by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF
“Gentlemen,This is a Football” Edition
“Everybody stop and gather around,” he said. Then he knelt down, picked up the pigskin, and said, “Let’s start at the beginning. This is a football. These are the yard markers. I’m the coach. You are the players.”
I remember the two (players) at Giants camp in Winooski, Vermont, who climbed the fire escape after curfew but picked the wrong window and became entangled in the venetian blinds in the room of Doc Sweeney, the Giants trainer. I remember the defensive end who was tiptoeing down the hall one night, his shoes in his hand, when Jim Lee Howell, who was coaching the Giants then, surprised him
‘You going somewhere?’ Jim said.
‘Why yes.’ the end said, and you had to grade him high on his speed of reaction. ‘I lost my wallet, so I thought I’d go out and try to find it.’
‘I see,’ Jim said. ‘You planning to sneak up on it?”
- Vince Lombardi, Run to Daylight
Day 3 of camp is somewhat dreary in the morning, with drizzle and gray skies. The weatherman is optimistic for the afternoon, though, and so am I! Off to the Accord, and after the stop for Coffee I’m on my way to Camp. Temps in the ’70′s, but it should get warmer. Let’s go!
Well, I though I’d get an early start. I’m not used to all these cars in the parking lots, though. Wow, people are getting the hint, it’s a long hike to the fields, so they are getting a real early start.
After my hike around the lacrosse fields, I finally get to the lower fields, where practice is being held today. I’ll explain the way I number the fields, so the report makes some sense. UA is building their new football field where field 1 used to be. For reference, it’s where the old autograph alley used to be. Sadly, while I didn’t see it, I’m sure that’s all torn up, and all the shade trees there gone. It will be missed! Field 2 is to the left of field 1, and field 3 is to the left of field 2.
On the other side, closer to Western Avenue are Field 4 (sideways to fields 1 and 2), and field 5 (to field 4′s left). That should help!
Practice today used fields 2, 3, 4; most of the action was on field 2. On Field 3, Tynes was off to that side, while the rest of the players filtered in. The obligatory ‘CRUUUZE” chant, as well as all sorts of noise was coming from the fans on the hill. What the players think about that I have no idea; I’m guessing they just concentrate on their business. I did notice Austin was doing a lot of groin stretches, but it didn’t seem to affect his play today.
The infamous punt/kickoff machine is out today, but Weatherford is doing the punting to start off punt returns. Hixon, Jernigan, Randle, Hosley and Cruz returned them, and everyone did well except for one bad drop by Jernigan. On average, though, he’s been really good with punt returns, though no one is as polished as Hixon. In case you’re wondering, Sash was the fullback on the punt team, and Kiwi was on the punt team as well.
On the sidelines, the D Line was hanging out, with Tuck and the others all smiling. Well, who decides to come in and shake everyone’s hand? It’s newcomer Marcellus Bennett! Over on Field 3, it’s now the QB’s working on footwork, and the O Line doing pulling drills.
Sprints, Skips, Ballet kicks…this show is getting ready for Broadway!
I notice Rivers and Boley walking off during the calisthenics over to the corner of field 4, where they are probably doing some more serious stretches with the PUP people (Canty, Sintim, Beckum). It’s really far away, and hard to pick up even with field glasses. I do spot Nicks in the same field, doing some loosening up, and doing some relaxed jogging 20 yards one way, then back. He’s not pushing it.
The QB’s and O Line are off to field 4 for more drills. On Field 2, the Punt/KO machine is being used, and it’s the same group as before minus Cruz. More sub groups with the RB’s/LB’s working together on blocking/fighting off the blocks; the safeties/CB’s are working on double teams and then press coverage, and the WR’s are working on something that looks like pick plays; oops, I mean crossing plays, of course!!
Hey, the Sun’s out! And the temps are starting to rise!
The D is on field 2, and is working on something that simulates contact (using cushioned arm shields). The players with the yellow/orange caps smack the regular players (not on the head!) with the shields, to simulate blocks.
The O is on field 4, running through plays.
Now, the D splits off into 3 groups. I look at the D Line first.
Ah, it’s running over pylons flat on the ground (the foot drill); first you step over each, then you run around them to work on lateral mobility.
