to the left side of the offensive line. At least from today’s camp, it appears David Diehl and Rich Seubert will hold down the ever-important left side of the line, with the rest of the line remaining unchanged from last year. Guy Whimper did run with the second team at the tackle position, with David Diehl playing at his former guard spot.

Onto the specifics of the session.

Quarterbacks: While it’s much too early to read into anything and knowing full-well that his mechanics are undergoing “improvements”, Eli Manning had a performance most would peg as below expectations. In particular, he had a few plays that were rather inexcusable for a player entering his fourth season. One that really stands out occurred when it appeared that the play broke down and he stood in the pocket, almost lost, for much too long and then lobbed up a sloppy pass. However, Eli did seem to connect nicely on a few passes with his receivers and looked sharp at times. The inconsistency, however, is still a question mark that hangs over him.

On the other hand, Jared Lorenzen had a very strong performance today, making smart decisions and delivering beautiful passes. One in particular was delivered to a breaking TE Kevin Boss, which hit him in stride and allowed him to turn it up field for what would have been a nice gain.

Anthony Wright did not see a lot of action, but was rather inconsistent in his performance, as well. Some passes sailed on him, others hit their mark.

Tim Hasselbeck performed rather poorly today. He was inaccurate and displayed his lack of arm strength in a few spots. He looks like the odd man out in this group.

Wide Receivers: Amani Toomer was on the field for his one-a-day practice and, while not up to speed, showed encouraging signs. In particular he made a beautiful leaping catch. His speed seems to be returning, but I’d imagine he may have taken into consideration the field conditions today before going full speed. Plaxico Burress seemed to do what you’d expect him to as the #1 receiver, but he did have trouble bringing in one pass from Eli which was bobbled and intercepted. Discouraging to see that even in training camp.

The two receivers that gained a lot of attention throughout the offseason had strong showings today. Sinorice Moss had a pretty brilliant morning session, displaying speed and catching a few passes in tight spaces. It’s encouraging seeing him on the field after last offseason, which seemed full of “maybe tomorrow”. Steve Smith showed why he was the #2 selection in the draft, running crisp routes and displaying good hands. He did have one minor issue with a pass, but seemed pretty comfortable in his first camp. Both were used in end-arounds and both seem to have great speed.

Other receivers also demonstrated things to talk about. Brandon London had a brilliant, acrobatic catch along the sidelines and was consistent throughout. As one person quipped in the crowd, “Its nice seeing #82 finally catch something.” Michael Jennings seemed to perform well with Lorenzen, but struggled on a few from Manning.

Running Backs: Another unit that’s garnered a lot of attention since the retirement of Tiki Barber, a lot of promise was shown today. The obvious first person to look at is Brandon Jacobs. Already a physical specimen, he seems to have worked out this offseason and is in even better shape than last season. It seems he’s been working on staying low, as well. His speed is incredible for someone his size and it’s really something to watch him open up when he’s at the second level.

Reuben Droughns and Derrick Ward both seemed solid. Nothing really spectacular about their days, but Ward seems to be running close to full speed.

Ahmad Bradshaw opened a few eyes, as one of his best runs was on a cut back that he turned into a big gain based on his speed and elusiveness. I don’t want to say he reminded me of Tiki Barber, as that’d be a stretch, but he has Tiki-esque moves that will likely secure him a spot on this team.

Tight Ends: One of the more humorous things to occur today was listening to the crowd react to a pass caught by a tight end and turned into a big gain. The initial reaction was a number of “Shockey!” cheers. The only problem was, the player was wearing #89. Kevin Boss is a very tall and well built player who showed good speed for someone his size and the ability to catch and run with the ball. The one play in particular saw him get separation from his defender and turn up field for what would have been a great play.

Shockey, however, remains a strong factor for Eli’s performance, as a lot of his passes this morning were in his direction. Other tight ends were in today, but none really made a strong mark.

Special Teams: The returners for the morning were Jennings, Moss, Ross, and Bradshaw. No one seemed to have issues in regards to returning.

Of important note is the fact that Jeff Feagles was missing in action. No one really seemed to have an idea where he could be, but he was not on the field anywhere. Cory Ohnesorge was taking over his duties for the day. He has a good leg and can boom them, but it seems as if all his kicks are extremely returnable. Hard to say if it was the specific drill or his style.

Kickers were Lawrence Tynes and Josh Huston. Neither attempted any kicks or did much of note besides Huston taking long snaps from Grey Ruegamer.

