by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF
“Call of the Wild” Camp Opening
There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck…He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.
Jack London, The Call of the Wild
(He was talking about the Rookies partying before Camp opens, methinks)
The Champs are back! Today is the first day of camp, 2012! Great News! I was watching Audibles on ESPN last night, and Marcellus Wiley had the Giants as high as FOURTH in the NFC EAST, after winning the Super Bowl! Does it get any better than that?
For those of you new to this camp report, I’m JohnF (not Marty the Amazing, who is everywhere and sees everything!). It’s a bit different, as I’m an old Arena League guy; more than 3 linemen make me dizzy! Oh, and if you’ve heard some of the jokes before, remember it’s good for the Earth to recycle things!
Time to fire up the Accord, take I90 from Schenectady to Albany, stop at the Western Avenue Dunkin Doughnuts for some refreshment, and motor on to Camp Scooby Doo. I might have to call it Camp Nanotech, though, pretty soon, as there is an amazing amount of money and construction going on just for that.
The weather looked miserable this morning, but it’s cleared up, cloudy with the Sun poking through at times..low ’80′s with no rain is a good start! Let’s go!
Oh, and I’ll warn you ahead of time…this report will suck. Couldn’t help it, I got paged from work (long story), and had to fix something remotely, but I was prepared…the Virgin Mobile Mifi WORKED!
Wow, they really tore SUNY up. There are new construction fences all over the place. I don’t think it’s for the Foreign Language students though (another long story). I didn’t see the new stadium construction on Field 1 for the UA football team that’s currently in America East (CoughCoughLookslikethey’removingtotheColonialLeagueCough).
Practice is not on the lower field, they apparently moved it to the current football stadium:
There’s good and bad here…nice seats, but I had a good portion of my view blocked by the PEAKED UA tent on the sideline. Bah.
Got there late as well (I was lucky to get out of work today). Got there at 1:15, which is supposed to be plenty of time, but of course Tom has the players out early.
So, I park at Dutch quad, get my “All Sessions Pass” for $15 (beats having to pay $5 a day). Of course, I’m paying the same price for roughly HALF the camps they used to have…thank you NFL/NFLPA.
Puff, Puff, hustle down to the stands. I’m on the side near where the players come in (if you’re sitting in the stands, near the right end). Punt returns (no coverage) are the order of the day, with Hosley, Hixon, Randle, Jernigan and Cruz taking turns. Weatherford looks good, and so do the return guys, though it’s really not at full speed. The QB’s are at the left end of the field, doing footwork drills.
The Defense is by my end, and I see Canty talking to Austin, laughing. I’ll try and do some lip reading, though I’ll warn you, I’m not too acurate:
Canty: Rook, where your dreads?
Austin: Dorm poker games are rough, you know?
Horn sounds, and we go through a whole series of stretches. A lot of them. Oh, and is there anyone left in NJ?? I don’t remember seeing more support staff on the field than the players. Wow!
Beckum and Sintim are behind the endzone, doing leg crunches. Canty was the only guy I saw on the Bike, doing the “Tour de Albany.”
Horn sounds again. More Punt Returns with Jernigan, Randle and Hixon. No sign of Hicks. Or Nicks. One of the punts wanders to the sideline, and nearly hits JPP, who puts his hands up and moves away. (“Not MY Job, Mon!)
Speaking of the defense, I’m not sure who’s bigger, Bernard or Rogers. Rogers looks smaller, but Rocky got blowed up. They certainly will make running up the middle harder. Also, I doubt any hot dogs get past the line.
Austin’s a bit chunky, but he’s built like a fire plug. It should be interesting to see his first real action. Hopefully, he’s not related to Sampson.
Osi looks like a kid out there compared to the big guys, but he looks fast again. So does Tuck. I know they are huge close up, but my word, Bernard and Rogers are space eaters.
Kiwi’s hanging with the LB’s, if you’re wondering.
Serious drills start. I’m not close to the offense, but I am to the defense.
(No, I did NOT mean it that way!! Shame on you!)
The Defense is split up into 4 groups, LB’s, CB’s, Safeties and Linemen. Each group rotates around in a clockwise direction. The coaches stay in the 4 cardinal points, and instruct the players to do fumble recovery, striping the ball over the outside shoulder, striping the ball by reaching underneath the player’s grip, or trying to intercept the ball. When you rotate the whole circle, you do all the drills. And they are going full speed!
The offensive linemen on the other side are doing traditional stepping over pylons drills. The QB’s are doing dump offs or hand-offs to the various RB’s, TE’s, WR’s.
Water break, and the defense starts other drills. The D Line is running over pylons (sideways, like they are going down the line), then tackle an inflatable dummy. JPP just explodes in these drills…you can hear the impact from him hitting over 100 feet away!
Oh, and they pull out the “Ball on a stick” drill. You can make your OWN joke with that one, boys and girls!
Coach holds ball on a stick, to simulate the snap for four D Linemen. When he moves the stick, they burst out of their 3-point stance and sprint to the endzone. Well, not Rogers, he’s fast for about 5 feet, then jogs. I don’t expect to see a JPP down-the-field tackle, or zone blitz, from him.
The QB’s (Eli, Carr and Perrilloux) are doing dump offs. Hixon looks good, is doing his cuts without any problems. Isaiah Stanback (18) intrigues me…he made some nice catches, still needs work on his cuts, but has a presence out there. I’m keeping an eye on him.
Oh, and Martellus Bennett is NOT fat. He’s just big. And built. And he’s going to be a load as a blocker.
Horn. Eli starts, and first Cruz and then Barden make catches that drew raves from the crowd (my view was blocked by the tent, darn it!).
Then work calls. Sigh. I have to save lives (at least today…the rest of the next two weeks I’m free!! YESSS!)
Much later after missing most of the passing drills), Jake Muasau makes a diving interception off of Perrilloux (ball bounced off the WR’s hands). Got glimpses of Ware, Brown and Bradshaw taking dump offs (hey Ahmad, I know long shorts are de rigueur since Jordan, but they really shouldn’t hit your socks. Seriously, get them shortened!).
Horn sounds, and now we have either KO or PR where the runner just takes the ball in the endzone from the coach, and has to avoid two players. Jernigan, Bing, Wilson and Randle do their thing.
Practice ends. Sorry for the quality, I’m a bit rusty. Things should look better tomorrow! (Autograph Day!)
Things you didn’t see after practice ends:
Unusual spot for the TC presser. It was in back of the end zone, up on a stand with the blue Giants/Toyota background.
Coach Pope was hanging with the TE’s after practice, talking. Bennett looked either very serious, or miffed. He did give a thumbs up and a small smile to the crowd later. The TE’s did some after-practice sprints (sideline to sideline).
Stanback and another guy were doing more pitch-and-catch after practice.
Coach Fewell was also doing pitch-and-catch with his two kids after practice (well,I think they were his kids). One had a #33 Fewell blue giants shirt.
Autographs were by the fence, and the players stayed there a while.
Where was Pat Hanlon? I kept looking for him. I’ll do the fashion thing with him tomorrow, then!
Guys looked good today. I’m crossing my fingers, we got a really good bunch if we can get them all on the field!