Jul 312008
July 31, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

The practice fields being wet, today’s session was held on the SUNY stadium field. By the end of practice it was sunny and warm. The Giants were in shorts, shoulder pads, and helmets. There was considerable hitting and many more 11 on 11 plays than usual.

Although there were some fine plays on the field, the loudest crowd reactions were boos and cat-calls in response to a guy in a Cowboys jersey and then to a guy in a Chad Pennington Jersey. They were minding their own business down in front of the stands and some 1,500 Giants fans heaped abuse on them. I blush to add that the leader, if not the instigator, of the jeers and imprecations was in fact a charter member of BBI. I won’t divulge his name, but his initials are slefrak.

There were kick return drills and WR Michael Jennings muffed a catch. He tried to catch it over his head instead of backing up. It went right through his hands. It was not a difficult catch, just poor technique and lack of concentration. HB Ahmad Bradshaw also had a muff.

QB Eli Manning had about 50 percent of the reps with QB David Carr and QB Anthony Wright sharing the remainder. QB André Woodson had very few snaps and did little to impress today.

Wright may have had his best day at training camp this year while Carr failed to do very much. Nevertheless both Eli and Wright were far from perfect today.

WR Mario Manningham did not dress, but WR Steve Smith was back. Frankly, Smith should waited another day because he played poorly. Although he out-fought CB Corey Webster (I think) to complete a deep Manning pass down the sideline and made another excellent reception on a come-backer, that was about it for him. Smith normally catches almost everything in the vicinity. Today, anything thrown over shoulder height went through his hands and anything at chest height bounced off him including one that bounced into the waiting hands of CB Corey Webster for an interception.

For much of the practice the starting defensive backfield was Webster, CB Aaron Ross, S James Butler, and rookie S Kenny Phillips.

WR Domenik Hixon continues to impress with his kick returns and good hands. Today he was Eli’s favorite receiver. Eli would take the snap, drop back two steps and gun the ball to Hixon laterally on bubble passes. They all worked and all looked very smooth.

Today the quarterbacks were concentrating on shot-gun snaps with draw plays. On one such play, I think it was to Bradshaw, TE Michael Matthews was the H-back and he had a block at the line and then a second block several yards down field to spring Bradshaw. Matthews was impressive. There were also pitch-outs. Some worked: a pitch-out to Ahmad Bradshaw; others did not. A pitch-out to HB Kay-Jay Harris resulted in him being clothes-lined in the backfield. It was brutal, but Kay-Jay was okay.

WR Brandon London had been catching bunches of passes. I don’t think anything was thrown to him today, nor to WR D..J. Hall, nor to WR Craphonso Thorpe. TE Kevin Boss may have been shut out and TE Darcy Johnson may have caught only one or two passes. That is not a lot because of all the 11 or 11 plays. Darcy also dropped a pass that was thrown to him by Manning in a drill where there were no defenders. How embarrassing!

I have mentioned that HB Danny Ware and HB Kay-Jay Harris would have to step up their play to unseat incumbent veteran HB Reuben Droughns. Today Danny Ware stepped it up. He had a bunch of solid runs showing speed and power and Danny made a bunch of pass receptions.

Today it required work to run the ball up the middle and all the running backs, including HB Brandon Jacobs, got stopped at least once for very short gains or losses. Brandon did have an impressive reception. Manning could not find an open receiver and threw the ball to Brandon who handled the ball very smoothly and very smoothly turned and ran up the sidelines.

I had a chance to watch OG Kevin Boothe in some drills. Boothe is a big strong man with a low center of gravity (also known as a huge butt). He may not be as fast as some of the other linemen and this may hold him back.

Moss had perhaps his best practice. He had four or five receptions and looked good taking a pitch and running around end.

There were also a number of balls that were just out of his reach that would have been long gainers. I can’s say that those incompletions were Moss’s fault or the QBs not being in synch with Moss. The only really unfortunate pass was one that sailed through his hands about a foot over his head in the red zone drill. That would have been a TD for a taller receiver.