The other defensive players are working on technique stuff. For example, a CB or LB may be working on inside, and then outside coverage.
The D Line is now running sideways over the pylons, then hitting the pop up dummy I mentioned yesterday. While Rogers is surprisingly nimble on his feet, I just get a feeling that JPP is not going as all out as usual. I can’t pin it down, but he simply does not look like he’s being aggressive. He’d doing all the plays, and not favoring anything, but it’s like he’s being cautious, possibly wanting his ankle to recover. He’s not as explosive as I’ve seen him.
The safeties are doing a drill where the coach throws them a ball while they are back-pedaling. They break back to the pass, but the passes are intentionally off the mark (High, low, left right).
Now, the LB’s and CB’s are in the middle of field 2, practicing coverages. The coach calls out a coverage, and they respond when the defensive players with the caps (the simulated offense) try a play. The QB’s and most of the offensive guys are on Field 4, doing pitch and catch, as well as running plays.
On Field 3, Weatherford is working on taking bad snaps for FG’s and putting the ball down. Tynes is working on kicking FG’s, or shaving the grass with his feet, I’m not sure which.
Now, the players move again, and the offense (QB’s, WR’s, TE’s) are back on field 2, to the delight of the crowd. Perrilloux sticks around field 4 and works on running plays. Eli tosses a pass to Randle. Randle really has nice form, looks the ball into his hands, like Hixon does. Really natural. Bennett slips on the right sideline, and does not get to an Eli out pass. Bing had really tight coverage on him; I’m not sure that pass is completed anyway. Now Carr is in, and he tries to pass to TE Robinson that’s knocked down by Stevie Brown. Hixon on the next play fakes Terrell Thomas out so badly he falls down (it was a wicked double move) on the left, though T2 might have slipped as well. Oh, and the field wasn’t that bad…I didn’t see obvious divots. Barden with a nice catch over Coe, who had tight coverage. Randle had a brain fart the next play, he stopped in the middle of a route. Hhe’ll get drilled in film study when they see that..though it was his only bad play that day.
The offense does pass routes walk-throughs on the far side of field 2. Closer to me, the defense was practicing sliding to the left or right for gap coverage drills, with defensive players with yellow/orange caps simulating the offense.
Hey, who is that #72 wearing a cap? He just SCORED at TD! The Crowd goes nuts, and Osi does a Flying Elvii leap with another player!! The grin on his face is from ear to ear, he’s having a blast at camp!
It’s offense vs defense again.
Eli’s up. Eli completes to Cruz in the flat, but Kenny Philips makes sure it’s for no gain. Then Bradshaw has a nice burst up the middle, followed by a middle handoff to Ware. Hey, Eli ran into the “trees”…Joseph knocks down a pass! Bradshaw with a left off tackle run, then Ware gets stuffed up a middle run thanks to Joseph and Rodgers. No room at the inn for you, son! Randle with a nice route on the left sideline where he drives Coe back, then comes back to Eli. This kid is going to be killer with the back shoulder pass. Barden with a catch up the right sideline, short. Randle with another smooth catch up the right side!
Now out comes the Carr. Hand off to Andre Brown with a nice burst off right tackle. Wilson with ANOTHER double move up the middle. Let me explain..this guy’s feet are almost too fast to follow, if you blink he’s gone through the hole. He makes a move to the right, then to the left, then up without stopping…and he’s small enough to get lost behind the linemen. This kid is going to have a monster year once he learns to block. Carr then gets intercepted by Sash, who returns it for a TD! Wilson can catch, too..he grabs a Carr pass up the middle. Randle with another smooth catch.
Perrilloux’s turn, and he hands the ball to Andre Brown up the middle. Douglas with a nice drive the CB and come back catch on the left sideline. Brown again with a handoff off right tackle. Wilson does a Joe Morris “peek a boo” up the middle. Perrilloux’s best pass of the camp comes next, where he spits double coverage with a rocket out to Douglas up the left sideline. Nice!! Wilson ends this with a off tackle run, and the horn sounds with a big cheer from the crowd. This practice is crisp today, TC has to be pleased.
