by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
The media and photographers were out in force this morning as the Giants practiced in shorts and shells. I’m guessing that many reporters will say that the Giants are going to miss Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. The reason: QB Eli Manning was a bit ragged and nothing spectacular happened with Nicks in the first practice. It is way too early to make those kinds of conclusions.
The practice was on the stadium field which has a high crown and presumably better drainage than the grass practice fields that the Giants were scheduled to use before the rains came yesterday. It was the safe thing to do, but it prevented the team from spreading out so that each squad could practice individually (and it gave me more to report).
The Rookies – Reese’s Pieces: WR Hakeem Nicks. He caught a pass in the 7 on 7s, but not in the 11 on 11s. He has the best throwing arm this side of P Jeff Feagles – nice tight spirals. QB Eli Manning should be jealous because Eli threw a lot of wobblers.
LB Clint Sintim. Let’s wait till they put the pads on. OT William Beatty. Same for William.
WR Ramses Barden. He had a good practice although he failed to catch a quick line of scrimmage pass from QB David Carr in the 11 on 11s. (That is not the type of pass to throw to 6-6 Barden anyway.) He moves well and he catches the ball securely, but mostly he is this big lovely inviting target. He caught several easy 5-10 yard passes because the defender was behind him and blocked by Barden’s large body. If a defender plays in front of him, Barden has enough speed to get deep.
TE Travis Beckum. If he did anything this morning I’m afraid I missed it.
HB Andre Brown. He looks like a keeper. He does not have the brilliant speed or wiggle that HB Ahmad Bradshaw demonstrated numerous times this morning, but he is much bigger than Ahmad. Brown runs with some elusiveness, and shows good balance and good vision. He looks like he will be tough to tackle one on one. He looks like he would slip a tackle that the even bigger HB Danny Ware would run through. (Ware had his share of carries and looked just fine.) Best of all, Brown looked good catching a 15 yard pass over the middle from QB David Carr. No other running backs were thrown to.
QB Rhett Bomar. He releases the ball very quickly. Both he and QB Andre’ Woodson were putting center snaps from Adam Koets on the ground. It was probably Koets’ fault, but I’m going to cut Koets some slack…today, anyway.
CB DeAndre Wright. I did not see him do much.
CB Stoney Woodson made an excellent play by breaking up a deep sideline pass from QB Rhett Bomar. Later, Woodson got beaten badly by WR Derek Hagan on a deep TD pass from Bomar that was probably the best reception of the practice.
Kick Returning: WRs Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss and Mario Manningham, and HB Ahmad Bradshaw are all in the mix. There were no drops even though the kicks (all kicks were from the Jugs gun) were tough to field because they were coming out of the sun. Moss and Manningham looked exceptionally fast and elusive running their kicks back and the fans cheered.
HB Brandon Jacobs got his share of handoffs and he looks fit, fluid, and ferocious.
DT Chris Canty made a great play to block a QB David Carr pass in the 11 on 11s. He was high enough to have caught the ball in his teeth. Canty was replacing DT Fred Robbins who was walking around with a big ice bag on his knee. The good news is that Robbins is not as immense as his arrival photograph would lead you to believe. That picture makes him look far bigger than he is, which is still plenty big.
The 11 on 11s started off pretty ragged. Illegal motion on the first play by OT Kareem McKenzie. Then DT Jay Alford jumped offsides. Eli’s first pass was over the head and through the arms of an open WR Domenik Hixon. His next pass was a 40 yard wounded duck that drew three defensive backs waiting to jump ball with the intended receiver. It fell incomplete, probably because it wobbled so badly that it was difficult for anybody to catch. Eli’s next pass, to Moss, was incomplete and then David Tyree dropped one.
Both Tyree and Moss had their share of catches as well. Moss beat his defender by 8 yards and caught a 40 yarder from David Carr and also a 30 yard sideline pass from Carr when, I think, CB Terrell Thomas fell down. Thomas later made an excellent break-up of a QB Andre’ Woodson pass in the 7 on 7s.
S Kenny Phillips had a huge morning. He made a superb diving interception of an Eli Manning pass in the 7 on 7s and then a second interception on a David Carr 7 on 7 pass that was tipped into the air. The defender who did the tipping deserves even more credit, but I could not see who it was.
WR Steve Smith caught several passes, but not the one that Eli Manning threw to him that was intercepted by CB Aaron Ross, who looks in mid-season form.
WR Mario Manningham may or may not have great hands – that remains to be seen. However, once he gets his hands on the ball, he has the moves to turn a short pass into a long one.