Aug 132014
 
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Mario Manningham, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Mario Manningham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

It’s the catch that he’ll never forget, but doesn’t want to remember.

New York Giants receiver Mario Manningham split wide left on a first-and-10 with the Giants trailing the New England Patriots, 17-15, in Super Bowl XLVI. Quarterback Eli Manning dropped back, planted his back foot, took a crow hop and let the ball fly in Manningham’s direction.

As the ball hung in the air, Manningham slowly pulled away from his defender, reached up, made the catch and kept both feet in bounds while absorbing a hit.

The highlight reel grab is one that will live on in Super Bowl glory for as long as the game is played. In Manningham’s mind? He’s tried to forget “The Catch” the moment he pointed down the field to signal a first down.

“I remember it,” Manningham said, “but I don’t think about it. I’m just trying to make some more plays.”

In order to make more, Manningham will have to earn a spot on the Giants 53-man roster. After two dismal and injury-filled seasons in San Francisco, Manningham made his way back to New York this offseason and into a crowded receivers’ room.

There are roster locks Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jerrel Jernigan. Then, there’s Manningham, rookie Corey Washington, Marcus Harris, Trindon Holliday and others all vying for one, potentially two, spots. For the first time in his career, Manningham isn’t a lock to make a team.

While there have been glimpses at Giants training camp of the old “Super Mario” who once dazzled fans and eluded defenders at MetLife Stadium, the flashes have been few and far between. Far more often is Manningham dropping passes than catching them. He admits his surgically repaired knee isn’t 100 percent, but it is “getting better” each and every day. Two weeks ago, Manningham said he wasn’t entirely comfortable cutting or planting. Now, that’s not the case.

“I’m comfortable,” Manningham said. “I’m real confident in sticking my foot in the ground and going out there and just not thinking about it.”

Presently, Manningham finds himself behind Marcus Harris and Corey Washington on the team’s depth chart. Harris has caught nearly everything throw his way in training camp. Corey Washington has caught the game-winning touchdown in each of New York’s first two preseason games.

Manningham? He’s dropped six passes in his last two practices and has just one reception on three targets for 17 yards in two preseason games.

But none of that’s on the 28-year-old’s mind. Right now, he’s just determined to make plays, something he used to do on a regular basis in New York.

In 2010 and 2011, Manningham’s final two season with the Giants, he caught 99 passes for 1,467 yards and 13 touchdowns. Manningham left New York for San Francisco as a free agent following his Super Bowl catch. Before tearing his ACL and PCL with the 49ers in 2012, Manningham caught 41 passes for 449 yards in nine games started.

Can Manningham return to that receiver? Or have injures taken away a career that once seamed on a path to super stardom? Manningham believes he’s still a player and he knows he needs to do just one thing to convince others.

“Just ball, just go play ball,” Manningham said. “Don’t worry about anything else.”

That means not his place on the depth chart, not his surgically repaired knee and most certainly not his famous catch.

Aug 132014
 
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 20 – Pittsburgh Steelers 16

REVISITING: FOUR DOWNS
During our game preview, we listed a new segment, ‘Four Downs,’ which took a look at the top four questions surrounding the Giants heading into the game. Now that the game has been played and the film reviewed, it’s time to break it down.

First Down
Who’s the Giants’ No. 2 running back?
Following the Giants matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, this question simply got murkier as each back provides a “pick your poison” approach. Andre Williams is the team’s best option as a ‘running’ back, but can’t catch out of the backfield or block (this was very evident). The coaches seem to trust Kendall Gaskins more than Michael Cox, but Gaskins isn’t a dynamic runner and has been inconsistent in pass protection.

Second Down
Can Charles James II handle punt return duties?
Charles James has been spending some extra time with special teams coordinator Tom Quinn after muffing the punt versus the Steelers, but the job most likely isn’t his. He should get some more reps with Odell Beckham Jr. still nursing the hamstring injury, but we’ll see.

Third Down
Will the first-team offensive line and tight end be able to generate running room for Rashad Jennings?
On one play, yes. On most others, no. Various factors contributed to a lack of running room. There wasn’t one specific thing the Giants did wrong, just different things on different plays.

Fourth Down
Can the first-team defensive line generate a pass rush?
Finally, Jason Pierre-Paul made an appearance getting after Bruce Gradkowski. It was tough to gauge the quality of the pass rush simply because the Steelers starting offense wasn’t on the field long, but there was definitely promise shown.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

OFFENSIVE OVERVIEW - by Connor Hughes

After watching the game initially, I don’t think many felt as negatively about the offense as I did. After watching the film, it still didn’t improve my overall perception much, but there were some positives.

Curtis Painter looked very, very good. The offensive line showed some signs of improvement and Larry Donnell impressed me with his blocking. All that and more below.

QUARTERBACKS - by Connor Hughes

There’s only so much dissecting one can do on a quarterback that throws two passes. It’s tough, very tough, but I do want to take some of the blame off Eli Manning for both of the incompletions. On the first, it appears as if Rashad Jennings missed a block. The running back looked like he was expecting a blitz up the middle, except the blitz came off the outside. Manning then had to rush a pass and it didn’t look like Jerrel Jernigan was ready for it.