Jun 282007

BigBlueInteractive.com Interview on the 2007 Giants: Interview with Eric from BigBlueInteractive by Brian Moore of FootballHangout.com

Article on the 2007 New York Giants: Coughlin, Manning to Feel Heat If Struggles Continue by Tom Pedulla of USA Today

Quotes: QB Eli Manning on the 2007 New York Giants: “We had a great mini-camp, great energy, great enthusiasm among the players. Guys are excited about the season. We’ve been working hard and looking forward to training camp, and seeing how good we can be this year…We’re on the right steps and doing the right things to becoming a good team. It’s just a matter of putting everything together and playing consistently the whole year.”

Jun 202007

New York Giants Sign LB Zak DeOssie: The Giants have officially announced that they have signed LB Zak DeOssie, their 4th round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. The contract is reported to be a 4-year deal.

The Giants signed DT Jay Alford, their 3rd round pick, last week. The Giants have six other draft picks who remain to be signed.

New York Giants Waive Three: The Giants have waived LB Jason Mitchell, CB Darren Barnett, and OT Gabe Hall.

Article on QB Eli Manning: Pressure’s On Manning, Off Pennington by Sal Paolantonio of ESPN.com

Article on the Giants’ Defense: The Rush Is On to Improve the Giants’ Defense by Clifton Brown of The New York Times

Jun 162007

New York Giants Veteran Mini-Camp Ends: The Giants’ three-day veteran mini-camp ended yesterday. The veterans will be off until they report to training camp in Albany in late July. The rookies will participate in another four days of conditioning and orientation sessions before heading home.

Injury Update: CB Aaron Ross (head) returned to practice on a limited basis. DE Osi Umenyiora (unknown injury) practiced.

DT Jay Alford (thigh contusion) did not practice. S Craig Dahl (unknown injury), who has not practiced much since he signed with the Giants, practiced on a limited basis.

DE Michael Strahan (foot), DE Justin Tuck (foot), and WR Amani Toomer will likely only practice once per day when training camp starts on July 27. WR Plaxico Burress (ankle) and CB Corey Webster (hip) may be limited to one practice as well.

Notes and Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Gilbride says David Diehl is the front runner at left tackle. “Right now David is way ahead,” said Gilbride. “We’re hoping that Guy (Whimper) catches up.”

Earlier in the week, safety Will Demps was working with the second unit. Yesterday, Demps was back with the first unit and Gibril Wilson was with the second unit. It appears that the Giants are trying to give James Butler more practice snaps with the first unit.

QB Anthony Wright was sharp in practice yesterday. QB Eli Manning looked better.

Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn said that Ryan Kuehl will be long snapper this season. “Ryan is the snapper,” Quinn said. “He’s done a good job of it. Zack is a good snapper, but obviously it’s a step up from college.”

Quinn says there is no clear favorite for the place-kicking position and that there will be an open and fair competition between Josh Huston and Lawrence Tynes.

The Giants are considering shifting TE Michael Mathews (6-4, 270lbs) to fullback.

DE Osi Umenyiora on former Giants’ Defensive Coordinator Tim Lewis: “I liked Tim. A lot of guys didn’t like him. I’m not going to say I was in love with Tim Lewis, but I didn’t have the disdain for him that a lot of people obviously did.”

LB Kawika Mitchell on Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: “He’s been great so far, really got his point across.”

Jun 152007

New York Giants Sign DT Jay Alford: The Giants have signed DT Jay Alford, the team’s third-round 2007 NFL Draft choice, to a 4-year contract. Alford is the first of the Giants’ eight draft picks to sign.

Day Two of the New York Giants Veteran Mini-Camp: Yesterday was the second day of the Giants’ three-day veteran mini-camp. The Giants held two practices yesterday. There will be one more today (10:15AM-noon).

Injury Update: DE Michael Strahan (foot), DE Justin Tuck (foot), CB Aaron Ross (head), WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), and WR Amani Toomer (knee) did not practice yesterday.

DE Osi Umenyiora (unknown injury) did not practice in the morning, but practiced in the afternoon.

Regarding Ross, Coughlin said, “He fell down yesterday and banged his head. So it is precautionary. They pulled him out of second half of practice (on Wednesday). (On Thursday) it was just a precautionary measure.”

