by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
The rain held off for the afternoon practice and it was less humid. This was a welcome relief. Another relief was the return of P Jeff Feagles who did most of the punting. He continues to punt with precision, both in length and direction. The word that I would use to describe him is “craftsman” – make that “master craftsman.” He was punting to WR Sinorice Moss, CB Aaron Ross, WR Michael Jennings (who may need this duty to make the squad), and CB R.W. McQuarters. He was making them run from the center of the field to catch the ball on the sidelines, just in bounds. He was very consistent and all the receivers did an excellent job of making this hard catch. There were no muffs.
CB Corey Webster returned to action as did DE Justin Tuck. DE Osi Umenyiora did not dress and Adrian Awasom, filled in for him at RDE. I only noticed DT Jay Alford when he jumped off sides on a hard count by QB Anthony Wright (I think). Alford heard about it later from the coach. Alford does not look small, but he looked fast when he got penetration on a pass play. Justin Tuck also looked good. He would have tackled Anthony Wright on one pass play but just stood there next to him. Given the extra time, Wright found WR Brandon London with a 15 yarder. However, London took a shot which leveled him. It could be heard all over the field. Nevertheless he hung onto the ball.
In an endzone drill, Eli threw very hard to TE Jeremy Shockey. It bounced off his chest and into the air. Shockey fought off some DBs and caught the ball again. He pivoted and ran into the endzone. Great catch by Shockey; so-so throw by Eli. Shockey’s blond hair is now almost shoulder length. He looks like Prince Valiant in the comics. The Giants seem loaded with TEs who can catch. Kevin Boss and Rodney Burgess are making catches that Visanthe Shiancoe can only dream about. Boss made an excellent catch in heavy traffic on a throw from Lorenzen and both made diving catches. These TEs get open. They dive for the ball. They don’t drop easy passes. It is too early to get excited, but they were impressive today. Big Michael Matthews a TE who is supposed to be a good blocker also demonstrated that he can catch this afternoon.
As for the wide receivers, Amani Toomer suited up for the afternoon practice even though he played this morning. I hope he is not overdoing it. Both Sinorice Moss and Steve Smith continue to impress with their good hands. Smith would have made a sparkling catch of a long pass down the middle, but he cut and juked one time too many and could not catch up to the ball. Moss continues to play like a veteran. On a deep sideline pass from Eli – that Burress and probably Toomer are tall enough to catch – Moss realized that Eli overthrew him so he tipped it away from the defender who was behind him and might have intercepted.
OT Luke Petigout may be gone, but his number 77 lives on with OT Justin Jones. Perhaps in Luke’s memory, Justin jumped offsides. It was the only offensive line infraction that I saw today.
I know that a lot of people have been impressed by CB E.J. Underwood. He made a fine play to break up a pass to Steve Smith in a one-on-one drill. (Smith made up for it with a leaping sideline grab of a Lorenzen pass that drew cheers from the fans). In my opinion, Underwood tends to yank on wide receivers jerseys. I don’t believe that is allowed even within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
OG Zach Piller is robustly built and looks like a really tough guy. His full beard, not long, but full face, adds to the appearance of ferocity.
As a squad, the entire Giants team appears to be in excellent shape in that there are no players who are obviously out of condition or grossly overweight. Well do quarterbacks count? Jared Lorenzen is still way too heavy. If Jonas Seawright has the discipline to lose the weight… well it makes you wonder. I have not yet gotten a close look at DT Marcus Bell, but from a distance he looks quite big and has rather spindly legs for his size.
FB Robert Douglas got onto the field, caught a safety valve pass and showed decent speed running.
In the 11-on-11 drills, Eli Manning tried what looked like a short hard jump pass over the scrimmage line. It went directly into and out of the arms of LB Kawika Mitchell. Eli and Kawika were both upset about the outcome of that pass, especially Mitchell. Eli also threw some nice passes this afternoon, although I’ve concentrated on the negatives.