On his second incompletion, another intended for Jernigan on a roll out, I love the call. Manning rolled out of the pocket and it was supposed to be a bang-bang play. Give credit to the defense, they simply covered it perfectly and Manning made the right call throwing it away.

The most alarming thing I believe I found when watching Ryan Nassib play was the fact he – like many young quarterbacks – loves to stare down his intended receiver. Once, it cost him badly. On the incomplete wheel route he threw to Marcus Harris, had he just looked directly in front of him he would have seen a wide open Julian Talley running at the first down marker on a drag. Talley was going to pick up the first down…he just missed him and forced the ball instead. It’s things like this Nassib can’t do. He foregoes the easy ones, electing to force passes into tight windows instead.

The biggest difference between Curtis Painter and Nassib? Painter can make several reads. While Nassib tends to stare down his target, Painter doesn’t. Several times he went through a few reads. Also, of all of the quarterbacks, he seemed to have the best grasp of the playbook. As bad as Painter has looked at times in his career, he looked pretty good Saturday night.

Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

RUNNING BACKS - by Connor Hughes

Andre Williams may be the best ‘running’ back the Giants have on their roster right now. The issue is that Williams can’t do it at this point in time. The back was a huge liability as a blocker, whiffing twice, and has yet to show he can catch the ball consistently. I have a hard time believing he’ll see extensive playing time during the season unless he can iron out both of those issues.

Michael Cox continues to impress me with the little things he’s doing. There were two times where he gave Curtis Painter a few extra seconds with a chip block and cut, then made an impressive grab on a screen pass to pick up a first down.

WIDE RECEIVERS - by Connor Hughes

A lot has been made of the fact Victor Cruz has gone catchless in the team’s first two preseason games. I wanted to see if there was ever a time when the receiver should have gotten the ball and the answer was simple: Yes. On the very first pass of the game, an incompletion to Jerrel Jernigan, Cruz was open on a curl on the other side of the field. The issue was the fact Rashad Jennings missed a block that made Eli Manning rush a throw. Similar to Cruz, there were a few plays where Marcus Harris was open, too. The issue was the fact Nassib never made his read over to Harris’ side.

Corey Washington got a lot of attention on his game-winning touchdown pass, but the more I watch the film, the more I realize it was an absolutely perfect pass from Curtis Painter. Sure, Washington fought off a defender, but the ball was placed right in his outstretched hands.

TIGHT ENDS - by Connor Hughes

Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Larry Donnell quietly had a very, very good game run blocking. There was one mishap, where he had two guys in front of him on a cutback and didn’t block either, but there were several seals, too. He did a good job getting in front of the defender and setting up a running back seal. Donnell has all the potential, just need to build consistency.

The more I watch Adrien Robinson, the more I truly believe he won’t be on this team’s final 53-man roster. He’s the last tight end on the field and very rarely flashes. He made a few nice blocks against the third team Steelers defensive line, but shouldn’t that be expected? Not to mention, that drop on an out-route cannot happen. The Giants don’t have faith in Robinson and he has done nothing to give it to them.

When the Giants travel to Detroit to kickoff the season versus the Lions, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kellen Davis is the team’s No. 2 tight end. From watching the film he reminds me of one of those guys that does everything well, just not one thing great. He has some good hands, runs good routes and can block.

OFFENSIVE LINE - by Connor Hughes

One player jumped out to me more than any other when reviewing the film: John Jerry. The offensive guard was solid pass blocking, made a few huge blocks in the run and showed some good speed getting to the second level. On one particular play, he began blocking with center Weston Richburg, then pulled off and got to the second level to block a middle linebacker.

There were a few mess ups, but Brandon Mosley had a good game, too. He showed power, made a huge block on the long Rashad Jennings touchdown.

Geoff Schwartz made a great cut block and a few other power seals which was impressive considering he’d been dealing with a knee issue. J.D. Walton made a couple nice blocks, also. The offensive line appears to be coming together pretty well. Charles Brown had issues at left tackle, giving up one sack and another big pressure.

DEFENSIVE OVERVIEW - by Eric Kennedy

Four defensive players did not play, including DT Mike Patterson (shoulder), DT Kelcy Quarles (ankle), LB Jon Beason (foot), and CB Trumaine McBride (hip).

Not counting the two plays run right before the half, the Steelers had 11 legitimate offensive possessions. Pittsburgh did not score an offensive touchdown and was held to three field goals (and they missed a 38-yard field goal). The Steelers punted six times and the Giants forced one turnover. Pittsburgh was limited to 59 plays, 14 first downs, 251 total net yards (70 yards rushing, 181 yards passing), a 14 percent 3rd down conversion rate (2-of-14).

The biggest defensive negative was probably the easy the Giants’ first-team defense allowed Pittsburgh to drive 70 yards in seven plays on the opening drive. Not only did the Steelers gouge the Giants with a 46-yard screen pass, but the run defense allowed 24 yards on four carries (6 yards per rush). But on 3rd-and-3 from the Giants’ 7-yard line, the defense held and forced a field goal.