Article on HB Brandon Jacobs: Giants’ Jacobs Hopes Barber’s Shoes Are a Comfortable Fit by Clifton Brown of The New York Times

Notes and Quotes: QB Eli Manning has not been sharp the first two days of mini-camp (four practices in all). He has thrown quite a few interceptions.

With Strahan, Tuck, and Umenyiora out for the morning practice, William Joseph and Tommy Davis started at defensive end.

CB Sam Madison believes that the defensive backs will be more successful in new Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme because the Giants will be playing more man-to-man coverage. “Definitely,” Madison said. “Because now there’s no indecision of where you’re supposed to be. You have that man in front of you and I have that man in front of me and we go out and play. I really think this defense and this team will make a lot more plays.”

TE Jeremy Shockey on HB Brandon Jacobs: “He’s going to have a chance this year to prove to everybody how great a player he is. He has every tangible possible, he’s huge, he’s fast, he’s smart, he’s a great guy. I know he has a competitive spirit like myself, he’s a talker, he’s not a guy who’s quiet. It’s going to be fun seeing a guy 275 pounds running the ball a lot.”

Jun 142007

Giants Lose FB Jim Finn for the 2007 Season: The Giants placed FB Jim Finn on season-ending Injured Reserve yesterday with a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required surgery. Finn had surgery on the shoulder on Monday. His rehab is expected to take 4-6 months. Since the Giants were looking to replace Finn during free agency in March when they offered restricted free agent FB Vonta Leach (Texans) a contract and were also interested in FB Ovie Mughelli (Ravens, now Falcons), it appears that the injury may have also ended Finn’s career with the Giants. In fact, Finn’s football career may be over.

“Jimmy obviously wants to continue his career,” said Finn’s agent. “But we’ll have to talk to the doctors to see how much damage was done and if he can play football again.”

Publicly, the Giants are saying Finn injured the shoulder late last month in Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices despite the fact that OTA drills are supposed to be non-contact and there are whispers that Finn’s shoulder has been bothering him for some time. It is the third time that Finn has had surgery on his right shoulder. Finn also suffers from severe arthritis in that shoulder, according to the Giants’ press release.

Robert Douglas is the only fullback on the roster right now. “He’s athletic enough to get out on the edge and do a lot of things,” HB Brandon Jacobs said of Douglas. “He’s most definitely big and strong, so he can go in there and bump heads with anybody.”

New York Giants Three-Day Veteran Mini-Camp Begins: The Giants’ mandatory 3-day veteran mini-camp began yesterday. The end of the mini-camp on Friday also marks the end of the Giants’ off-season program. The veterans will be off until summer training camp begins in Albany on July 27. (The rookies will stay for another week).

There will be two practices today (10:15AM-Noon and 3:00-4:45PM) and one on Friday (10:15AM-Noon).

One of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s messages to his team was to stop talking so much to the press. “I think, basically, we talk too much,” said Coughlin. “What we would really like to do, and I’ve talked to our team about it, is do our playing on the field, let our playing do our talking for us, not spend so much time trying to explain who we are and where we are. Let’s just play the game. Talk is cheap.”

MLB Antonio Pierce feels that much of the problem had to do with HB Tiki Barber, who retired after last season. “You respect how (Tiki) plays on the field, but at the same time, enough is enough,” said Pierce. “When the shit hit the fan, we needed somebody to chill out a little bit. You can’t keep that going week after week…Tiki’s not here no more. He’s part of the media. He’s a great Giant, we wish him the best in the media. But that was his comments and his views.”

Injury Report: It was revealed yesterday that WR Plaxico Burress had surgery on his left ankle three months ago. He was limited to sideline drills yesterday. “He has an ankle that was cleaned out this offseason,” said Coughlin. “So he is going to be working on the side and in the meetings. But he can’t go…I think Plaxico will be able to go full speed in camp. ”

“I’m not concerned about it,” said Burress. “The progress is good. I’m probably feeling about 90 percent. I could probably go out and do it. But there’s no reason for me to go back there and set myself back now. I want to get it to a hundred percent…I was playing with it for 4-5 years. That lets you know how good I’m going to be this year.”

WR Amani Toomer (knee) did not participate in team drills. “(Toomer) is on track,” said Coughlin. “But again, he is coming off an ACL…Toomer, as I have said before, will probably do one a day.”

DE Michael Strahan (foot) was extremely limited. “We are going to keep (Strahan) with individuals – one practice a day,” said Coughlin. “But I’m not going to put him in there. I want him to work with the trainers on the field and get a sense of where he is. ”

“I feel like I can have my best year this year,” Strahan said despite not practicing. “I feel great.”