Punt returns, but this time with both gunners and the punt team going after the PR guy! Jernigan shows crisp moves on the first punt. Randle tries to outrun the punt team going to his right (that’s a rookie mistake that you can’t get away with at this level, and TC will grill him on it). Hosley takes a PR that he should have called a fair catch on (the gunner would have killed him).
Ah, it’s FG/XP time! Tynes is picture perfect on 5 tries, hitting the tower on 4 of them from 5-20 yds out; the only one that didn’t hit the tower was caught by the cameraman on TOP of the tower, to great applause!
Now it’s 7 on 7′s. Eli to Cruz with a short sideline dump pass. Corey intercepts him with a GREAT break on Cruz; check out the highlights if they are on Giants.com, that was an amazing catch (he tipped it, then caught it). Randle with a nice slide catch. Then Eli throws HIS best pass of the camp with a 35 yard out to the left sideline to Jernigan that was the splitting image of Mario’s SB catch! Bradshaw with a very nice catch of a sideline pass (his arms were away from his body, he plucked it out of the air).
Carr to Brown on a middle pass, then misses Randle on the right sideline. Hits DePalma, then another pass to DePalma that was stripped out of his hands. Stanback with a nice diving catch.Herzlich gets a play, he knocks a pass down intended for Bear.
Perrilloux’s in, and he can’t find a WR (sack). On the next play he finds Douglas up the right sideline. Nice pass to Stanback, who catches a slant in heavy traffic. DePalma gets another pass, then Perrilloux overthrows Talley going up the right sideline. Stanback with another nice slant catch! Then a handoff to Wilson up the middle.
During all this, I was watching the D Line on the left sideline. Austin is getting heavy instruction from Rogers; he is deadly serious with the kid, who is soaking all this up. Meanwhile, Osi is coaching Tracey like there’s no tomorrow; you can see him working on Tracey’s outside move. I’ve NEVER see Osi this involved; it’s like he and Rogers are two extra coaches. Wow!
Offense vs Defense.
Eli’s in. Not a great start, as he overthrows Cruz up the middle. Handoff to Ware off tackle left sideline. Bradshaw gets stuffed up the middle. Ware gets stuffed off tackle right!! Eli’s pass to the right gets deflected by either Tuck or Blackburn…wow, the D is pumped up! Eli comes back though with a pass to Barden who drove the CB back enough for him to make a comeback catch. Stanback with a nice bubble screen pass!
Carr in, and an off tackle right run by Brown. Stanback again drives the CB and comes back for a reception. Hynoski with a nice catch! Wilson off tackle right run. Greg Jones runs him out of bounds for a sack. Wilson shows great concentration with a reception of a tipped pass from Carr!
Perrilloux is in and passes to Douglas (though he would have been sacked…play took too long). Overthrows Hopkins. Wilson with an off tackle right run. Purvis with a nice catch of a high pass on the left sideline.Martinek gets stuffed up the middle.
Green Zone Time!
Eli hands off to Hixon for an OPTION PASS! (Don’t faint!) But he runs out of bounds, nobody open. Eli then does a sprint right but misses Hixon who was doing a flag route in the end zone. Handoff to Bradshaw up the middle, then the crowd goes WILD as Bennett makes a nice snatch of a seam pass up the middle for a TD!
Carr in, and he dumps off to Hixon on the left. Overthrows Barden on a slant. Middle dump pass to Collins; then Stanback with a bad drop of a
comeback. Brown up the middle.
Perrilloux in, and he hits Douglas on a slant for a TD! Nice catch by Stanback on the right, then Martinek up the middle.
What you didn’t see after practice:
The rubber bands are back, as the players use them to loosen up after practice ends!
Petrus and Mosley are still working on O Line stuff. Petrus with the hand waving we all saw with the Bradshaw video! Classic!
Hopkins and Bear working on the Tackling Sled way in the back on field 4.
Eli and Weatheford playing with Weatherford’s 2 kids, who were at practice today.
Eli and Perrilloux doing sideline to sideline sprints, then Eli signing stuff for some Syracuse players (I think).
Nice practice, lots of energy, and lots of Sun! Let’s keep this up!