In the red-zone drill the defense prevailed against the running and passing of the offense. The same was true for the hurry-up drill which did not yield very much yardage.

Jul 312008

July 30, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Reports: To see the latest BBI training camp reports, please visit the Training Camp section of the website.

Giants’ Beat Writer Practice Reports: The following are brief practice reports provided by the NY/NJ beat writers who cover the Giants:

Injury Report: Not practicing yesterday were WR Steve Smith (groin), WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), OT Adam Koets (dizziness), LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee – PUP), and WR David Tyree (knee – PUP).

“That’s day to day or practice to practice,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin of Smith.

Speaking of Wilkinson, Coughlin said, “I think he is subject to being reevaluated perhaps next week. We will see where he is. He’s doing a little bit more on the side.”

WR Amani Toomer (leg) returned to practice.

OL Jonathan Palmer (quad) passed his physical and was activated from the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list. He practiced.

DE Osi Umenyiora (hip), CB Sam Madison (sports hernia), DT Jay Alford (unknown), LB Zak DeOssie (back), and Craig Dahl (knee) did not practice in the morning, but practiced in the evening. DE/DT Justin Tuck (sore foot), LB Danny Clark (sports hernia), and WR Mario Manningham (quad) practiced in the morning, but not in the evening.

Giants Re-Sign S Craig Dahl: As speculated, the Giants have signed S Craig Dahl, who was released by the team in February. Dahl suffered a torn ACL in his knee in the 2007 regular-season finale and will be limited at practice as he continues to rehab.

“We have been monitoring his progress all along,” said Coughlin. “We brought him in last weekend and we had a workout. He is in excellent shape and he demonstrated that he is ready. He is a guy who has been in our system for a year, a good special teams player and a good player for us and we had the opportunity to bring him back.”

When Coughlin was asked what he liked about Dahl, he responded, “His athleticism, he has size and speed for a safety. He had a great attitude about working on special teams and he just worked himself into a spot. He was just like all rookies, he was big eyed, but he grew into it a little bit.”

“In my mind, I always thought I would be ready for camp,” Dahl said. “(The Giants) took the precautionary measure to release me and didn’t know if I was going to be back. They weren’t expecting me to be back, but deep down inside I had the burning desire to be back and be playing football again (this) fall…I had weighed other options with my agent. But this feels like home to me.”

S Terrance Stringer Waived: As speculated, S Terrance Stringer (hamstring) was waived/injured by the Giants.

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Coughlin Shines in New Light by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on DE Osi Umenyiora: Osi Umenyiora’s Visit to Iraq and Afghanistan is Unforgettable by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Quotes: HB Brandon Jacobs on DT Fred Robbins: “He’s shown a lot of improvement from last year to this year. He’s really looking good in there. He didn’t have a bad year last year, but this year should be better than last year. I think Fred has definitely come around and done really well this camp. It makes me feel good because if our guys are having problems with Fred, I know everyone else will, too.”

Jul 302008
July 30, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

If anyone wonders why the Giants are carrying 11 wide receivers, when most likely only 6 will make the squad, I think the answer is now apparent. The Giants top receiver Plaxico Burress who is said to have recovered from his ankle and knee injuries of last season is out again, but with a new injury he sustained this season. Our number 2 receiver Amani Toomer was out yesterday. (He was back today and made a tumbling catch of an QB Anthony Wright pass after making a good push-off, which was detected by everyone except the officials who were on the field this evening.)

Number 3 receiver Steve Smith is out with a recent injury. WR David Tyree as we all know is on the PUP list (How many PUPs do you need to call it a kennel?). Third round phenom Mario Manningham did not practice. When I asked a coach about it the coach would not say anything, but did not seem concerned. Maybe it is not serious.

The BBI contingent of about 2 dozen has arrived and were in their own bleachers located behind the fence where the VIPs were sitting. On the fence there was a large sign that said “BigBlueInteractive.com.” Presumably the sign was put there to warn folks not to get too close to this motley assemblage of, soon to be intoxicated, visitors to Albany. Sarcasm off. Now back to the receivers.

