by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
Practice Shortened by Thunderstorm. Kiwi Shines.
The Giants were finally in full pads, but the weather did not cooperate. The thunder clouds arrived with still an hour of practice left to complete. Unfortunately, that hour is where most of the 11 on 11s and 7 on 7s take place. It is likely that the team completed their practice on the gymnasium floor. I didn’t wait around to find out.
I am not the first person to speculate about whether the Giants return to Albany next year may be decided by this year’s weather. With the limited number of practices allowed by the CBA and the elimination of two-a-days, every practice day becomes important. Apparently there is very little flexibility to make up for practice days that are missed.
The practice started out with a punting drill for defensive backs. I think the purpose was to down the punt in the “coffin corner” or at least as close to the goal line as possible. P Steve Weatherford holds the ball a special way with the point down to make the ball stop its forward progress when it hits the ground. It is a work in progress for him, just as it is with the DBs who are trying to down the ball. Catching a punt with pads on is tough. Catching it over your shoulder is almost impossible.
Back up C Jim Cordle was doing some of the long snapping. His snaps were acceptable, but not as good as Zak DeOssie’s.
There was one 11 on 11 drill with QB Eli Manning. He completed a routinely easy sideline pass to WR Domenik Hixon. That was followed by hand offs to RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and D.J. Ware. They both got about five yards. Apparently the defense was doing a good job because at least somebody got an “atta boy” from the defensive coach.
The best play of the session was an attempted pass by QB Eli Manning which was batted into the air by LB Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwi then caught the ball and ran it back for what would have been a TD. You could tell that Kiwi was very pleased as he semi-skipped into the end zone.
The next best play was a 15-17 yard sideline pass from Eli to WR Victor Cruz. Cruz beat the defender, leaped for the ball and brought both feet down in bounds. I thought that Victor might lose concentration because there was a possibility that he would run into me, but apparently my presence was not noticed by Mr. Cruz.
When QB David Carr got a chance to run the 11 on 11s, the handoff was missed. I’m not sure whose fault it was. The next play was a handoff to RB Andre Brown and he got stuffed by the defense.
The third best play of the day was made by RB David Wilson. He made a diving, tumbling catch of an outlet pass by Carr. Carr actually would have been sacked on the play, but he threw the pass anyway.
Carr called several “audibles” in the 11 on 11s. I know that you are all familiar with the “Omaha” line call. My favorites include “East Elvis” and of course, “West Elvis” to the other side of the field. There is also the East and West Taco audibles.
QB Ryan Perrilloux only got in one play before the danger of a lightning strike ended the practice. It was a handoff to RB David Wilson. What I noticed was that he took at least three good shots by defenders and still maintained his balance.
Prior to the 11 on 11s I finally got close to Coach Mike Pope and his covey of TEs. He was giving them detailed instructions on how to get off the line and where to stand. The closest thing that I can compare it to, is a golf pro explaining at length how to address the ball. Not swing–just address the ball. The guy who needed the most instruction was TE Adrien Robinson. That should not surprise anybody, based on his college career. He is a big strong guy, but apparently he does not know his Elvis from a hole in the ground. I hope that he is a fast learner.
The TEs also took a shot at the blocking sled. These guys are all huge (except for Travis Beckum, who was an interested observer) and they all did well against the sled. That was not always the case in prior years. Against the sled, at least, TE Martellus Bennett did not look much different from the others. Having listened to Coach Pope’s lengthy instructions, I suspect that there is a whole lot more to playing TE than just having size and strength.
I have to make one more observation about the tight ends as a group. When they go from one part of the field to another, it is always TE Bear Pascoe in the lead moving briskly and it is always TE Martellus Bennett in the rear trailing behind everyone else. Is this significant? I don’t know.