July 28, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Beez
After The Allmans and Santana
The Beezages found ourselves on the way back from Allman Brothers/Santana at SPAC early today, so what better stop-off than the Home of the Danes? So, we popped in. For the record, Gregg Allman looks (and sings) like the old man he is, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks were incredible, and Carlos was crisp, clean and fantastic. Great double-bill that was made better when Haynes and Trucks joined Santana on stage for 3-4 songs later in the evening.
On to camp.
First a little housekeeping. Lots of on-campus construction. From what I can tell, the one biggie that will affect BBIers is that when you trek on foot across from the Best Western (or thereabouts), walking through the little wooded short-cut then up the path, don’t expect to take the usual right-hand turn when you’re past the fenced fields and head up toward the rec building and “the hill.” That entire area is shut down. It’s open only for player parking access. So we had to walk all the way up and around the building, up the stairs (where the giant inflatable Giant often resides) and around through the stadium way. That breeze-way, where we have often seen the concessions tent set up, was shut off today. You were re-directed around to the stadium. The concessions tent wasn’t in the breeze-way either, but was long the back side of the stadium bleachers. Not sure if that’ll be moved for next weekend or beyond, but worth a mention. A longer hike from the usual digs.
Overall impressions …
As it typically goes, you’re only able to watch certain things at one time. First, the receivers.
Relatively speaking, we may be seeing Rueben Randle as a nice pick-up and maybe a guy who can get some touches here and there. After seeing him today, I’m pretty excited. If the Giants did not possess one of the more talented groups of catchers, we might be quite a bit more openly fired up about the arrival of this “new 82.” At first glance, the guy looks big. He’s listed at 6-2, 208 on the BBI roster, while Mario Manningham is 6 feet tall and around 185. First thing I thought was, “looks like a Hakeem Nicks clone.” Strangely enough, Nicks is listed at 6-1, 208. Then you start watching him run through drills and it’s tough to contain the grin. This kid has that “it” we all love to see. Really trying to hold back because, yeah yeah … it’s camp. But man …
Then there’s another presence out there in those same group drills and it’s extremely refreshing. Domenik Hixon running routes, looking re-charged, pounding down hard and making precise cuts. My bet is that Hixon leads the Giants in receiving a few times out of the gate, the beneficiary of single coverage when teams throw up their hands and say, “what the hell do we do here?”
Jerrel Jernigan, used in the right spots, could just be what we always had hoped Sinorice Moss would be. They have him split to both sides at times, in a slot others, going deep and crossing. Today he also caught a quick-hitter just off the line. The big upside with Jernigan is after-the-catch potential, it seems, the guy is slippery. Seems to have decent hands, too.
Isaiah Stanback isn’t a name you’re going to read much of on BBI, and probably with good reason. He’s a soon-to-be 28-year-old journeyman wideout who has 5 career catches with the Cowboys and Pats. Big deal. But at 6-2, 228, he looked very solid today catching the football. Went up high a couple times to bring the ball in. Wonder what the story is with this guy?
Have to toss in Dan DePalma. This is the kid who played the dual roles of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman before the Super Bowl, and who was called by Perry Fewell the “quickest” and “hardest working” New York Giant wide receiver. Well, he looks like Welker on the field, and seeing him there makes you wonder. He’s got quick feet, makes precise cuts and he pulls the ball in when it’s thrown his way. Also seems to be able to make moves after the catch. Another practice squad season? Or is there more? Should be interesting to watch.
Last mention of a WR … Ramses Barden. As much as I want this guy to succeed, it’s hard to see it happening. Do you keep a 6-6 receiver for spots? A guy who, at moments today, looked like a large puppy loping around out there, unsure of exactly how to manage the length of his limbs. Maybe he was getting more time last season toward the end, but with Hixon back and Randle looking like an NFL receiver, and a couple other intriguing weapons … get a good look at Barden now, folks. Just my gut after seeing him flail around the field today.
At running back, it was nice to watch Ahmad Bradshaw running smoothly. He was making cuts and pushing through holes in the line without apparent effort. Knocking on wood here, but the ankles didn’t appear to be an issue.
One word best describes my first look at David Wilson, live – wow. I get why everyone, including his new quarterback, are so excited about the kid. Wilson looks small out there, of course, but in shells, one thing you quickly notice is the definition in his calves. It looks like there’s a potato imbedded behind each of his shins. And I suppose that must mean that potatoes help a guy run fast and cut like a poor man’s Barry Sanders. Every time #34 got the ball, there were two, three different speeds he would run at, and it’s not as though he’s laying down his best stuff on Day 2. He stops on a dime, veers effortlessly and from a stopped position, the acceleration … wow. Does he have good hands, you ask? On swing-out to the right, backup QB Ryan Perrilloux lofted a pass way up the ladder (he was high on throws all day). Wilson extended fully and plucked it with two open hands, then darted up the sideline. Instant excitement.