Strahan will likely be held to one practice per day when training camp begins in Albany. “I expect to do that because I’ve been around so long, not because of the foot,” Strahan said. “My thing is I always practice twice a day every day. But to be honest with you, one time a day is enough. I know what I’m doing at this point. I’ll be in great shape. I’ll be able to run, my strength will be great. I’m just not a spring chicken anymore. That one a day I think will benefit everybody.”

As expected, DE Justin Tuck (foot) did not practice. CB Corey Webster (hip) was limited.

Jessie Armstead Retires a Giant: As previously reported, former Giants’ linebacker Jessie Armstead, who played with the team from 1993-2001, was re-signed yesterday so he could officially retire a New York Giant. Armstead played with the Redskins from 2002-2003 and the Panthers in 2004. Armstead was a five-time Pro Bowl player with the Giants.

“In my blood, I’ve always had New York Giants in it” said Armstead.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin asked Armstead to address the players after the morning practice. “I told them it’s time for the older guys to step up and let the younger guys know that it’s an honor to be a Giant,” Armstead said. “People always tell you the other side is not greener. It’s true. They’re in the best place they can be, and I’m going to let you know to stick to this organization. Don’t go nowhere else.”

Another Report Says the Giants Are Interested in OT Chris Patrick: The Star-Ledger is reporting that the Giants are interested in OT Chris Patrick (Nebraska) who will be available in the upcoming Supplemental Draft. The Giants will be attending Patrick’s workout on Monday.

NFL Network Program on Giants’ Mini-Camp: The NFL Network will air “Inside Giants Mini-Camp” this Friday at 9:00PM with an encore performance at 5:00PM on Saturday. Head Coach Tom Coughlin will wear a microphone during practice sessions.

Notes and Quotes: David Diehl continues to work with the first-team offensive line at left tackle. Guy Whimper is the second-team left tackle. “(Whimper is ) coming along,” said Coughlin. “He’s doing well. We’re just going to keep throwing him out there. He has a lot to make up and he has to do it in a fast amount of time…he has made good progress (on the field).”

With Strahan and Tuck both out, Adrian Awasom continues to start at left defensive end with William Joseph backing him up.

According to press reports, Mathias Kiwanuka looked pretty good at strongside linebacker yesterday. “(Kiwanuka) has worked real hard at this challenge,” said Coughlin. ” And he has been in there on the days when we haven’t worked. He was in there yesterday for a couple of hours. He is trying to catch up on all of the learning and all of the things that could happen for him so he would be comfortable in this new role. Every day is a new challenge for him. But he is starting to get it; starting to look better.”

Interestingly, James Butler was playing with the first-team unit at free safety while Will Demps was playing with the second unit.

According to press reports, WR Sinorice Moss was impressive in the morning practice.

DT Jonas Seawright says he has dropped 40 pounds and now weighs 305 pounds. “I was fat and out of shape (last year),” said Seawright. “I had just had a kid and I didn’t have my mind where it needed to be, so I didn’t get anything done. I barely played.”

Coughlin on CB Aaron Ross: “I see the reason we drafted him, he’s strong, long arms. He’s going against these guys every day now. He’s playing the up position, the press position and the off position. He’s working his way with it. He’s doing well.”

DE Michael Strahan on Coughlin: “I think Coach just has an easier demeanor about him. When you look at him, you don’t get tense. Before he just was a very intense fellow and now his demeanor seems to be a lot easier. You understand what he wants and you’re going to hustle and fly around, but you look at him and you feel like you can go talk to him. Guys enjoy playing for him. I couldn’t always say that, but now guys enjoy playing for him.”

Jun 132007

Jessie Armstead to Retire a New York Giant: According to various press reports, former Giants’ linebacker Jessie Armstead, who played with the team from 1993-2001, will be re-signed today so he can officially retire a New York Giant. Armstead played with the Redskins from 2002-2003 and the Panthers in 2004. Armstead was a five-time Pro Bowl player with the Giants.

“This is the perfect opportunity,” said Armstead. “You see certain guys get to do this, like Emmitt Smith did with Dallas. You always think of Emmitt as a Cowboy. I wanted to do that with the Giants…It’s real special to know it wasn’t a one-way street either.”