DEFENSIVE LINE - by Eric Kennedy

Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Mathias Kiwanuka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Steelers were able to run up the gut on the Giants on their first possession. Johnathan Hankins missed a tackle in the backfield on a play that gained 9 yards. He’s a big, strong presence but he wasn’t as effective as he was last week against the Bills. In the 2nd quarter, he flashed on one pass rush. The Steelers picked up 8 more yards running at Hankins and Jason Pierre-Paul on the next play. After that series, the run defense stiffened up. JPP played much stronger at the point-of-attack. He got fooled on an end around but showed great hustle chasing down the receiver. On the next play, Pierre-Paul smashed the quarterback just as he released the ball. On 3rd-and-15 in the 1st quarter, both Mathias Kiwanuka and Pierre-Paul put tremendous pressure on the QB, causing an incomplete pass. JPP was flagged with an illegal use of hands penalty earlier on this drive. It’s interesting to note that the Giants’ third-down pass rush package had Robert Ayers at defensive tackle. He flashed on one play, forcing a quick throw. However, he was also flagged with a neutral zone infraction.Markus Kuhn cleaned up with a sack off a blitz from Quintin Demps.

In the second half, the initial defensive line of Israel Idonije, Markus Kuhn, Jay Bromley, and Robert Ayers gave the Pittsburgh reserves fits. Ayers and Idonije flashed on the pass rush, and then Damontre Moore and Ayers nailed the running back for a 2-yard loss on a 3rd-and-10 draw. On the next series, Moore again blew by his man to force an incompletion on 3rd-and-4. After the muffed punt by Charles James, Jay Bromley dominated the next series with two strong pass rushes (the first also causing a holding penalty). Moore also flashed on the rush on this series. Later in the quarter, Bromley stuffed the run and Moore then hustled back to stop a screen play on 3rd-and-9.

In the 4th quarter, I thought Kerry Wynn looked pretty good at times rushing from the strongside end spot. Jordan Stanton came up with a sack and forced fumble on a play where defensive holding was caused.

LINEBACKERS - by Eric Kennedy

Like the defensive line, it wasn’t particularly pretty on the first drive but the starters improved after that. Jameel McClain seemed to be getting blocked fairly easily. He did make one strong  play agains the run late in the 1st quarter. The only solid run defense on the first drive came when Devon Kennard held his ground at the point-of-attack and Jacquian Williams cleaned up from the backside. On the next drive, Williams had excellent coverage on TE Heath Miller on 3rd-and-five. McClain was apparently flagged for defensive holding, but that looked like a bogus call to me.

Spencer Paysinger made a really nice play against the run where he avoided the block and tackle the back for no gain. He then hit the quarterback on a blitz. He did not look as strong in coverage however and was lucky he did not get beat for a touchdown on a 3rd-and-8 play from the Giants’ 20-yard line. Earlier on this drive, Kennard and Mark Herzlich failed to make the play on a 7-yard run around right end.

Mark Herzlich made some noise in the second half. He made a nice play on the back in the hole, stuffing him for a 1-yard loss. He followed that up by expertly sniffing out and disrupting a screen pass. Later he made a nice sure tackle after a short pass reception. On the next play, Paysinger failed to bring the back down short of the sticks on 3rd-and-8. Terrell Manning recovered the fumble late in the game to preserve the win for the Giants.

DEFENSIVE BACKS - by Eric Kennedy

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Interestingly, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers didn’t even test the defensive backs on the first drive until 3rd-and-3 on the final offensive play of the possession, and that ended with textbook coverage by Walter Thurmond to force a field goal. I wonder if we will see more teams shy away from the defensive backs and throw more at the tight ends this year. Thus far this preseason, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is completely shutting down his side of the field. Nice hustle by Prince Amukamara on this drive to track down the uber-speedy Dri Archer on the 46-yard screen. On the next series, Amukamara made a nice sure tackle just short of the sticks on 3rd-and-8. Amukamara was flagged with an illegal contact penalty before this play, Antrel Rolle made a textbook open-field tackle for a 1-yard loss after a short pass to the tight end.

In the 2nd quarter, Quintin Demps flashed a blitz, causing a sack. Zack Bowman was flagged for illegal contact on a play where it looked like the defensive back just ran right into him. Strange call. Later on this drive, Bowman was beat on a 28-yard gain on 3rd-and-2.

The story line in the secondary in the second half was the continued struggles of Jayron Hosley, who doesn’t seem to know that he needs to turn around to play the football in order not to get flagged for pass interference. Hosley was first flagged for PI on a 3rd-and-6 incomplete pass. Early in the 4th quarter, he failed to turn around again on a 47-yard PI call that set up Pittsburgh at the Giants’ 18-yard line. To his credit, he did have two nice plays on the rest of this series to help force a field goal (but again, on one of these plays, he didn’t look back for the ball).

Ross Weaver had nice coverage on one deep pass. Bennett Jackson was flagged with defensive holding, wiping out a sack/fumble. C.J. Barnett finished the game by forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Giants.

SPECIAL TEAMS - by Eric Kennedy

Both place kickers did an excellent job. The Giants did not allow a kickoff return with five touchbacks (2 by Josh Brown, 3 by Brandon McManus). Brown hit a 45-yard field goal and McManus a 46-yard field goal.

