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.