New York Giants 3-Day Veteran Mini-Camp Starts Today: The Giants’ mandatory 3-day veteran mini-camp starts today. The end of the mini-camp on Friday also marks the end of the Giants’ off-season program. The veterans will be off until summer training camp begins in Albany on July 27. (The rookies will be around one more week this month).

NFL Network Program on New York Giants Mini-Camp: The NFL Network will air “Inside Giants Mini-Camp” this Friday at 9:00PM with an encore performance at 5:00PM on Saturday. Head Coach Tom Coughlin will wear a microphone during practice sessions.

Article on QB Eli Manning: Before Fourth Season, a Chat With Fifth and Sixth Graders by Clifton Brown of The New York Times

Jun 092007

Injury Update -– FB Jim Finn Ailing; CB Corey Webster, DE Michael Strahan, and DE Justin Tuck Still Recovering: Head Coach Tom Coughlin said FB Jim Finn was missing from yesterday’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice because he was getting an injured shoulder examined. Finn has not practiced at any OTA practice where the press has been in attendance. “He hurt his shoulder and he is being examined,” Coughlin said. “He would be here otherwise, but he’s having that examined.”

The Star-Ledger is reporting that Finn injured his shoulder during one of the first OTA workouts late last month. Finn had surgery on the shoulder after the 2005 season and another surgical procedure may be necessary. How invasive that surgery would be is not yet known but it is not believed to be career-threatening according to The Ledger.

DE Justin Tuck (foot), WR Amani Toomer (knee), and S Craig Dahl (unknown injury) did not practice yesterday. Toomer will attempt some individual drills at the upcoming veteran mini-camp (June 13-15), but Tuck will not do anything until summer training camp begins in July. “We’re not going to let Tuck go, not until we get to (training) camp,” Coughlin said.

CB Corey Webster (offseason hip surgery) did not participate in the team portion of practice.

Coughlin also said that DE Michael Strahan (foot) would be limited to individual drills in the upcoming mini-camp.

New York Giants Have Only Mild Interest in CB Kelly Herndon: According to The Star-Ledger, a team official told the paper that the Giants only have mild interest in unrestricted free agent CB Kelly Herndon, who was released recently by the Seattle Seahawks. There had been internet reports that the Giants were seriously pursuing Herndon. Herndon’s agent told The Ledger that his client will not be visiting the Giants anytime soon.

Jeremy Shockey Shows Up for a Few OTAs: TE Jeremy Shockey addressed the press after yesterday’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice – the eighth and next-to-last OTA practice. Shockey said he returned to the Meadowlands this week to participate in a few practices before next week’s mandatory veteran mini-camp (June 13-15). There is one more OTA practice on Monday. Shockey missed the first six OTAs. “It was good to have Jeremy here,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He has been here a couple days and he has worked in with our field work both (Thursday) and (Friday).”

Absent from yesterday’s practices were WR Plaxico Burress, DE Michael Strahan, LB Kawika Mitchell, FB Jim Finn, PK Lawrence Tynes, and S Jason Bell. Newly acquired OG Zach Piller did practice.

Shockey has added weight and muscle. “I probably weigh about 265,” Shocley said. “I like to go into camp heavy and lose it during the season. The most I’ve ever weighed is 254. It’s for power and I’m faster than I was last year. It will help me on my blocking, but I’m a lot more explosive than I was last year. I think it has more to do with what I eat, my diet. It’s all organic, it’s all fresh and all natural, no red meat and healthy food. (I’m) reading Arnold’s book, ‘Pumping Iron,’ and watching the movie.”

“I intend, every year when I leave, to work hard,” said Shockey. “In order to do that, I need to be in a very intense, very hot environment – in that aspect, you gain an edge, because you’re working outside, in the heat. It’s that much harder.”

Predictably, Shockey minimalized the importance of his absence from the bulk of the offseason practices and workouts. “It’s a slap in my face when people think that I’m trying to do something that betters myself and no one else,” said Shockey. “I have to take care of myself in order to better this team. I’m not out drinking every night and going out every night. If I do, I guarantee I’m working out the next day. Just the fact that people question how hard I work and my character as a person hurts me because I play hurt, I play with broken bones in my body and I’m going to continue to play like that. I want to win a championship with this organization. No matter what I do, it’s not good enough for the people up in this area.”

“I think leaders are made in the season, not in the off-season. That’s just how I feel,” said Shockey. “If we played a game next week, yeah, I’d be here. Trust me, if it benefited me that much, I would be here. I’d be the first person in here in the morning and the last to leave if it benefited me that much.”

