by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
Another beautiful sunny afternoon in the low 80s. The Giants still in the SUNY stadium and in shorts and shells. I was in the stands in the shade.
The sign on the gate leading onto the playing field says, “Proper ID Required. NO strollers, coolers or Video Cameras.” I guess they could have added, “and no Bill Belichick either.”
P Jeff Feagles was back punting. He only works once a day. He was his old consistent self kicking beauty after beauty. LB Zak DeOssie was snapping the ball to him. I was surprised to see LB Chase Blackburn also working at long snapping. Clearly Chase is just learning. His first snap was from 13 yards away. Then he realized that it should be from fifteen yards, not thirteen. I figured out why Blackburn was learning to long snap when I saw OC Grey Ruegamer make a very low snap an then one that was too high and too slow.
It is too early to say anything about the offensive line. However, I really enjoy watching OG Rich Seubert. He is always smiling and always seems to be having a good time.
I spoke to soon about CB Corey Webster. This afternoon he did not have the streamer that was hanging from his waist this morning. I guess Colonel Tom noticed it and took it away.
QB Eli Manning continued to make good accurate throws this afternoon and WR Amani Toomer continued to look great. Toomer made one of the best catches of the afternoon a 20-25 yard leaping sideline catch. The three QBs really spread the ball around and just about everyone, WRs, TEs, and RBs made catches. It was very encouraging. Nevertheless, I caution everyone not to jump to conclusions. Especially in regard to new players on the team. Don’t cut anybody or send them to Canton just yet. Wait until they have had a few practices to get used to the system and wait until they play in full pads.
I generally mention whether the Giants are in full pads or in helmets and shells. I do this because IMO full pads are more restrictive. It is harder to throw a football, harder to catch it, and harder to extend your arms to defend a pass when you are in full pads. Thus, a good play made while wearing full pads counts more in my book than a good play made wearing shells.
There will be two practices tomorrow. I expect that they will also be with the Giants in shells. This means that contact will be more limited than in full pads. It has been Coach Coughlin’s style treat the first two days of practice as a Football 101 refresher course. Play will be restricted to going over the basics to make sure that all the players understand what they are supposed to do, before they are actually asked to execute the plays at full speed (full practice speed, that is, with limited blocking, no tackling and nobody falling down if possible).
QB André Woodson looked a lot better this afternoon than he did this morning. He appeared to be taking the snaps and making hand-offs without the problems he encountered this morning. He also limited most of his throws to short and intermediate passes, say 20-25 yards and he looked very accurate and in rhythm.
Speaking of rhythm, Eli connected with TE Kevin Boss on one of his patented diving sideline catches for about 17-20 yards. However, they also connected on a bunch of others that were not so spectacular. They were more like pitch and catch. To me, those pitch and catch passes are more desirable and ought to be the goal of all quarterbacks.
WR Mario Manningham was another player who did a lot better this afternoon than in the morning. He seems to have a better picture of where the ball was going and was a lot smoother in his technique. Of course, on an end-around, he was stopped cold by rookie first round pick S Kenny Phillips who was not fooled by the misdirection and held his ground (or didn’t realize what was going on and just held his position. I couldn’t tell.) In another end-around, the Giants didn’t have any luck with WR Steve Smith who was stopped well in the backfield by DE Justin Tuck. I’m not sure that Smith has enough speed for that type of play.
CB Corey Webster continued to play well defensively and TE Darcy Johnson continued to make catches in stride. TE Eric Butler and TE Jerome Collins also had their moments. HB Brandon Jacobs continued to show that he can run around end with speed and power. HB Danny Ware is also speedy. Perhaps a bit more speedy than HB Kay-Jay Harris who got a lot of carries this afternoon and who looked good catching the ball. These two guys will have to show something special if they want to run HB Reuben Droughns off the team. Reuben continues to show that he is just a good, solid third or fourth string running back.
In the 7 on 7s S James Butler made an excellent play, batting away an Eli Manning pass to WR Michael Jennings. LB Chase Blackburn also made a good play in the 7 on 7s. I couldn’t tell whether it was a pass defense or and interception of an Anthony Wright pass. Next, LB Mathias Kiwanuka made a fine pass defense of a Wright pass to TE Jerome Collins. Soon after that Corey Webster nearly picked off a deep pass from Wright to WR Sinorice Moss. If the throw had been two yards deeper, Moss would have had a long TD.
In the 11 on 11s, HB Derrick Ward was dressed and he showed that he can still run faster than Reuben Droughns. After that, it appears that CB R.W. McQuarters intercepted an Eli Manning pass. Woodson then found WR Brandon London who made several catches today. Woodson then threw to WR D.J. Hall who made an excellent adjustment to catch the ball. He also showed some of his speed.