With so many receivers out of action it was time for the reserves to step up. WR Brandon London made a bunch of catches and is really taking advantage of the situation. The same can be said for WR Domenik Hixon who continues to get open, make catches and flash his speed. Hixon showed good concentration when he caught a pass that was tipped by the defense.

Perhaps the best catch of the practice was a deep pass from QB André Woodson (say 40 yards in the air) to WR Sinorice Moss. He got a step on two defenders and caught the ball over his shoulder. Moss also had an impressive end around showing great speed around left end. The best non-catch of the practice was a route run by WR Craphonso Thorpe who completely turned his man around and was wide open. QB André Woodson either failed to see it, or missed him by a mile. Either Woodson or Carr then had a completion to Amani Toomer, although it was two seconds after he would have been sacked by the defense.

The blocking and hitting has intensified dramatically from prior practices. There is no more patting the running back on the butt as he runs past you. HB Ahmad Bradshaw had three or four great runs and he earned every yard. He showed speed, power, and elusiveness. He had the best run of the practice running and cutting down the left sideline. He followed that run with a screen pass from Eli Manning for a fairly long gain. Bradshaw also returned a bunch of punts, as did CB R.W. McQuarters, and WR Sinorice Moss. The only muff was by Bradshaw, who was very close to stepping on some equipment at the side of the field and perhaps took his eye off the ball.

On one play, HB Brandon Jacobs saw a small whole open and he ran to it without hesitation. It was a cool evening but there was no breeze and the humidity must have been close to 100 percent. By the time practice was over, Brandon had even sweated through his knee pads.

HB Reuben Droughns had a chance to show his speed and power on several runs. HB Danny Ware and HB Kay-Jay Harris have had opportunities, but have not yet overshadowed Reuben. Reuben is a known quantity. Ware and Harris will have to do better if they want Reuben’s roster spot. Ware tried to run before he had the ball and dropped a simple dump-off pass. He heard about it from a coach.

After the series of great punts by P Jeff Feagles, PK Lawrence Tynes and the team practiced returning squib kicks. This included the razzle-dazzle, throw the ball laterally to an open man if you are about to be tackled. It was fun to watch, but it will never happen on a Giants team. Tynes made six attempts from distances of 25 to 42 yards. He missed three of them I think. One miss was probably the result of a messed-up snap and hold.

S Craig Dahl was suited up and played. He is number 43. This must rankle DT Jeremy Clark who has been with the team for a while, but whose name has yet to appear on his shirt. Clark was signed today and his name in already on the jersey.

In the 7 on 7s, LB Chase Blackburn made a pass defense on a ball thrown to HB Brandon Jacobs, but Chase might have gotten a little nicked up. He seemed to be running gingerly afterwards. LB Bryan Kehl had an excellent practice. He intercepted a QB André Woodson pass for what would have been a touchdown and followed that a little later with and excellent pass defense.

WR D.J. Hall beat S Sammy Knight and CB Sam Madison on a pass from Eli in a red zone drill.

The practice ended with a two minute drill run by QB Anthony Wright. He found WR Brandon London who made a diving catch. Wright could not advance the ball. The last play was an excellent pass defense by CB Terrell Thomas on yet another pass by Wright to Brandon London.

On this play I also noticed how fast DE Robert Henderson is coming off the edge. He was impressive.

Jul 302008
July 30, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

It’s a sunny, wonderful morning at SUNY Albany, hardly any wind and what should be a nice fast field. To my delight, it’s one of the fields on the University side (the one to my left), so we’ll have a clear view and a nice seat on the hill.

SUNY Albany Cares #1: Remember all those nice buses in previous years that would take you to the practice field from the Dutch Quad parking lot? Well, SUNY is proving it loves the planet, since they aren’t there any more…you get to walk, save gas, and get fit! Disregard all the grumbling about SUNY saving money on gas and bus rentals, this is ALL about the environment!

