by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
The practice ended with Coach Coughlin screaming at his team. I could not hear everything, but I heard enough. Up until today, the hitting had been pretty tame and nobody was blocked to the ground. Coughlin was screaming words to the effect of, “I want you to stay on your feet. I don’t want injuries or players on the ground.”
The first injury was to LB Gerris Wilkinson. I did not see how it happened, but there were players on the ground and Wilkinson did not get up. The doctor examined his right knee for about 5 minutes and two people helped him to the sideline where he was looked at some more. After about 10 minutes Gerris walked around a bit on his own and flashed a small smile. He then sat down and got his knee iced. By now, there was another pile of linemen on the ground and C Todd Londot did not get up. He was examined on the field and a cart came onto the field for him.
Todd Londot’s left ankle appeared to be injured and his shoe was removed. He did not walk at all. He was assisted into the front of the cart. Gerris Wilkinson got on the back of the cart under his own power. They would have been carted off the field in utter silence had I not begun to clap and the rest of the smallish crowd showed some appreciation by doing the same.
There is no way for me to tell the seriousness of the injuries, but they could have been life-threatening from the vehemence of Coughlin’s harangue as he chewed them out after the practice. I did not see any injury to Gibril Wilson, but it was posted that he got back spasms during the practice. Whether the spasms were from the heat, or caused by rough play, I do not know.
The Giants were in full pads and it did not appear to me that the hitting was all that hard when Wilkinson and Londot were injured. However, by the end of the practice there was some ferocious hitting. A hit on RB Ryan Grant, I believe, was so hard it resounded throughout the field. On another play, huge DT Marcus Bell, playing with the third team, got hit so hard that he bounced like a pinball laterally into his own LDE.
LB Kawika Mitchell, didn’t knock anybody down, but he did not hold back in getting penetration. He smothered RB Brandon Jacobs about three yards in the backfield, before Brandon could get moving. A few plays later, he met RB Reuben Droughns and stopped him cold at the LOS when it looked like Reuben was about to begin a good run. First team DT Barry Cofield was added to the third team DL. I don’t know why. He immediately got penetration and showed good speed in chasing, and almost catching, QB Anthony Wright for a sack.
I did not notice it, but I am told that Coughlin had been telling the players to take it easy throughout the practice. Nevertheless, the intensity of the hitting seemed to escalate at the practice went on.
Why did the play get so rough this evening? I believe that the offensive line decided that they were not going to be porous and let defensive players shoot through gaps and harry the QB. Conversely, the defensive players decided that they were not going to merely wave at running backs as they darted by, but were going to stop them. Regardless of what they were thinking, that is what they did. Although I thought that both the offense and defense were impressive, Tom Coughlin did not like it at all.
On one play that did not necessarily go very far, RB Brandon Jacobs showed that he has the ability to take a handoff and immediately sidestep a defender who had penetrated into the backfield. This is something that Ron Dayne could not do, but RB Tiki Barber could. FB Richad Douglas caught a pass in the flat and made an excellent first step to avoid the defender who was there.
Speaking of stuff that former Giants could not do, QB Eli Manning had a good day throwing the ball. On one play he rolled out ten yards to his right and threw a completion to WR Michael Jennings who was about 15 yards down the right sideline. Kerry Collins ran that play dozens of times and maybe got one or two completions. Mostly, Kerry threw the ball out of bounds, or was sacked.
The best pass of the day was a fifty yarder from QB Jared Lorenzen to WR Steve Smith. It was thrown from mid-field to the goal line. Although Smith was covered stride for stride by Kevin Dockery, Smith made a diving catch. Had the ball not been wobbly in flight, it might have gone an extra 5 yards which would have allowed Smith to catch it in stride in the middle of the end zone. It was a difficult catch and Smith made a good adjustment to get it. Former Giant WR Tim Carter, would not have been able to make that catch.
Kevin Dockery made up for his failure to defend the Smith pass several plays later. A pass sailed through the hands of WR Brandon London, I believe, and into the hands of Mr. Dockery, who was well positioned about 5 yards behind the receiver.
QB Tim Hasselbeck’s woes continue. His best pass hit the receiver in the numbers and bounced off.
The only negative that I have for QB Eli Manning is that on two occasions during the 7-on-7s he could not find an open receiver and had to eat the ball. It seems to me that someone should always be open in the 7 on 7s. Eli’s best pass of the practice was a timing route. He threw the ball towards an empty part of the field, but WR Sinorice Moss came out of nowhere to make the reception. Great timing and teamwork there.
There was less timing and teamwork when WR Michael Jennings somehow jumped an Eli Manning or Jared Lorenzen pass intended for WR Steve Smith. There was even less teamwork and communication when WR David Tyree stopped 5 yards short of the sideline. If he had cut for the sideline instead, he would have caught Jared Lorenzen’s pass. Tyree heard about it loud and long from the coach when the play was over.
K Josh Huston kicked about 8 field goals. They were 37 and 42 yarders. They were good and looked powerful. DT Jay Alford was the snapper. K Tynes did not kick. I am told that T Adam Koets continues to be manhandled in practice.
The most heartwarming sight of the evening took place right after the
practice. LG Rich Seubert’s family came out onto the field to greet
him. In a stroller was a little peanut of a guy in a tiny Giants
jersey, with “69″ and “Seubert” on the back – naturally. Rich took
his hand and they walked around the grassy the field together. The
toddler’s head was only slightly higher than Rich’s reconstructed
knee. I can imagine that Rich said to the boy, “Son, in 20 years or
so, if you’re lucky and work hard enough, you can be on a field like
this one and play for an NFL team. Except that you’re going to be a
quarterback or a wide receiver and not work in “the pit” like your
CBs Travonti Johnson, Michael Stone, and Aaron Ross were not dressed,
nor were WRs Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.
The defensive players did a ball stripping drill. I think that this
is the most effective drill that a team can do. It allows any member
of the team to seize an opportunity to turn the game around by
causing a turnover.
Although DE/DT Justin Tuck was dressed he playing with the second
team while William Joseph continues to fill in for Michael Strahan at
TE Darcy Johnson made several good catches and seems to be matching
or overtaking TEs Michael Matthews, Charles Davis, and Anthony
Burgess (who jumped offsides on one play).
Lefty QB Jared Lorenzen may have a slow wind-up and delivery, but he
has the best double-clutch I’ve ever seen. On one play it looked like
he had thrown the ball, but he actually held onto it. His right hand
never touched the ball. I did not think that was possible.
Unfortunately, Jared could not find an open receiver so he just
pounded the ball straight into the ground in disgust.
In a kickoff return drill, Josh Huston was getting tremendous depth
on his kicks until it was pointed out to me that he was not kicking
from the 30-yard line, but from closer in.
Kevin Dockery made an excellent pass defense in the 7-on-7s on WR
Marco Thomas. Also in the 7-on-7s, Sinorice Moss caught an Eli pass
against LB Mathias Kiwanuka, but Kiwi was right beside him when the
ball was caught and would have torn Sinorice limb from limb in a real
QB Eli Manning threw two touch passes. One was a 25-yarder to TE
Michael Matthews. The other pass went three feet over the head of TE
Darcy Johnson who was waiting for it in the end zone. Corey Webster
made an excellent pass defense of what would have been a TD pass from
Eli to WR Steve Smith.
The one time that I watched the match-up of DE Osi Umenyiora against
OT Dave Diehl, Osi lined up to the right of the TE and took off like
a gun eventually landing in the waiting arms of Mr. Diehl, who seemed
to be saying, “Not this time baby!” Osi has tremendous speed off the