The Giants returned four kickoffs, with Quintin Demps returning two for 46 yards (both 23-yard returns). Preston Parker returned the other two for 37 yards (for 20 and 17 yards).

Preston Parker returned one punt for 12 yards and fair caught two more. Charles James muffed  his only chance, giving the ball back to the Steelers at the Giants’ 21-yard line and leading to a field goal.

Steve Weatherford averaged 47.2 yards on six punts (45.8 yard net). Punt return coverage was excellent with the Steelers being held to eight yards on four returns (the long return being only four yards). Marcus Harris flashed as a gunner on one play causing a fair catch. Zak DeOssie smashed the returner after only a 1-yard gain on another. Later in the game, he was the first guy downfield again making the tackle.

(Boxscore – Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, August 9 , 2014)
Aug 122014
 
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Curtis Painter, Ben McAdoo, and Eli Manning; New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Curtis Painter, Ben McAdoo, and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

When Curtis Painter re-signed with the New York Giants this offseason, he knew the situation and scenario right in front of him.

Painter, 29, was a journeyman in the NFL who’d only seen action in three of his five NFL seasons. One year earlier, the Giants had trade up in the fourth round to select Ryan Nassib, costing the Giants their own fourth- and sixth-round picks.

New York had been forced to keep three quarterbacks on the team’s roster in 2013. They didn’t want to do it again. There was one open spot behind Eli Manning.

Was it going to be Painter, or the player New York had traded up to select in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Painter knew the odds. Painter didn’t care if they were stacked against him.

“I can’t control anything like that,” Painter said. “That comes from the upper management and coaches. All I can really do is do my best on the field and try to help the team get better.”

The apparent long shot to make the Giants’ final roster has seen his odds significantly increase this week in training camp. After receiving the NFL equivalent of ‘scraps’ for reps in the first three weeks of camp, Painter has worked entirely with the second team in each of the last two practices.

Painter downplayed any such ‘promotion’ on the depth chart, but the increase in snaps has been noticeable. Throughout the early portions of training camp, Manning and Nassib would split 80-to-90 percent of the team’s reps in each drill before Painter would see the field.

When the offense and defense would work one-on-ones, it was Manning and Nassib throwing passes while Painter handed off to running backs in the distance. While his time on the field was far from glorious, Painter made the most of it. Slowly, but surely, his reps began to increase.

Early in camp, interceptions, poor decisions and forced passes began to mount for Nassib. While Nassib has improved both in practice and the preseason, Painter just kept on making the most of what he was getting. Then, Painter made his ultimate case for a promotion when the Giants took the field for Saturday’s preseason home opener versus the Steelers,

After a Nassib’s incomplete swing pass – which was ruled a fumbled lateral and returned for a touchdown — put New York behind late in the fourth quarter, Painter entered the contest and promptly marched the team down the field on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a three-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Corey Washington.

Painter finished seven-of-seven for 68 yards and one touchdown.

“When you can put together a drive like that, whether it be in the first quarter or fourth, you’re going to be pleased,” Painter said. “We did some things well.”

Painter has seen every second-team rep since.

“I don’t think much about it,” Painter said. “At the end of the day, you’re running the same plays. It’s just a matter of going out there and executing and knowing your responsibilities. “

Aug 122014
 
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New York Giants Training Camp (July 27, 2014)

New York Giants Training Camp – Photo by Connor Hughes

AUGUST 12, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
Maybe it was the drizzling rain slowly coming down in East Rutherford, bouncing off the helmets of the Giants attempting to hold practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Maybe it was the wind, whipping around the practice field. Maybe, just maybe, the offense still doesn’t understand Ben McAdoo’s West Coast scheme.

Either way, it wasn’t a pretty practice for the Giants’ offense at the team’s training camp today. There were more interceptions, more drops, more bad passes and few big plays. Not even the attendance of Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress could spring life into Manning and the offense.

On to the report…

Jayron Hosley and Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (September 29, 2013)

Jayron Hosley returned to practice – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE WALKING WOUNDED...
A couple of the players that missed practice yesterday returned today. Victor Cruz, Marcus Harris and Jayron Hosley were all back. Odell Beckham Jr. went from doing just individual work, to some seven-on-seven reps, too.

Then, there were those that were still out. Xavier Grimble (hamstring), Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot), Trindon Holliday (hamstring), Jerrel Jernigan (knee), Mike Patterson (shoulder), John Conner (concussion), Xavier Grimble (hamstring) and John Beason (foot) were absent again.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
Brandon McManus needed to have a near perfect camp if he hoped to upset Josh Brown for the Giants kicking spot on the 53-man roster. Today certainly didn’t help his cause.

  • Yesterday was punt/punt return; today was kick/kick return. Your returners? Preston Parker, Quintin Demps and Marcus Harris. Your up-men? Henry Hynoski, Marcus Harris, Andre Williams and Michael Cox.
  • I said it was an ugly day for McManus…and it was. The kicker went 2-for-4 with both kicks missing wide. One of the two he made did drill the cameraman atop the crane. At this point, it looks like Josh Brown has the position all but wrapped up. McManus has a cannon for a leg, he just needs consistency. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a good player in the league in a few years, he’s just not there yet.