After the usual stretching, it’s on to Punt Block and return drills for the Defense. Yes, the usual suspects are back there to catch the ball, but this was more of trying to block the punt, or setting up for a punt return. If you’re curious, back there getting the ball from the machine were Hixon, Jennings, and R.W. McQuarters. They all looked ok.

One thing of note…when you’re this close, you get to hear the calls from the up back behind the line but in front of Feagles. In this case, it was either London or D.J. Hall. It was interesting hearing them change calls when the D moved around.

Horn sounds, and everyone moves back to the back fields (Western Ave). It was for the usual drills…it was so exciting that the camera guy on the tower sat down for a while.

Camp Note #1: All the really important stuff will be on film, so stay near the camera towers!

The QB’s and RB’s/TE’s were doing their usual pitch and catch stuff; way in the back, it looked like the Guards were practicing pulling. That was interesting, since the Giants have a couple of what looks like tables without the tops; the guards practice pulling thru those boxes, with the emphasis of keeping low. I also saw QB Coach Palmer’s “Throw the ball to a wall that has 3 holes and basketball nets” device being carted around.

The DB’s were closer, so I was watching them. They had that drill were the DB’s pedal back, then both cut right or left and try to catch a ball. If you want to drool over Philips any more, here’s something I saw…this guy has excellent technique catching the ball, he catches the ball with arms out and brings it in. He seemed very comfortable catching it, to me; no Shawn Williams/Will Allen hands of stone here, this guy is going to pick off a few, if this drill was any indication.

The LB’s were practicing cover drills, trying to deflect passes while covering (and not holding).

The Tackles were doing blocking drills. One guy would hold a square foam shield, while the guy blocking would try to knock the shield guy back.

In case you like cap fashion, there are Blue, Red, Green and Yellow caps the players wear over their helmets.

Here’s a breakdown of how the players looked (from the 7-7’s and 9-7 drills):

Jacobs: BJ is fine. Nobody wants to tackle this guy unless they have pads on.

Kay-Jay Harris: Good work, has a nice second gear. I like this guy, I hope we can keep him on the PS.

Hixon:  Had a great practice, along with London. He made a huge catch across the middle diving for a pass with the defender all over him. Also had a nice 15 yd pass on a flag route in the end zone on a defensive breakdown. Eli really looks confident throwing to him. Made all the catches he should have made, and looks good on the first team.

Darcy Johnson, Boss, Matthews,Eric Butler: All looked good catching the ball. Boss and Eli look very comfortable; Matthews looks 100% better catching the ball in camp this year as opposed to last, including a VERY nice reach back on one of Eli’s few errant passes over the middle. Butler also made a very nice catch with arms extended of an Eli pass and took it up the sidelines

C. Thorpe: As I’ve been saying, this guy is no joke. He again looked fine today, caught everything near him, got off the line fine, and made a really nice catch on the sidelines using his body to shield Barnett (41). Very athletic, nice technique. He’s got good speed…if he can block, and play specials, he’ll be in the NFL somewhere.

Bradshaw: Bradshaw will be fine. He’s getting a lot of pass work, and doing well holding on to the ball. If he gets in space…look out!

London: Star of the practice. Real intensity getting off the line, sharp cuts, made all the catches he should have and almost some spectacular ones he shouldn’t have. Made a spectacular diving catch for a TD. He’s got that “look” about him now; I’ll bet he gets a ton of write-ups on this day’s performance.

Ward: Good running the ball, did well catching the ball, including a nice green zone catch for a TD.

Amani: Didn’t show any ill effects from yesterday. Had a great deep Slant pass catch and run where he turned the jets on and took it all the way. Made a diving TD catch flag route in the Green zone. Amani is fine.

D.J. Hall: Had a nice catch down the middle from Carr.

Eli: Threw a couple away when he saw double coverage. For the most part, he’s throwing very well. Putting the ball in the right place (with a couple of exceptions) where the WR can do damage. More natural than I’ve seen him in previous camps.

Wright: Did ok, bird dogs too much, he needs to look off the D. He made it harder than necessary for his WR’s.

