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.