INDIVIDUALS…
There were a few interesting drills run during the individual portion of practice. The most interesting? A little-league style tackling drill that the defensive linemen seemed to get a kick out of. Players stood facing each other. When the coach yelled, ‘Go!’ all would wrap up, then roll-tackle the player to the ground. I don’t think one defensive lineman got through this without laughing.

  • One little funny incident happened during a linebacker drill: Jim Herrman yelled for ‘Spencer’ to run from the left side to the right. The result? Both Spencer Adkins and Spencer Paysinger jogged over. Herrman laughed and said he meant “Megatron” which means Adkins.
  • In a drill with just the offense, Odell Beckham Jr. worked with the second team. The Giants do need him to catch on and get going quickly. The offense right now just doesn’t have the playmakers to be effective. Beckham was supposed to be counted on, but he hasn’t been on the field.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Rueben Randle – Photo by Connor Hughes

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
As always, the first team-oriented drill the Giants run (aside from special teams) is the two-minute drill. Normally, like it was today, the Giants’ starting offense matches up against the starting defense.

  • For the time being, Curtis Painter is the Giants No. 2 quarterback. Again today Painter took all reps with the third team as Ryan Nassib worked with the threes.
  • Eli Manning hit Rueben Randle for a deep play down the right sideline. Zack Bowman was in coverage and Randle simply jumped over top of the veteran to make the catch.
  • While he saw some snaps at center during the Giants’ preseason game versus the Steelers, Weston Richburg has worked entirely at left guard these last two practices.
  • I’ve seen this quite a bit and I wouldn’t be surprised if it translates to a game: the shovel pass. Manning, Painter and Nassib have all gone to it the last couple practices.
  • The more practices that go by, the more likely it appears Mario Manningham will not be a part of the Giants in 2014. Not only is he suddenly buried on the depth chart, but Manningham has now dropped six passes in his last two practices.

ONE-ON-ONE…
The Giants offense and defense split into two. The quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs did some one-on-one drills while the running backs, defensive linemen and offensive linemen did some running drills. Another tell-take sign that Nassib is struggling – he was the quarterback handing the ball off while Painter and Manning threw to the receivers.

  • Manningham dropped one of his three passes during this drill.
  • In a one-on-one matchup, Quintin Demps had very good coverage on Corey Washington. On a slant, Demps got inside position to take the route away.
  • Walter Thurmond III had good coverage on a slant attempt to Victor Cruz. Cruz came up a bit limp, but was back for the next series.
  • A nice battle between Washington and Rodgers-Cromartie. Cromartie came away with a nice defense on blanket coverage

SEVEN-ON-SEVEN…
I said it in the last report, I’ll say it again. A Giants’ training camp practice isn’t a Giants’ training camp practice until the defense starts intercepting some passes. Yesterday, it was during the 11-on-11. Today, it was the seven-on-seven.

  • Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for a deep touchdown on a flag route past Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. By my count, that’s the first long ball Cruz has pulled in during camp.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. took part in his first drill which involved a defense. The results? Not pretty. The first two reps Beckham got both ended in interceptions. The first, Manning went to him on a slant that Amukamara came away with. The second involved Curtis Painter forcing the ball and Jayron Hosley picking it off. On another play, Beckham ran a curl and and Ross Weaver batted it out of his hands.
  • Michael Cox dropped a very, very easy pass out of the backfield.

ELEVEN-ON-ELEVEN/TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
There wasn’t much taking place during either of these two portions of practice. My guess? It was the end of the day, the rain was coming down and the wind whipping around. No one looked good. It wasn’t pretty.

  • This is where Mario Manningham’s third drop occurred. Easy curl, Rodgers-Cromartie batted it out.
  • A skirmish broke out between Damontre Moore and Weston Richburg. Just as punches were going to be thrown, several players broke it up. Moore didn’t like something that happened and was going after Richburg.
Damontre Moore, New York Giants (August 10, 2013)

Damontre Moore – © USA TODAY Sports Images

  • Ryan Nassib hit Travis Harvey for a long touchdown, sort of. It was a busted coverage and Nassib was ‘sacked’ before the pass was thrown.
  • Touchdown pass from Curtis Painter to Kellen Davis in the back of the end zone in the red zone. Busted coverage.
  • Kendall Gaskins fumbled the ball very early on a carry. Either he didn’t get the handoff quickly, or a defensive lineman had great hands.
  • Bennett Jackson hasn’t had the strongest of camps, both before the foot injury and after. He was beat by Preston Parker for a touchdown on a flag route. Ryan Nassib threw it.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Two previous times the Giants had run a timed two-minute drill. Once it was second-string versus second-string, then it was third-string versus third-string. Today? The ones went at it. The result? A turnover on downs for the offense. They may have picked up one first down and that was discrediting the two would-be sacks by Jason Pierre-Paul.

The second-to-last training camp practice will be  held on Wednesday from 1:20-3:30pm.