Carr: Very rusty; was bird dogging worst than Wright (we could point out exactly who he was throwing once he got the ball). Did handle a lot of bad snaps well. He’s smaller than I thought…smaller physically than the other guys. Has real problems when the pocket shrinks, he’s still bailing out too fast.

Woodson: Had some overthrows, but overall had a good practice. Really has nice ball skills, he follows through on his fakes, might have the best skills in that area of all the QB’s.

Moss: Well, I left this for last. Time to rant again. He had some nice catches later in practice…but had a horrible start. Ran a lazy, LOUSY curl pattern for his first route, which nearly got the ball picked off. Then, on a reverse, tried a triple move to juke the defender on a sweep, and fell down after the juke. Did have a nice catch later on a snakeburner from Eli.

Somebody needs to get to this guy’s head. Right now, he couldn’t make the Philadelphia Soul with this garbage. Triple Juke? For a third year player? Let’s look at Bradshaw, who is also short. Bradshaw throws one juke at you, and then blasts past you. He knows that when you do this double/triple juke nonsense YOUR FEET STOP MOVING FORWARD!!!! Apparently, Moss can’t grasp this concept, even though he has great forward speed (I’ve seen it). He should know how hard it is to tackle him when he’s moving; not moving forward does NOT work in the NFL!!!!

In Arena League, this player is called a 50/50…50% of the time he’s an all star, 50 % of the time he’s invisible. The competition is WAY too good in this camp. He’d better be spectacular in the next few weeks or in the pre-season games, because right now, I don’t see any reason to keep him.

Anyway, here’s hoping the next practice is rain free (we’re expecting rain late tonight!

Jul 302008

July 29, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Reports: To see the latest BBI training camp reports, please visit the Training Camp section of the website.

Giants’ Beat Writer Practice Reports: The following are brief practice reports provided by the NY/NJ beat writers who cover the Giants:

Injury Report – Carr Practices: Not practicing yesterday were WR Amani Toomer (leg), WR Steve Smith (soreness), WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), S Terrance Stringer (hamstring), OT Adam Koets (dizziness) LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee – PUP), WR David Tyree (knee – PUP), and OL Jonathan Palmer (quad – PUP).

“Toomer had a little swelling in the leg and that is all,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “I don’t think it is anything too much.”

WR Mario Manningham (quad) returned to practice.

DT Barry Cofield revealed yesterday that he had a thumb injury all last season that required surgery this past offseason.

Dahl to Be Re-Signed Today?: According to The Star-Ledger‘s Giants’ Blog, S Craig Dahl will be re-signed by the Giants today. Dahl was waived in late February after he had suffered a knee injury (torn ACL) in the regular-season finale against the Patriots. The Ledger believes S Terrance Stringer (hamstring) will be waived to make room for Dahl. Dahl likely will be limited if signed due to his continuing rehab.

Jul 292008
July 29, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

It was hot and sunny. The Giants were in full pads and up until the very end of practice, which was cut short by 20 minutes, the Giants offense sputtered. None of the quarterbacks were playing at the level they were at yesterday evening. For instance, Ely threw a ball three feet over the head of a wide open TE Kevin Boss, who was perhaps 12 yards from him. QB Anthony Wright found out that Kevin Boss can’t catch passes aimed at his knees. S Sammy Knight jumped a pass route to pick off a QB David Carr pass in the 11 on 11s. There were sloppy plays mixed in with good plays throughout the practice. I guess this is why you need training camp.

WR Amani Toomer was not dressed, nor was WR Steve Smith. I think I saw Smith take a hard shot/fall yesterday. S Terrance Stringer was not dressed and did not practice. Midway through the practice he walked off the field with a trainer and he grasped his hamstring.

WR Mario Manningham was dressed and he made an impressive catch on an under-thrown pass to the sidelines. He came back for it and then smartly advanced down the field. TE Kevin Boss caught a pass that I hope will be duplicated over and over this season. He was in the middle of the field about twenty yards from Ely. He ran laterally to the right left, got one step on his defender and Ely hit him perfectly in stride. Boss would have been gone.

