by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
Giants’ D Does Not Back Down
If Head Coach Tom Coughlin expected the “dog days” of summer to sweat the off-season out of his team, he must be disappointed so far. The first four practices have been under overcast skies with 70 degree temperatures. Trust me, the fans and beat writers love it. There is a good chance that the cool temperatures will continue for this afternoon’s practice, but by Thursday, both the sun and temps approaching ninety degrees should reappear.
The biggest scare of the day came at the end of practice and involved CB Corey Webster. The Giants were in a 4 minute, 11 on 11 drill starting at the 30 yard line. On the first play, QB Eli Manning dropped back and threw a bomb down the middle intended for WR Steve Smith.
Webster and another defender were all over Smith. All three went up for the ball and all three came down higgledy-piggledy. Smith got up holding the ball. Webster stayed down and was in obvious discomfort. The trainers rushed out to him. They looked at his leg and after half a minute-a long half minute for Coach Coughlin and the team – they picked him up and he walked on his own over to the sidelines without so much as a grimace. Whew!
During the first part of practice, the offense was practicing on its own and they tried an option pass where the ball was lateraled to WR Derek Hagan, who then threw it down field to WR Sinorice Moss. The play worked in the drill. I wondered if it would be used in the 11 on 11s. It was. QB Rhett Bomar handed the ball to Hagan on a reverse. Hagan pulled up, looked down field and threw it to Moss.
That was poor judgment, by Hagen. Moss was well covered and in the struggle, the ball fell incomplete. It could easily have been another of today’s interceptions. As good a camp as Moss is having – and he held onto just about everything that came his way this morning and yesterday afternoon – he is not going to win many jump ball competitions.
Even if the play had worked to perfection, I doubt that Coughlin would try it in a game. Coughlin is not known for using trick plays. Nevertheless, it is appropriate for practice, since our defense may see it from another team. Coach Coughlin gives the appearance of a man who believes that you succeed as the result of dedication and hard work. Trick plays might strike him as trying to get something for nothing.
HB Ahmad Bradshaw rather than HB Brandon Jacobs took the first handoff in the 11 on 11s, and he ran down the left sideline with more speed than in the earlier practices. That is a good sign. Then, Moss caught a pair of passes followed by TE Bear Pascoe.
OT William Beatty was at LT and OT David Diehl was at LG. With C Shaun O’Hara still nursing a sore ankle, C Adam Koets filled in at C with the starters and OG Rich Seubert got some center snaps with the reserves. Shotgun snaps from Koets are an adventure. They are at too high an angle. If the QB is standing one pace too far away from center, the snap will go over his head. C Jim Cordle does a much better job with the shotgun snaps. They arrive chest high and in a hurry.
Although the team was still wearing shorts and shells today, it seemed to me that the defense was getting more aggressive stopping the run, defending the pass, and just out-hustling the offense. In the 11 on 11s QB Rhett Bomar threw a deep pass to WR Derek Hagan. It was hard to tell whether it was a poor throw or a lack of separation by Hagan, but S Michael Greco intercepted it and ran it back to the goal line to the plaudits of his defensive colleagues.
Bomar’s then completed a side line pass to WR Victor Cruz. CB Courtney Brown was right there to make the tackle. This was the case with many of the completions. The defender was right there to limit the yards after catch.
K Lawrence Tynes finally made an appearance. He was kicking off to WRs Sinorice Moss and Adam Jennings, and HB D.J. Ware. Moss got three tries and the others got two. The ball was kicked from the 45 yard line. Clearly, this was not a test of Tynes’ leg, but just a way of getting the returners a consistent ball to catch at the goal line and to see how well they could avoid defenders. All three returners have sufficient foot speed to return KOs. However, my position on the sideline prevented me from judging how elusive the returners were.
In the 7 on 7s, Brandon Jacobs ran down the right sideline and made a fluid waist high catch while in full stride of an Eli Manning toss. He would make OC Kevin Gilbride’s dreams come true if he could duplicate that catch during the season. I wish I could say the same for HB Gartrell Johnson. Gartrell is a very hard runner, but at this point he is not as good a receiver as Andre Brown, D.J. Ware, or Ahmad Bradshaw. This is not to say that he will not improve, but this is where he is currently.
The defense kept the offense on its heels for much of this practice.
In the 7 on 7s, CB Bruce Johnson made a fine interception of a Bomar pass intended for WR Duke Calhoun. This was followed by a lot of defensive aggression, if not outright mugging of receivers.
In the 11 on 11s, WR Ramses Barden dropped a catchable chest high side line pass from Manning. When this was followed by LB Michael Boley’s excellent interception of a short Manning pass over the middle, the rest of the D went crazy.
On the next play, an overexcited S Michael Johnson was offside by about twenty feet. This was followed by a sideline reception from QB Jim Sorgi to Hagan that LB Bryan Kehl ripped out of Hagan’s arms with extreme prejudice and took off with it in the opposite direction. Soon after that, WR Ramses Barden let another catchable pass bounce off his hands. This was followed by the previously mentioned incomplete option pass from Hagan to Moss.