by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
Barden, Moss, and Pascoe get Opportunity to Shine
I woke up this morning to a heavy downpour, but like any Giants fan, I am nothing if not an optimist. Camp is about ten miles south of my house so I was hoping that it would be drier there.
By the time I arrived, the rain had stopped. It was cool, overcast, and muggy. Practice was postponed 30 minutes to let the field dry off a bit.
The Giants were in “uppers” – helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts – so the hitting was brisk. In the drills closest to me, Safeties Coach Dave Merritt was working with the safeties on having two defenders taking on a carrier to prevent the ball carrier from splitting them. It is very embarrassing when two defensive players collide with each other and take themselves out of the play. Eventually, Merritt got around to having the defensive linemen and linebackers work on this drill too.
There was also a punt return drill. WR Sinorice Moss, CB Aaron Ross, and S Antrel Rolle were taking turns catching punts from the jugs gun. Sometimes they just practiced catching the ball and sometimes it was a full-scale run-back against the defensive team. Sinorice had a fine run-back, cutting to his left and going down the side line. Ross, who had been making his practice catches in a rather nonchalant manner, had his legs go out from under him on the damp grass when he tried to cut. He was very upset when he got up and you could not tell if he had hurt is leg. He was back on the field a short time later.
With C Shaun O’Hara still not on the field, C Adam Koets remains the starting center, but I did not see any other changes in either the offensive or defensive starters.
With WR Hakeem Nicks and WR Mario Manningham not playing this morning, WR Sinorice Moss and WR Ramses Barden got to play with the starters. Moss made a bunch of catches and also took a handoff from Eli on an end around play in which he cut up the right side line for what would have been a long gain. The only negative play – and this may symbolize the reason why Moss is not a star – was a very short pass from QB Rhett Bomar to Moss over the middle. Perhaps it was a bit high and a bit hard, but it bounced off Sinorice’s up-stretched hands and into the arms of CB Seth Williams for one of the practice’s two interceptions.
Seth Williams, unlike most of the Giants D, has shoulder length Troy Polamalu-like hair that pours out of the back of his helmet and obscures his name on his jersey. Earlier in the practice, Seth took a poke in the eye from a stiff arm administered by either FB Madison Hedgecock or HB D.J. Ware. It was an inadvertent poke, but with the regular shoulder pads on, the runners were running a lot harder and the defense was not letting them run by untouched. That poke in the eye amped up Seth’s intensity for the rest of the practice.
Speaking of running backs, HB Brandon Jacobs continues to run with speed and he caught both of the passes that I saw thrown to him. FB Madison Hedgecock, not known for his hands, managed to catch two of three balls. The ball that he missed was right to him and he absolutely botched the catch. In my opinion, the miss more indicative of Madison’s receiving skills. Nevertheless, if Madison can go back to run blocking they way he did two years ago, then his receiving skills will be irrelevant.
HB D.J. Ware, HB Gartrell Johnson, and HB Andre Brown got to carry the ball, too. Ware has power, speed, and elusiveness. Gartrell is about as fast and powerful as Ware, but not as elusive. I’ll wait a while before I comment on Andre Brown other than to say that he is a reliable receiver.
In the 7 on 7 drills, S Antrel Rolle made the second interception of the practice when he corralled an errant pass from QB Jim Sorgi. The ball might have slipped out of Sorgi’s hand because I did not notice a receiver nearby. Bomar continues to throw strong accurate balls, but he is still too slow to find his receivers.
As mentioned before, with the increased hitting intensity, there were many times when the defense got into the backfield to “sack” the quarterback or smother the running back. Also, it is clear that the Giants are still waiting for a player to step up and demonstrate that he can adequately fill in for C Shaun O’Hara. Many of the center snaps were poorly executed this morning.
TE Kevin Boss did not practice. It is possible that his poor play yesterday is the result of Kevin not being 100 percent healthy. In any case, with Kevin and TE Travis Beckum not practicing, it gave TE Scott Chandler and TE Bear Pascoe additional opportunities. I believe they each made a catch, but for what ever reason, they did not get a lot of balls thrown their way.
WR Ramses Barden caught a number of passes this morning. The most interesting was a pass from QB Jim Sorgi in the 11 on 11s. Barden was running down the field about a yard from the sideline. The defender was ahead of him and perhaps a yard closer to the middle of the field. Sorgi’s pass was under-thrown and heading out of bounds. Barden reached over with his longs arms and caught the ball at waist height just as it was crossing the side line and hauled it in to his body. His arms are so long that he did not have to change direction. He just caught the ball and continued to run straight down the sideline. I have never seen a catch like that.