Equally predictably, Head Coach Tom Coughlin and QB Eli Manning disagreed with Shockey. Coughlin said that it would benefit the team and Shockey if he were at the Meadowlands for the voluntary program. “I’d like to have everybody here,” Coughlin said. “Having everybody here helps us because now we move along as a team with no parts missing. That’s what this is all about – being able to work yourself through some of the individual stuff and some of the just knowing each other stuff.”

“I think anytime you’re working and practicing and getting out there it is going to help out,” Manning said. “It can only help out your timing. You see a situation come up or a certain circumstance in the defense and you just get on the same page, you talk about it and you just seem more comfortable with things that might happen. We are running some new plays and getting more reps and seeing it versus all different sorts of defenses and different looks, so I think anytime you get out there and get some work, it’s going to help out.”

“It’s good to have someone who knows what’s going on,” Manning said. “We have a lot of young guys here, especially at the tight end position,” Manning said. “It was good to get some work with those guys, getting the timing down with them, getting to talk to them one-on-one. But it has also been good getting Shockey back, because he teaches them, he coaches them, he’s great at getting them in tune with everything that’s going on, different scenarios, then they get to watch him do it and see how it’s done.”

“I hope people just get used to it because next year it’s going to be an issue again and (the following) year it’s going to be an issue again,” said Shockey.

Notes and Quotes: According to The Bergen Record, William Joseph has been practicing exclusively at left defensive end, not defensive tackle.

The Record reports that the Giants have some interest in offensive lineman Chris Patrick (Nebraska) in next month’s Supplemental Draft, but the team is not likely to spend a high pick on him or CB Paul Oliver (Georgia).

TE Jeremy Shockey on working with tight ends Darcy Johnson, Kevin Boss, Michael Matthews, and Robert Burgess. “I hope to help these guys and I hope they can help me. Whatever it is, no matter who you are in this league, you can always get better. And these guys help me. I told them today, ‘If you see me do something wrong, don’t be shy to tell me.’ I’m not the best player to play this game and even if I was, you still don’t know every intangible to play this game. I told those guys and it’s just fun coaching them. Kevin is a great guy and Darcy is becoming a completely different player than he was last year and I’m very excited for this season. The hype shouldn’t be around us, it should be on getting better every day.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin on OG Zach Piller: “He’s in real good shape, he worked out well for us, he’s a veteran who has played in a lot of big games. He’s a guy who can give us another veteran presence up front, so we’re glad to have him. He’s a guy we expect to get in our system and find out how to play our brand of ball and be a real solid factor, whether he is the sixth guy or seventh guy, however it goes.”

Coughlin on whether Piller has a shot at starting: “Who knows? I like to say it’s competitive. I think it’s another plus for us. You can see what we are trying to do, we are trying to get as many guys who can play as we can and we’ll make that decision as we go down the road. But the more quality football players we have and the guys are working, particularly now in this case, we have a guy who has been on the field, been in big games. That’s a plus.”

Coughlin on the situation at left tackle: “We will go into training camp working just as we are now, giving some people opportunities at a couple different positions. That is, in my mind, not going to affect (David) Diehl at all. He’s played literally four positions. There will be a time where it will be the right decision and I’ll make it at that time, but until then we will get plenty of people working. That (working at one spot) is not necessary for him, because he is a veteran football player who has played a lot of spots and if you stick him in there for x amount of time at any of the five, within a short amount of time he will get it.”

Jun 082007

New York Giants Sign OG Zach Piller: The Giants have signed unrestricted free agent OG Zach Piller. Piller played for the Tennessee Titans from 1999 to 2006. The Titans waived him in February. He signed with the Detroit Lions in March, but was waived by them on May 2nd.

New York Giants Terminate Rights to Three Unrestricted Free Agents: According to ProFootballWeekly.com, the Giants have decided to not tender unrestricted free agents LB Brandon Short, OG Lewis Kelly, and OG/OT Steve Edwards.

All three players are unrestricted free agents. However, on June 1st, a little-recognized deadline passed for teams to send tenders to its unsigned unrestricted free agents to retain their rights if player is not signed by another club by July 22 or beginning of veteran training camp, whichever is earlier.

In effect, it looks like the Giants have formally said good-bye to all three.

New York Giants Waive CB R.J. Cobbs and DT Sir Henry Anderson: The Giants have officially announced that they have waived DT Sir Henry Anderson and CB R.J. Cobbs.

