by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
When I arrived at practice this morning, a fleet of moving vans was already parked outside the Phys. Ed. buildings. The departure of the Giants from camp tomorrow will most likely be as happy for the team as it is depressing for me. The Giants were in helmets and shorts, with no pads or shells, so there was going to be absolutely no contact this morning. It was a chilly and overcast morning and many of the Giants were wearing sweatshirts and pants under their shorts and jerseys. Many of the fans were wearing long pants and hooded jackets.
Except for some kicking and returns, most of the activity (if it can be called that) was work on positioning and formations. For the most part, practice was done by the offense as a group, on the field in front of me, and by the defense as a group, on the next field over. On several occasions the two groups would merge and work on the formations together. All of this was done at slower than half speed; almost at a walk.
Mostly, Tim Hasselbeck was the QB for the joint formations, and usually he just pretended to throw the ball. On one slow-motion play Tim threw a pass intended for TE Charles Davis, LB Kawika Mitchell moved a little too fast and easily swatted the ball away. The coaches made them do the play over and this time, Kawika just stood there and let Davis catch the pass. It was that kind of practice.
There were two boys, perhaps 8-years-old, sitting at my feet. One was wearing a Tiki Barber jersey and the other an Eli Manning jersey. Despite this, they seemed to get along very well. For them, the flesh and blood players on the field in front of them held no interest. Reality for them consisted entirely of the football cards that they brought with pictures and statistics of those very same Giants players. Well perhaps the cards were more interesting than the practice.
Number 30 of the defense (S J.R. Reed) fielded half a dozen kickoffs from K Josh Huston. The kicks were from the 50. There were also a few kicks from the 30 by both Huston and K Lawrence Tynes. I would have to say that Huston’s were perhaps 5 yards deeper. Tynes did not get as many reps as Huston. My guess is that his leg is being rested. Punter Jeff Feagles, didn’t even show up for the morning practice. Perhaps the 20-year veteran has this written into his contract.
Fielding numerous punts from the Juggs gun were CB Aaron Ross, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and CB R.W. McQuarters. Today could not have been more perfect for fielding punts, there was no wind, no sun to get in their eyes, and no pads at all for the ball to bounce off. McQuarters caught the ball without effort, Bradshaw with a little effort, and Ross with a great deal of effort. It would require a dramatic improvement for Ross to become the equal of McQuarters. WRs Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress joined in. Perhaps they were bored. Amani muffed one punt and fell on his butt on another. I’m sure that Amani would not mind if he is never again asked to field a punt.
TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Sinorice Moss did not practice, although there was very little difference between practicing and not practicing. Injured LB Gerris Wilkinson and injured C Todd Londot were jogging under the supervision of a trainer. They appeared to be walking without discomfort.
G Matt Lentz continues to perform as the second-team center with Adam Koets at right guard. In the warm-up drills, where all four quarterbacks were getting snaps at once, the centers were Ryan Keenan, Matt Lentz, Rich Seubert and the new number 68 (Nick Jones). The newest wide receiver (Will Buchanon) has number 3. He did not participate so far as I noticed. He has a slender build.
It is a “fact” that teams do not “game plan” for preseason games, but members of the scout team defense was wearing shirts with 51 (LB Jonathan Vilma) and 54 (LB Victor Hobson) over their own jerseys. This may not be game planning, but the Giants are clearly aware of these players.