All the TEs did well today. Eric Butler caught at least two passes and showed good hands and agility. TE Darcy Johnson made at least three catches taking them without the awkwardness reminiscent of former TE Visanthe Shaincoe. Even BBI’s current whipping boy, TE Michael Matthews had his moments. Of course on one reception, LB Mathias Kiwanuka was right there ready to pounce on him.

CB Corey Webster continues to have a good camp. On one play a ball bounced off WR Domenik Hixon’s chest and into the arms of CB Darren Barnett. The play was over, but Hixon ran after Barnett. Webster who was not involved in the play stepped in front of Hixon. Hixon bounced off Webster. QB David Carr and QB André Woodson did not have good days throwing the ball and QB Anthony Wright continues to hold onto the ball too long.

About 20 minutes before the beginning of the practice Tom Coughlin walked onto the field. The fans who were there all cheered and clapped as he passed. He smiled and held up his hand in acknowledgment, for the entire walk of 100 yards or more. What a difference from last year’s camp. When Coughlin got on the field he chatted for about 5 minutes with PK Lawrence Tynes. I could not hear what was said, but it might have been, “Lawrence, you did good yesterday. Now I’d like to see 8 field goals from the 50.”

Tynes kicked off to Hixon twice and to HB Ahmad Bradshaw and WR Michael Jennings once, each. They each ran up behind the wall of lead blockers and sprinted off from there. That part of the practice, at least, looked well executed.

The Defensive backs to an interesting drill where they run backwards for 10 yards, turn around and continue to run in that direction and catch a ball thrown to them. That is unlikely to happen in a game (actually it’s impossible). It seems to me that a more realistic drill would be for them to run backwards, turn as before and then look back over their shoulder in the direction that they originally came from to catch the simulated pass.

A more interesting drill was one all the receivers were each lined up against a defensive back. They stood toe to toe hitting at each other’s hands and chests. They did not make fists exactly and it wasn’t paddycake either. I’m guessing it has to do with how receivers can deal with defensive backs when they are trying to get off the line of scrimmage. In any case, it appears that all the players were enjoying the drill.

There was one running play of note. It looked like a tricky surprise handoff to FB Madison Hedgecock. He danced up field cutting and twisting before the defense knew he had the ball. He then spiked it. Sort of a sop to Cerberus.

The final drill was an 11 on 11 red zone running drill. All of a sudden, the intensity level went way up. You could hear the pads as bodies collided with abandon. There were large piles of player on the ground after each running play. The defense had had enough waving at running backs. This time the offense was not going anywhere if the defense could help it. After four or five similar plays the practice was ended. On the final play, OT Guy Whimper who was under a pile of bodies may or may not have gotten nicked up.

Jul 292008

July 28, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Reports: To see the latest BBI training camp reports, please visit the Training Camp section of the website.

Giants’ Beat Writer Practice Reports: The following are brief practice reports provided by the NY/NJ beat writers who cover the Giants:

Injury Report – Carr Practices: Not practicing yesterday were WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee – PUP), WR David Tyree (knee – PUP), and OL Jonathan Palmer (quad – PUP).

It was revealed yesterday that Burress’ ankle injury is a new one. “It is the same ankle but not the same injury,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “The doctor said that he had some soreness and hopefully thought that by mid-week maybe (he might return)…He has a situation where he absolutely has to wear orthotics. He really has to wear them all the time. That’s really going to help and hopefully the soreness will be gone so he can work this week, I hope.”

“It is something I did a couple of weeks ago,” said Burress. “The team knew about it. I went down and saw the doctor in Carolina. My number one thing is to be healthy, that is the bottom line. It doesn’t have anything to do with contracts or anything like that. If that was the case, then I wouldn’t be here.”

“You know I am just trying to prevent what I went through last year,” said Burress. “For me, I don’t want to play at the same level that I played at last year. I want to be better and the only way for me to do that is to rest and get to be 100 percent and be healthy so I can go out and take my game to the next level.”