DJ Ware and Andre Brown seemed to get about equal touches. Neither one does anything especially spectacular once they have the football, but then again, we all knew that. Although they’re both listed at right about the same size (6 feet, 225/227), Ware is more sleek, while Brown like the closest thing we have to a guy who could posterize Laron Landry … again. Which ones stays, which one goes? Ware is the safe bet, of course.
The fullback thing is just one example of a team that, on paper, shouldn’t have so many intriguing question marks. But this team does, and FB is interesting. In one guy, Henry Hynoski, you have a second-year bruiser who has a Super Bowl ring. But then you see Joe Martinek, just 225 pounds of him (or 41 pounds fewer than Hynoski), and you salivate thinking of the ways Kevin Gilbride could work this kid into the mix. He has some quickness, showed some good hands today, so will this selfless, solid blocker work his way onto the final roster as a special-teamer?
Going through my notes, more observations:
* Chris Snee and Mitch Petrus matched up during O-line pad drills. Fun to watch these two bulls go at it.
* Victor Cruz can do no wrong. He could drop trow and take a dump on the practice field and fans at camp would scream Cruuuuuuuz. He catches a routine 5-yard out? Cruuuuuuuz. Annoying. But I suppose the guy has earned it. After all, with Hakeem Nicks watching on the side, Cruz brought the most excitement today from the catcher ranks. The guy must have Spidey-grip because on a few balls thrown his way, he had no business coming up with them. On a couple, he did, one a one-hander along the sideline. On two others, he nearly made more one-handers. Scary.
* TE Larry Donnell may have no chance to make the final roster, but he impressed with a nice leaping grab on a too-high toss from David Carr.
* Already mentioned Dan DePalma, but worth a second nod … he made a really sweet and equally tough catch (see: Jim Edmonds going over the shoulder while running toward the center field wall) that was a crowd-pleaser.
* From the category of “no kidding” comes this: Jason Pierre-Paul looks thick as hell. If Justin Tuck is 270 and Pierre-Paul is 280? Um … I think more.
* The last time I wrote a camp report that mentioned a guy wearing #55, I recall describing Lavar Arrington’s movements on the practice field as a shark trolling the water for lunch. It’s been a while, but there’s another shark in town, wearing that same number (Keith Rivers).
* TE Bear Pascoe continues to look like the guy who does absolutely nothing flashy, yet everything he’s asked to do. He caught everything that was thrown his way.
* During 11-on-11s, David Carr’s pass fell short over the middle. The defense is in full playoff swing. While it was clearly an incomplete pass, the second the ball hit the turf, there were screams of “FUMBLE” and a scramble began for the “loose” ball. Good to see.
* Carr to Wilson, complete along the right sideline … cutting, accelerating. Wow.
* Twice during scrimmage situations, D-linemen batted down thrown balls. Justin Tuck got one, and Shaun Rogers got a mitt on another one later. Both times, it was fun and alarming to see/hear Perry Fewell erupt out of a sea of blue and white jerseys along the side of the scrimmage, screaming and running into the mix of players. Each time, he located the ball-batter and whacked him on the butt. Fewel is fired up!
* Punter Steve Weatherford is this team’s Phil McConkey. Horn sounds and immediately Weatherford starts screaming “FIELD GOAL! FIELD GOAL!” over everything else. Linebackers head to one spot where they’re working on “push” over the center snap on a FG try. Defensive backs are running gauntlets through assistant coaches and their assistants on simulated snaps, trying to get to an imaginary holder for a chance at a block. And there’s Weatherford, holding Zak DeOssie’s snaps for Lawrence Tynes when suddenly he’s off to the races, peeling right and around the outside. He runs to daylight (it was all daylight), then runs and jumps high, bouncing off the upper shoulder of Dave Diehl, who seemed like a tolerant big brother. And Steve Weatherford wasn’t good enough for the New York Jets. Love it!
* Short or long drills, fades and outs, 11-on-11s, 7-on-7s, Eli Manning looked sharp as a tack. His passes were on, his confidence seemed high and … oh wait. He’s got the job, right? Yeah. I guess it’s his to lose.
The rain came toward the end, but didn’t deter the ridiculous number of Giants “fans” who were on hand to collect autographs. We were relieved when both of our kids said we needed to go and get out of that crowd. After all, we’d be back next Friday to see Eli accept the Hope Trophy.