by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor gidiefor
First of all Marty gave us some weak excuse last night about having to go shopping with his wife – trust me we gave him plenty of grief last night, but he assures you all that he will be returning to practice and will be there more than he’s not.
Four players made strong cases for themselves today – Moss, Ware, Droughns and E. Butler.
Moss has been running very crisp routes for the past three practices, but particularly today. He was also catching nearly everything thrown at him.
There is two exceptions to this – he couldn’t hold onto a long pass right in the bucket, and he was overthrown on another where it appeared to me if he was taller (like Hixon) he would have caught the ball – and this seems to be a real weakness.
Moss is clearly a talented player. He seemed much more comfortable on the field today than he did a few days ago. I am coming to the conclusion that he will be effective if he is used on patterns where catches after a cut. Someone at practice today compared him to a water bug, and Gmanfan joked that he would do well in Philly because McNabb would throw at his knees. I cracked up at that comment, but clearly Moss is at his best when he is getting little dinks after he has switched gears – like on an out or crossing pattern. He is very crisp when he cuts, and when he is on he gathers in everything that comes at him, and he can take off with the ball out of a cut.
Another thing I noticed is that Moss is a very, very good blocker and that he blocks with authority. He definitely runs and cuts better than Jennings. Jennings is a hard worker and runs hard, he can catch, and he can catch the ball on long routes – but Moss is better at crossing the field in traffic. He can disappear below the radar and then burst out.
Ware and Droughns
I am discussing Ware and Droughns together because they are in a battle right now. There is no doubt that Jacobs, Bradshaw and Ward, baring an injury, are making the team. The more interesting question is whether or not Droughns and/or Ware is staying.
Ware looks great out there. He catches everything thrown at him and he is running with both agile cutting moves, speed and power. He is a very, very good running back.
Droughns, is having a great camp too. He looks like he has dropped weight, he seems faster than last year, and he is running and catching the ball with authority.
Frankly I think Droughns has the edge skill-wise as a savvy vet – but there’s not a large drop off from him to Ware as a running back – the difference between them may be blocking skills, and we have yet to see whether Ware can block – while Droughns has demonstrated in years past that he can carry the blocking load. Thursday night is where this battle will be played front and center.
Eric Butler is raw but he can play – he had a good practice today. He was catching and running with authority. He certainly has played better in the running and passing game than Johnson or Collins – again blocking will be the key differentiation and preseason will show that. We really haven’t seen real blocking during practice yet.
Finally Thoughts on Life After Shockey
When you think about what Shockey brought to the team it was both fierce blocking and his clutch seam catches. I think with the depth of our WRs, RBs and TEs that the Giants will be able to fill the void.
At WR, behind Burress and Toomer, we have some pretty talented receivers that can make their presence known. Hixon and Smith are both deep threats, Smith and Moss are crossing and short threats, Jennings and Manningham (if he can get on the field) are also threats that will have to be taken seriously. Can any of them block – Moss was mixing in at the line today and blocking very sharply – I haven’t noticed the rest of the WR corps blocking at the line yet.
At RB behind Jacobs, Bradshaw, Ward, Droughns and Ware have shown they are receiving threats in addition to being solid runners. Jacobs and Droughns are solid blockers for sure.
At TE Mathews has shown that he can do it all – block and catch. Boss can catch – but the jury is still out on his blocking – though he has shown some good blocking in practice so far. I saw him work impressively against Kiwi on Friday. We will need to watch them all in preseason to see them against real competition.
Overall I believe that the void will be filled though – we are seemingly very deep in all the areas that Shockey is vacating.