by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
An Entertaining Practice
If you are a fan, some practices are more entertaining than others. Today was one of the best. The skies were clear blue. There was no humidity and temperatures were in the high seventies. The Giants were in shorts and shells, so the hitting was comparatively light, but that did not diminish the entertainment value.
The Giants were practicing on one of the upper fields. It has a hill right behind it whose slope serves as a natural amphitheater. The hill was packed with fans. QB Eli Manning and the other quarterbacks were conducting a passing drill not twenty yards away from the chainlink fence that separates the practice field from the hill. The drill was simple. The receivers ran routes and the quarterbacks hit them in stride. The majority of these fans will never get closer to an Eli Manning pass or to a Giants receiver making a catch.
Other squads were practicing special teams drills further away, but the crowd remained transfixed on Eli and the receivers. The beat writers did not pay much attention to the drill – nor should they have – because there were no defenders involved. I only paid attention because of the crowd reaction. After every reception the fans clapped and gave the player an appreciative cheer. You did not have to be a football expert to understand what was going on. They groaned when, I believe WR Victor Cruz, dropped a short pass. They groaned louder when he dropped the very next pass as well. Later, when the QBs had to move all the way down to the other end of the field where the TV cranes are located, the fans all booed in disappointment.
It was only during the early passing drill that I got a chance to see the newest Giant: receiver Nyan (rhymes with Ryan) Boateng, 6-1, 207. He wears number 2 and he replaces WR Adam Jennings, who apparently did not pan out as a punt returner. Boateng has a smooth stride and he caught a few passes in the early drill without any difficulty. I did not see him participate later on in any of the 7 on 7s or 11 on 11s. He probably needs to take a crash course in the play book first.
Speaking of punt returners, CB Aaron Ross and little WR Tim Brown each caught a few punts. Each made a run back. Ross’ run back was good, but Brown’s drew loud cheers because of his ability to make very quick cuts.
There was also kickoff drill. I saw HBs Andre Brown and D.J. Ware making the catches. More interesting was the fact that K Lawrence Tynes was taking only two steps before he kicked the ball instead of a much longer run up. It appeared that even with only two steps he got the ball down to the goal line, or a few yards in front of it. The kicks had a reasonable amount of height, but they would have been outstanding if they were higher.
The Giants worked on special teams a lot this morning and I heard LB Adrian Tracy and DT Linval Joseph getting praise from the various coaches.
Some people will say that the trophy we gave to WR Steve Smith jinxed him. He did not practice although I saw him catching passes from the jugs gun.
With C Shaun O’Hara and OG Rich Seubert not playing, the starting offensive line was LT David Diehl, LG Guy Whimper, C Adam Koets, RG Chris Snee, and RT Kareem McKenzie. Unfortunately, Whimper might have gotten nicked up in the goal line drill at the end of the practice. We’ll see if he practices this afternoon. It also appears the Adam Koets is continuing to work on his shotgun snaps. They are not yet consistent, but they are no longer so steeply angled as to risk going over the QB’s head.
HB D.J. Ware continues to get a lot of reps both running and receiving and I can’t wait to see how he does in a real game. However, he did get chewed out by a coach for running in the wrong direction on a play. He was not alone in getting helpful criticism. QB Jim Sorgi made a mistake and was corrected in loud and colorful language.
WR Ramses Barden made a fine catch of a deep side line pass from Eli Manning in the 11 on 11s. WR Mario Manningham practiced. He had some catches including a deep one from Eli Manning and some that he got close to, but I do not believe that he is running full tilt yet. I say this because Mario does not seem to be getting the separation from defenders that he has gotten in the past.
Shortly after Manningham’s deep catch, CB Corey Webster made a fine interception and ran it back to the goal line. This was followed by a wonderfully executed pass and catch from Eli to WR Tim Brown. The pass was perfect. It had to be, because it had to get over a defender and be caught by the diminutive Brown.
QB Rhett Bomar also got intercepted in the 11 on 11s. In a lapse of judgment, Rhett threw into triple coverage. It was a deep pass down the middle intended for TE Bear Pascoe (who continues to do well in camp). Rhett was smacking his helmet in disgust even before the ball was picked off by S Sha’reff Rashad.
S Deon Grant did not practice so S Michael Johnson filled in on the starting defensive team. DE Jason Pierre-Paul made some good penetration and was all over Eli Manning in the 11 on 11s and DT Rocky Bernard blocked a QB Jim Sorgi pass in the goal line drill. In that drill, Sorgi had an easy TD completion to TE Scott Chandler while Eli got a TD on a diving catch made by HB Andre Brown.