WR Mario Manningham left morning practice early with a quad injury and did not return in the evening. “He’s got some quad soreness and about halfway through the individual Ronnie (Barnes) said that he ought to be shut down,” said Coughlin. “I don’t know the extent of it. We will have to wait and see.”

QB David Carr (foot) passed his physical and was removed from the Non-Football Injury List. He practiced in the evening.

Not practicing in the morning were DE Osi Umenyiora (hip), CB Sam Madison (sports hernia), and LB Zak DeOssie (back), but all three practiced in the evening. LB Danny Clark (sports hernia) practiced in the morning, but not in the evening.

Jul 282008
July 28, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

Ten minutes of light rain followed by ten minutes of heavier rain, during the middle of the practice, did not dampen the enthusiasm of about 2,500 fans who showed up for autograph night. There were easily five times more people than at the morning practice. A substantial number of them never actually saw the practice. They just waited patiently along autograph alley for the practice to end so that they could get players’ autographs. What they missed was the Giants in full pads and the first real passing by QB David Carr.

All in all, Carr had a pretty good first outing. He has a strong arm and, for the most part, he got rid of the ball in about two seconds with impressive accuracy on his short and intermediate passes. I don’t think that this surprised anybody. Carr’s real test will come in 10 days in Detroit when he won’t be wearing a red shirt and he will have the pressure of competing against QB Anthony Wright for a back-up QB job. More importantly, he will have to maintain his composure under the pressure of a pass rush. It is fairly certain that the Lions will want to have a good showing against the Giants and are probably thinking, “Let’s go all out to blitz Carr, shake him up, and see what happens.” I would not be surprised if every team the Giants play this year thinks the same way.

The practice ended with QB Eli Manning running the two minute drill. He succeeded. It took him about a minute and ten seconds to go about 80 yards. The last 25-30 yards was a textbook pass and catch by WR Amani Toomer, who made the reception look easy. The prior 35-40 yards was an excellent reception by WR Domenik Hixon, who had an excellent evening practice.

WR Plaxico Burress and WR Mario Manningham were not dressed. If the Giants had to play Detroit tomorrow without help from Burress or Manningham, it appears that Eli would be relying on Hixon to stretch the field. Hixon just might be up to the task.

There were punt returns. LB Zak DeOssie and OC Grey Ruegamer long snapped tolerably well and P Jeff Feagles punted a series of beauties. Feagles is pure gold. Hixon, CB R.W. McQuarters, HB Ahmad Bradshaw, CB Aaron Ross and WR Sinorice Moss were running under the punts. In the still summer air, all the punts were fielded without error. Also without error were the 8 or 10 field goals that PK Lawrence Tynes kicked from distances ranging from about 25 to 40 yards. Apparently, the DT Jay Alford snaps and Feagles holds were also up to the task. The crowd absolutely loved having the kicks go over the fence and into their midst.

During the warm-up drills Jeff Feagles was kicking his punts high and deep. During one punt there were perhaps five or six small birds flying high over the field. Feagles’ punt came within a yard or two of hitting one of those birds and it certainly disrupted their formation. It was worth coming down to training camp just to see that kick.

I probably did not see all of the passing action by David Carr because two fields away, there was a one-on-one lineman drill. I only got a partial view of that as well. DE Renaldo Wynn got by OT Adam Koets. OC Grey Ruegamer was able to hold out DT Rodney Leisle. OT Na’Shan Goddard held out DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo. Actually, he took him down and landed on top of him. OT Kareem McKenzie stalemated DE Justin Tuck. I’m told he did it twice.

I mentioned that WR Domenik Hixon had a good practice. Pretty much all of the receivers made at least one impressive catch and most of the defensive backs also had an opportunity to shine. However, it seemed to me that WR Brandon London had the best practice of the receivers. He made three or four deep catches that required him to adjust to the flight of the ball. He showed agility and grace and it looked like he could have made some decent yards after the catch. I think he really helped himself this evening. He is such a big young guy, he could be a real weapon if he is good enough to make the squad.