Aug 112014
 
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Corey Washington and Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Corey Washington and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 11, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
Throughout the course of this year’s training camp, Corey Washington had made highlight-reel catch, after highlight-reel catch against the third- and fourth-string Giants’ defense.

While the catches were impressive, they always came with a bit of an asterisk simply because of who was guarding the 6-4, 214-pound rookie.

Then Monday’s practice came. Victor Cruz, Marcus Harris, Jerrel Jernigan and Trindon Holliday did not practice and Washington got his first chance to play with the starters.

The result? Catch… after catch… after catch. Then, just for good measure, another catch.

Washington stole the show at Giants’ training camp as he continues to make a push for a spot on the final 53-man roster.

John Conner, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

John Conner – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SETTING THE STAGE…
The same faces were absent from practice again today: Trindon Holliday (hamstring), Peyton Hillis (foot/ankle), Xavier Grimble (hamstring) Mike Patterson (shoulder), and Jon Beason (foot). Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) and Daniel Fells (knee) practiced in a very limited capacity.

Then there were the new faces. Victor Cruz (knee), John Conner (concussion), Marcus Harris (hip) and Jayron Hosley (foot) did not practice. Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin did say after practice he expects Cruz, Harris and Jernigan to return tomorrow.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
The Giants were in shells today, so it’s really tough to gauge anything that really transpires at practice. You can look at little things, but it’s more flag football than anything else. Special teams falls in that same category. Really the only observations to be made are that of who’s lining up where.

  • The Giants worked punt team and punt return today. Your returners have dwindled down quite a bit since camp started. Just Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Preston Parker were back fielding kicks. This group, more than any, has thinned out the most.
  • Josh Brown kicked today and went a perfect 4-for-4. The kicking battle really is tight this year.
  • Charles James II and Bennett Jackson were your starting gunners. Ross Weaver and Zack Bowman were on the second unit. In a drill that practiced downing the ball inside the five, neither James or Jackson stood out. James misjudged one and had it go through his hands. Jackson misjudged a hop and missed it entirely.

INDIVIDUALS…
There was just one player I was keeping my eye on during the individual portion of practice: Odell Beckham Jr. For the first time since the very first practice, Beckham was back on the field doing something with the group of receivers. Here are a few observations:

  • It seems as if the drill involved even a little contact, Beckham was held out. The first thing the Giants receivers did was a one-on-one with defensive backs where all they had to do was get by them. No quarterbacks were involved…and no Beckham. Odell sat this drill out.
  • The first portion of practice Beckham took part in was one where a route-tree drill was run with the quarterbacks. The group of receivers would line up facing one direction of the field, run a pattern and the quarterback would throw the ball. Beckham moved well and didn’t waste any time bringing the crowd to their feet…

  • I did my best to see if I could find something…anything…to pick out on the negative front with Beckham. Truly, I couldn’t. This wasn’t because Beckham was perfect, but rather he didn’t do all that much. Aside from the route tree, Beckham was with the trainers. Tomorrow’s another practice and we’ll see if Beckham does more. Maybe this segment should just be renamed “Beckham Watch.”

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Overall, Eli Manning and the offense looked pretty good in the two-minute drill. The starters connected on a few big plays and three-straight touchdowns down in the redzone. Albeit, the scores came against the reserves.

  • On three straight plays, Eli Manning went to Corey Washington. On three straight plays, Corey Washington made the catch in front of Prince Amukamara. The first two came via a curl route, the third on a skinny post. It was only the beginning of Washington’s stellar afternoon.
  • Corey Washington doesn’t just play receiver, he plays defensive back, too. Eli Manning made a terrible decision attempting to force the ball to Washington and it was traveling directly to Jameel McClain. Truly, it was going to hit him between the ’5′ and the ’3.’ Washington jumped up and over McClain, reached around and batted the ball out of his hands.
  • Pretty interesting development that Coughlin shook off, but I took as much bigger. Curtis Painter took all second team reps while Ryan Nassib worked with the third team. The quarterback rotation worked as follows: Manning, Painter, Manning, Manning, Painter, Nassib.
  • Eli Manning strung together three straight touchdowns in the redzone. The first – Manning found Rueben Randle on an in-route at the goal line. The second – Manning hit Randle for a touchdown on a fade route. The third – Manning hit Julian Talley on a flag route. Again, these all came versus the second- and third-team defense.
  • It’s very tough to gauge Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, simply because no one throws his way. On Monday, Manning wanted desperately to take a shot to Washington, but had to pull back because Rodgers-Cromartie had lock-down coverage.
  • Mario Manningham is on the roster bubble and needs to catch everything thrown his way. Instead, he dropped three passes today. If his name wasn’t ‘Mario Manningham,’ I’d give him zero shot to make the team.

    Mario Manningham, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

    Mario Manningham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

  • Maybe being dropped to the third team was exactly what Ryan Nassib needed because on his first pass he made an unbelievable throw. Rolling out to his right, Nassib put one on a line to Preston Parker on a deep comeback. The issue? Two throws later he sailed one over Randle’s head on a slant.