Jun 052007

New York Giants OTA Practices Continue: The Giants held their fifth Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice yesterday. There will be three more practices this week and one more on next Monday. The Giants’ veteran mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

Missing from practice yesterday were TE Jeremy Shockey, WR Plaxico Burress, DE Michael Strahan, FB Jim Finn, LB Zak DeOssie, QB Anthony Wright, and WR Darius Watts.

The first-team defense yesterday had Osi Umenyiora and Adrian Awasom at defensive end, Mathias Kiwanuka and Kawika Mitchell at outside linebacker, and Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters at cornerback. When the Giants went to the nickel, McQuarters moved inside to the nickel position and rookie Aaron Ross played at left cornerback.

David Diehl worked at left tackle with the first team the whole practice.

Injury Update: Head Coach Tom Coughlin said that WR Amani Toomer (knee) will likely be limited to one practice per day at training camp. “That’s usually the way you work back from an ACL, with one practice a day,” Coughlin said. “Hopefully, that will be the case and he’ll be pushing to go more. But I would expect it to be one a day…He runs and he conditions and he works laterally and he is putting his surgically-repaired knee in all kinds of situations. It’s all about strength right now. When you go one right after the other, it’s also about how it looks the next morning, to what extent he can push it two days in a row.”

“I feel like I can do everything, but they’re not letting me do a lot of things,” Toomer said. “That’s a good sign. Hopefully I won’t be limited in training camp. I’ll try not to be. They’ve been slowing me down, trying to get me ready for the long haul. I just want to get back playing every day, like I ordinarily do. I think it will help in terms of keeping me fresh. But hopefully it won’t affect me too much. I need to get back into the rhythm of the game. I think it will come quick…I’m probably up around 70, 80 percent, maybe even higher. I’m excited about how I’m coming.”

DE Osi Umenyiora (unknown ailment), who did not practice at last Wednesday’s OTA practice, did practice yesterday.

Aside from Toomer, not practicing yesterday were DE Justin Tuck (foot), CB R.J. Cobbs (knee), S/CB Jason Bell (unknown ailment), and S Craig Dahl (unknown ailment).

Mathias Kiwanuaka Adjusting to Linebacker: Mathias Kiwanuka, who was moved to linebacker from defensive end earlier this offseason, told the press yesterday that he is not comfortable yet at his new position. “It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Kiwanuka. “I knew it was going to be a process. But every day I feel more comfortable about it. You want to know everything immediately. There’s a little bit of time between knowing the stuff in the books and actually going out there and think through it in a split second and make those decisions. That’s exactly where I’m at right now.”

“(The OTAs are) good for (Kiwanuka),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “This gives him the added advantage that he really needs. When you go ahead and switch positions like that you need a lot of reps, you need to be put in those pressure situations right away with no time, where you have to either adjust a coverage or react to something different. All those things thrown at him this spring are really good for him.”

Young Receivers Getting Quality Reps: With wide receivers Plaxico Burress (absent) and Amani Toomer (injured) not practicing at the OTA’s, receivers Sinorice Moss and Steve Smith are getting a lot of snaps at practice, along with the other young receivers on the team.

Moss has been helping Smith both on and off the field. He called him after the 2007 NFL Draft to congratulate him and welcome him to the team. “I don’t think that (drafting Smith) was a reflection of me at all,” said Moss. “They’re looking more for the long run, not about that I didn’t perform last year.”

“I look at me and Steve as being the wide receivers of the future,” said Moss. “(Smith is) my teammate first. We’re all here to help this team win football games. I look at it as me and him being the future of this franchise, not as him coming in and battling me for a spot. It’s not always about that.”

“(Moss is ) a guy for me to learn from and look up to, show me around the city,” Smith said. “I went to his house, he showed me places around, took me out to eat. He reached out to me early.”

Speaking of his injury-plagued first season, Moss said, “It was a pretty tough experience last year, something that was very unusual for me…It was a frustrating first year. But I’m not a rookie anymore. I feel a lot more comfortable in the offense. I know the plays and the philosophy of them.”

“(Smith) was a really outstanding player (in college) we were very excited about who just happened to be there (in the second round of the draft for the Giants),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We even reminded ourselves as we went into the draft how highly Sinorice was picked and respected last year. So he is a bonus.”

Article on CB R.W. McQuarters: McQuarters Has Clean Cut From a Trend-Setting Past by John Branch of The New York Times