by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
The Hope J. Award Presentation and All Things Eli
After the practice was over, about 80-100 BBIers and their kids were on the practice field to watch Eric give Eli Manning the Hope J. Award for Giant of the Year. I did a video of the proceedings as did many others. The Giants had a TV camera there so hopefully there will be a professional video to watch on Giants.com. They also interviewed rnargi, who is the prime mover for BBI in acquiring the award, and who is responsible for all the logistics involved. Hopefully, we will see that interview as well.
It was a hot day and a sweaty Eli Manning had just walked off the practice field, so Eric kept his remarks to a minimum. Eli mugged for the cameras and got the BBIers laughing when Eric asked him to demonstrate his “heroic, determined look.” In accepting his award, Eli mentioned how much Rich Seubert, last year’s recipient, had appreciated getting it. If Eli is the face of the Giants, it is a very good face.
It was really hot today and the Giants were again in full pads. Unfortunately the team was practicing very far away from everybody, including me. I feel bad for the many BBIers on hand. They could not have had a very good view, or a comfortable one today. I was standing next to Pat From Inside Football and she made a remark about what RB Joe Martinek was doing. I said, “I can’t even see him, much less, what he is doing.” Oh, to have Patti’s young eyes!
You may have heard that QB Eli Manning is a bit of a prankster. I can confirm that. Today there was a QB agility drill in which the QBs maneuver over and around some obstacles on the ground. They complete the drill with a quick pass to a receiver. When it came time for backup QB Ryan Perrilloux to run the drill, immediately after he threw his pass, a football bounced off the top of his helmet, compliments of Mr. Manning, who was standing about 7 yards away. Everyone who saw it chuckled.
There was an interesting offensive line drill in which the players worked on their bottom-of-the-pile pushing. Each player would put his shoulder against a tackling dummy and keeping his shoulder about a foot off the ground, along with the rest of his body, push the dummy up the field.
Getting back to Eli Manning, when he has to make a short outlet throw over the middle, he can make a lofted touch pass and it is generally a good one. Today he made them to RB Ahmad Bradshaw and then to RB Henry Hynoski, who caught it, got up a head of steam and threatened to run over anything standing in front of him.
When Ryan Perrilloux has to make that same outlet pass, he throws it hard and it is going downward on an angle from above his Ryan’s shoulder to below the receiver’s waist. This severely downward slanted pass is much tougher to catch and it often fails.
Here is the second string offensive line from left to right. OT Brandon Mosley, OG Selvish Capers, C Jim Cordle, OG Mitch Petrus, RT Joel Reinders. It is possible that I have Mosley and Capers reversed. The third string is OT Matt McCants, C Chris White and OG Stephen Goodin.
DT Shaun Rogers ran by and he is huge, but looks to be in pretty good shape.
In the actual practice, WR Domenik Hixon had several catches and WR Ramses Barden had a few including a leaping tumbling catch over CB Prince Amukamara. I have reported that TE Adrien Robinson was having a rough camp. Today, I heard a collective groan go up from amongst the beat writers. I was told that Robinson had misplayed a pass that he should have caught.
There was a drill for defensive linemen going up against their opposite numbers on offense. Of interest was Jason Pierre-Paul, who executed a fine swim move to get by OT Sean Locklear. I did not see OT William Beatty on the field today, but viewing conditions were difficult. DEs Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck were not going to get stopped either. DTs Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard also demonstrated excellent push. DT Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn look like they have some game as well.
QB David Carr had a pass that was blocked by DT Dwayne Hendricks (I think). It was picked out of the air for an interception by LB Keith Rivers. Rivers was also right there to stop RB Da’Rel Scott in his tracks after a handoff from QB Ryan Perrilloux.
You may be wondering why people make such a big deal about the Giants playing in full pads. Allowing the players to get more physical, and thus better demonstrate their talents, is only one of the differences between wearing full pads instead of shells and shorts.
Full pads restrict your freedom of movement. It is harder to throw a football and harder to catch it in full pads. You can’t run as fast in full pads and running with a football is even harder. If a running back is not careful, his pads can sometimes even knock the ball out of his hands. To a small extent, they change your center of gravity (balance). They make you hotter, which is a big deal for 300 pound linemen in warm weather and they add weight which is a big deal for 190 pound backs, who want to accelerate and/or make water bug moves.
Finally, even in practice, if you are in full pads you know that you are going to get hit. Players react differently when they know that they are going to get hit. Receivers get “alligator arms.” Players who tense up, mess up. Ask Tom Brady about that.
I know that I would write more poorly if I knew that I was going to get smacked every time I misspelled a word. When I watch a practice, if a player makes a big-time play in full pads, it counts more than if he makes that same play wearing shells and shorts.
While we are on the subject of playing under pressure:
The Manning to Manningham Pass.
Here is my take on the much–discussed Manning to Manningham sideline pass in Super Bowl XLVI. It was a big-time throw and catch – even a great throw and catch. But the greatness of the catch should not be measured by its degree of difficulty. For years, Giants receivers like Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress made a living by catching that very same tiptoe sideline pass from Eli Manning. It is the type of pass that professionals practice all the time (if they have a QB with enough talent to throw it). If the offense does everything right, they get a completion.
The greatness of the catch was that it was made at a pivotal point–when the game was on the line and when everyone on the team was under the maximum pressure to perform at his best. The pass will be remembered because of the difference that it made in the game and because it was so obvious that the Giants were trying as hard as they could to complete a pass while the Patriots were trying hard as they could to stop it.
When the game is on the line, the great ones don’t tense up and as a result, under-throw their receivers. They also fight off the waves of adrenalin coursing through their system and don’t throw the ball over the receiver’s head. When there is a chance to salt away a big game, the great ones don’t succumb to pressure and miss a wide a wide-open receiver. Ask Tony Romo about that.
There may be a few out there who only watched the Super Bowl and who never saw all those tiptoe sideline passes to Burress and Toomer that I mentioned previously. They might think that it was just a “lucky heave” by Manning. Well, even if the Super Bowl was the only game they ever saw, they would still have seen Eli start the game by completing his first nine passes–a Super Bowl record for starting a game. It’s hard to believe that all nine of Eli’s completions were just lucky heaves. Those nine completions were the mark of a champion and so was Eli’s throw to Manningham.