SEVEN ON SEVEN…
Of all drills run in shells, the seven-on-seven may be the one you can take the most out of. It’s simple, the receiver has to get open and the defender needs to prevent that from happening. Today was a relatively slow day in the drill, but here’s the update:

  • Andre Williams is now catching just about everything with his hands. The issue? It still doesn’t look natural. Still…progress. He’ll improve each day.
  • Eli Manning made his best throw of the entire training camp. Manning dropped back and fired a pass deep down the field to Rueben Randle who was covered by both Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown. Despite the double coverage, Manning placed the ball where only Randle could get it. The LSU alum reached out and caught it with his finger tips on the way to the endzone. The throw and catch caused several to say “Wow.”

ELEVEN-ON-ELEVEN…
It’s not a New York Giants practice until the quarterbacks start throwing interceptions. The Giants made it to the final leg of the race before the pick birds came out. Two INTs by the starting defense versus the starting offense.

  • Antrel Rolle notched the first interception of practice, jumping an Eli Manning pass intended for Rueben Randle.
  • A play later, Manning was intercepted again, this time by Prince Amukamara. Not sure who the pass was intended for because it went directly to No. 20.
  • Corey Washington continued to shine. When Curtis Painter checked in, the quarterback when deep down the far sideline for the rookie who was covered by Amukamara. Washington reached up and made the grab for a 40+-yard gain. Washington wasn’t done, making a toe-taping reception on the sideline and his best catch of practice.

The Giants will hold practice tomorrow from 1:20-3:30pm. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will speak to the media at 11:15am. 

Aug 112014
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18,2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

All offseason, Jason Pierre-Paul has answered the same question over and over and over again.

How close is he to returning to JPP circa 2011? The one that terrorized quarterbacks, was a force against the run and simply over-powered offensive tackles on his way into the backfield?

Does he feel he’s there? Is he back to the player who some once felt had limitless potential? Heck, can he even be that player again?

The answer is no. Pierre-Paul isn’t the ‘JPP of 2011.’ In fact, he doesn’t want to be, either.

What does the former All-Pro want?

“To be better,” Pierre-Paul said.

Better? Is there a better? Just three short years ago, Pierre-Paul recorded 16.5 sacks in his second NFL season. He was ferocious and fearless, making quarterbacks’ Sunday afternoons a nightmare. ‘Up’ from there would be teetering on a record-breaking year? A record that a recently inducted Hall of Famer set wearing Pierre-Paul’s same jersey.

Is that in clear sight?

“Yeah,” Pierre-Paul said, “Maybe.”

Whether it’s 2011 Pierre-Paul, or a new-and-improved JPP, either will be welcome on the Giants’ defensive line this year. The old, familiar faces who had once terrorized quarterbacks are gone. Michael Strahan is a talk show host. Osi Umenyiora is in Atlanta. Justin Tuck in Oakland.

From the team that defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, just Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka remain across the defensive line.

Actually, in recent memory, the Pierre-Paul who took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in February 2012 hasn’t been seen much since. In New York’s championship run, Pierre-Paul recorded 104 tackles, 17 sacks and two forced fumbles in the regular and postseason.

In the 27 games since? Pierre-Paul has managed just 93 tackles, 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble while dealing with a string of nagging injuries.

“Being injured, nobody wants to be injured,” Pierre-Paul said. “It comes with the game; you never know when you’re going to be injured. You have to fight through it. You go out there and play. If you can’t, you can’t.”

Thus far in training camp, Pierre-Paul’s been healthy and as a result his play has been eerily reminiscent of just a few short years ago. Not only has his game made an apparent return, but so too has his talk.

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Pierre-Paul is provoking opponents during his few snaps during the preseason, teasing teammates and, the way defensive coordinator Perry Fewell sees it, having “fun” again.

“I’ve seen a much better attitude. I’ve seen the old JPP,” Fewell said. “His attitude is good. His work ethic has been very good. He’ll continue to develop and I’m sure he’ll re-gain his form.”

Versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Giants’ preseason home opener, Pierre-Paul was as active as he’d been in a long time. He tracked down a receiver on an end around, put in a full-force sprint on Dri Archer following a screen and put a huge hit on quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

He looks, by all counts, like he’s back and if he is, is that limitless potential back? Wanting to be better than the 16.5 sacks in 2011, is there a number in JPP’s mind that he’d like to reach?

“Nope,” Pierre-Paul said. “Unlimited.”

Aug 092014
 
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Jay Bromley, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Jay Bromley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

He remembers it ever so vividly. Then again, it was just a few months ago.

Jay Bromley, at the time a defensive tackle for Syracuse, woke up and wandered down stairs on Christmas morning. He sat around the tree, the same way he always had, and began to open up his presents. As he ripped the paper off of his gifts, one caused his eyes to light up. It was the perfect one for a die-hard Giants’ fan.

“Giants’ bed sheets,” Bromley said with a smile.

Many nights the 22-year old tucked his massive 6-4, 305-pound frame underneath those same covers. By just about every count, they were put to good use.

That was until May 9, because, well, it wouldn’t be very professional for Bromley to sleep on them after being drafted by New York.

“I had to change that up a little bit,” Bromley said. “I couldn’t be a little kid anymore.”

