by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
I can’t say as there were any spectacular plays today. I tend to think that the deeper passes are a little riskier in terms of injuries as opposed to quick hitters to receivers that are open. With WR Plaxico Burress, WR Steve Smith, WR Mario Manningham, and WR David Tyree out and with WR Amani Toomer nursing a bad leg, I’m guessing that the Giants don’t want to put extra stress the remaining receivers. By now, I’m pretty sure that the Giants coaches have a good idea of the capabilities of their receivers, even if the subject is still open to debate on BBI.
The Giants were in “uppers” – shoulder pads, shorts, and helmets. The hitting was therefore less intense than when they wear full pads.
Perhaps the most significant event of the practice was that the injury bug has attacked the offensive line. OT Shane Olivea is still out and OG Chris Snee was also not on the field. My guess is that Snee got nicked up in yesterday’s one-on-one lineman drills.
Snee was replaced at OG by Kevin Boothe. The only other OG available is the huge and newly arrived Kurt Quarterman. Still, I think that this is a vote of confidence for Boothe. In prior years, Coach Coughlin would have had OC Grey Ruegamer fill in for Snee with the first team and then have Grey go back to OC with the second team. As I have mentioned before, Boothe is not the fastest lineman, but speed is not the only factor to consider. Not getting shoved by a Defensive Tackle into your own QB would be one of those factors.
The second team offensive line was Guy Whimper at left tackle, Na’Shan Goddard at right guard, Grey Ruegamer at center, Kurt Quarterman at left guard, and Adam Koets at right tackle.
The practice opened with punt returns. As usual, HB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Domenik Hixon, and CB R.W. McQuarters were fielding the punts. Bradshaw muffed the first punt to him; then Hixon muffed his punt. On Hixon’s next try it took him a few steps before he fully secured the ball. Mind you, these were easy kicks. There was only a slight breeze and no angry opponents in their faces. McQuarters was perfect.
The offensive linemen have an interesting drill to ensure that when they fire-out block, they keep low to the ground. They run under a framework of metal tubing that is perhaps 4 feet off the ground (or whatever the desirable height should be). If they raise up they will smack their heads on the frame. The frame would win that collision.
Eric from BBI interceded with Pat Hanlon on my behalf to get me a field pass. Today I found myself watching the proceedings while standing only a few feet from the edge of the field. I pretended to be important. Thanks Pat and Eric.
QB Eli Manning threw a 25-30 yard pass in my direction. There was nobody near the ball and it looked like it was going to fall incomplete. Out of nowhere came Hixon who deftly pulled the ball out of the air for an easy catch. It didn’t even look as if Hixon were running at full speed. Amazing.
Toomer dropped a perfectly thrown deep slant from Manning in the 11 on 11s, when he slid to the turf. I attribute this to Toomer’s sore leg.
When HB Brandon Jacobs runs through the line he pushes people aside, or runs over them, or runs through them. But when HB Ahmad Bradshaw runs through the line it seems like he can get his 5-9 body underneath those big linemen.
HB Reuben Droughns and HB Danny Ware both have some speed but at 220 and 234 respectively, it takes them about 10 yards to get up a head of steam. It takes the 198 pound only a few steps. Bradshaw has fantastic acceleration. If he can catch the ball out of the backfield, it would result in some game-changing big gains. For a big man, HB Brandon Jacobs has phenomenal acceleration.
HB Derrick Ward had a nice run after a lateral move at the line of scrimmage. Clearly, he remains the number three running back.
A few more observations:
- CB Terrell Thomas made a good pass defense of a double move pass thrown to WR Brandon London.
- LB Mathias Kiwanuka rushed Manning in the 11 on 11s forcing him to throw to TE Kevin Boss before he was ready which resulted in an incomplete pass.
- QB David Carr looked left, looked right, looked left again, and then threw the ball to the most open patch of grass on the field. He also threw a perfect pass that bounced off TE Darcy Johnson’s chest.
- CB Corey Webster continues to look very confident. He seemed to handle WR Domenik Hixon without much trouble.
The starting linebackers are Danny Clark, Antonio Pierce (back today), and Mathias Kiwanuka. The second team consist of Zak DeOssie at Sam, Chase Blackburn at Mike, and Bryan Kehl at Will.
CB Aaron Ross broke up a pass intended for TE Eric Butler, but Ross interfered with him so blatantly that a nearby coach, who happened to be holding one of those yellow helmet covers used in the punt return drills, threw it down as if it were a penalty marker. I found that quite humorous.
The practice ended with a drill where two “gunners” attempted to corral a kick returner. The crowd enjoyed this drill and it came as no surprise when Domenik Hixon gave the best performance.