Jul 282008
July 28, 2008 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

The practice was again on the lower fields, but with milder weather. The Giants are in what Tom Coughlin calls “uppers” – shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. This should be closer to playing in full pads which is scheduled for tonight.

Although WR Mario Manningham was dressed, he did not participate in the practice. He did not appear to be injured. Mario Manningham is very slender and built for speed. Mario has skinny legs like a Greyhound. If Mario wants to survive in the NFL, it may be necessary for him to add a little muscle to his angular frame, because the Cowboys and the Eagles have defensive backs who are built more like Dobermans than Greyhounds. Rowff!

I don’t mean to short-change the Giants defensive backs. They are all large and well-muscled. Except for Chihuahua-sized CB Kevin Dockery. Okay, okay, Dockery may be a Chihuahua, but he thinks he’s a Doberman.

Speaking of Greyhounds, OT Shane Olivea is also built like a Greyhound— a Greyhound bus! He has a very blocky frame and enormous arms. It looked like Shane and OG Kurt Quarterman were going up against the newest Giant, DT Jeremy Clark. Clark has inherited DT Nate Robinson’s jersey number of 73. Clark looks to be pretty much a carbon copy of Nate. (Do any of you youngsters even know what carbon paper is?)

There was more punt return competition. The lion’s share of it went to WR Domenik Hixon, who was last year’s KO returner. R.W. McQuarters and WR Michael Jennings also participated. Domenik looked comfortable catching the ball out of the Juggs machine. Long snapper LB Zak DeOssie was not dressed; P Jeff Feagles has the mornings off, and OC Grey Ruegamer was doing the faux long snapping. There was a scary moment when one of the defenders accidentally tripped Hixon on a run-back. Hixon fell heavily. He got up, shook it off, and was apparently okay. If I remember correctly, he also held onto the ball.

Hixon continues to play with the first team and looks more and more comfortable catching the ball. The only dropped pass that I noticed was from QB Anthony Wright. It was behind Hixon and he could only get a hand on it.

Wright also spoiled TE Kevin Boss’ string of completions with an off-line pass. Boss, I am happy to report, is not making so many diving completions. Instead, he is making many of his receptions look routine. On one pass, he ran down the field and turned just in time to catch the pass over Kevin Dockery. No muss, no fuss. Boss was almost nonchalant.

It is also very encouraging that TE Darcy Johnson continues to catch everything that is thrown his way. However, TE Eric Butler was not so lucky this morning. In the 7 on 7s, LB Mathias Kiwanuka made a fine pass defense by batting away QB Anthony Wright’s pass to Butler. However, Butler then went over to the other side of the field, the non-Kiwi side, and caught a pass.

QB André Woodson, in my opinion, has consistently out-played QB Anthony Wright. Woodson finds his receivers quicker, is more accurate with his throws, has a stronger arm, and has better timing. I am not an expert, but I do not see any great hitch or long wind-up in his throws. He certainly showed no hesitation on a shotgun snap in the seven on sevens that he threw deep down the middle to WR Sinorice Moss. It hit Moss right on the button. On the other hand, Wright is consistently late in throwing the ball which results in them being under-thrown. He often puts too much air under the ball as well. In the 11 on 11s Wright could not find an open receiver so he threw it to CB Corey Webster who made the interception and happily ran it back. I have to add that Wright has experience, which counts for a lot, and Woodson has none, so lets not say that Woodson is our savior just yet.

QB David Carr continues to practice his throwing motion and footwork under the watchful eye of Quarterbacks Coach Chris Palmer. This morning Carr was playing catch with WR David Tyree instead of with WR Plaxico Burress as he had on Friday and Saturday. Plaxico may be in a snit because he does not have a new contract (and IMO will not get one until his health issues are resolved and the Giants are sure that he can go full-speed.) I don’t know if Carr has a nickname, but the one that come’s to mind is “legs like sticks.”