The no longer ‘little,’ Bromley is hoping to make a Giant impact on Big Blue this year. The team he once spent Sunday after Sunday cheering to victory will now be the one he’s contributing to on the field. He has the size to play the run, along with the agility to get after the quarterback.

Last season for Syracuse, Bromley recorded 13.5 tackles for a loss, forced three fumbles and sacked the quarterback nine times. He attained career highs in nearly every statistical category. His sack and tackle for loss numbers were higher than his previous three years combined.

And none of it was by accident.

Despite having all of the physical tools, Bromley said he spent his senior season oblivious to his NFL Draft stock. Could he focus on where scouts thought he could be picked? Sure, but where were those opinions going to get him? Instead, he focused on a much simpler task: Be the best he could be.

“Whatever after that comes after that,” Bromley said. “I just wanted to be the best at my position because if I worked hard at that, everything else will just stack on top.”

That same mentality carried over on draft day. While so many NFL hopefuls dress in suits, watches, necklaces and chains, invite camera crews into their homes and soak in every minute of the fame while waiting for their name to be called, Bromley had other plans.

He and his girlfriend, Alexis, went out to rent a movie. Bromley’s Saturday night was supposed to be spent eating popcorn and watching Gravity. That’s when his phone rang with Tom Coughlin on the other end.

Hysteria set in at the Bromley household in Queens, New York. He still hasn’t seen the movie. Nor has it set in yet that he’s a member of the team whose logo once graced his bed.

It didn’t hit him when he signed his rookie contract. Not when he showed up for the offseason conditioning program or training camp. He even admitted it hadn’t hit him when he played in last week’s Hall of Fame preseason game.

But today? When he runs through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium? The same stadium he attended a game two years ago as a fan?

“Maybe, maybe,” Bromley said. “It just might at MetLife.”

Aug 082014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, August 9 , 2014

It’s a gradual learning process with the New York Giants this season as the offense continues to learn Ben McAdoo’s new West Coast scheme. Sunday’s Hall of Fame game was a taste. Saturday’s game versus Pittsburgh should be the appetizer.

THE STORYLINE:
Progress. Progress. Progress. Last week versus the Buffalo Bills, the Giants’ starting offense took the field for three possessions. Two looks very bad, one looked very good. The good one came against the Buffalo’s No. 2 defense. Tom Coughlin said on Tuesday the Giants installed two new elements of the offense in practice this week. Is there an improvement with the starters? We’ll see.

FOUR DOWNS:

Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

First Down
Who’s the Giants’ No. 2 running back?
When David Wilson announced his retirement, it ended the career of a promising back far too soon, but it also opened up questions on who exactly will be spelling Rashad Jennings. Andre Williams flashed in Canton, but he hasn’t proven he can catch. Peyton Hillis has proven he can be a serviceable back, but he’s dealing with an ankle injury. Kendall Gaskins and Michael Cox? The two had a combined 22 carries a year ago. Can someone from this group step up?

Second Down
Can Charles James II handle punt return duties?
When Giants’ special teams coordinator Tom Quinn spoke to the media last week, he said Charles James II and Preston Parker would get extended looks as a punt returner with Odell Beckham Jr. and Trindon Holliday ailing. Holliday is no sure bet to make the team, James isn’t exactly a lock either. The chance to show his value on special teams should be music to his ears for the young corner. If James can show he can be a serviceable returner, reliable with the chance at a big return every now and then, it could go a long way for him making the team. He’s on the bubble as a corner, being a returner could be just the edge James needs.

Third Down
Will the first-team offensive line and tight end be able to generate running room for Rashad Jennings?
Last week, the answer was no. Last year, Eli Manning found himself constantly in 3rd-and-long situations because the Giants had no running game. The Steelers will be a good test.

Fourth Down
Can the first-team defensive line generate a pass rush?
Last week, the answer was again no. The Giants need to see more of pass rush from Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Cullen Jenkins, and Johnathan Hankins.

Michael Cox, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Michael Cox – © USA TODAY Sports Images

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Connor Hughes – RB Michael Cox
Playing with some very, very bad offensive linemen in front of him, Michael Cox flashed versus the Bills on Sunday. The one play that stood out to me was the screen pass in which he applied a perfect chip bock, then took a few steps up, caught the ball and picked up a good gain. With Hillis ailing and Wilson retired, Cox should see extended reps at running back. This is his chance to not only prove he deserves a spot on the final 53-man roster, but a role on the offense as well. There are reps to be had, Cox needs to grab them. If he can’t? Well, there could be a roster move made next week to bring in another body.

Eric Kennedy - WR Rueben Randle
We heard last  year at camp how great Randle was doing. We’ve heard that times this year as well. Last week, Randle didn’t have a pass thrown in his direction. In 2013, Randle played in all 16 games but he only averaged 2.5 catches per game, did not score in the last six games of the season, and only had one 100-yard receiving game all year (the opener). With Hakeem Nicks gone, Rueben is being penciled in as the the starting split end or X-receiver. He’s got to be a guy who can get open and make plays against top cornerbacks. If not, teams will constantly double Cruz. Who knows when Odell Beckham will be able to play, and how productive he will be since he is so far behind? Randle needs to prove he can do it.

THE INJURY REPORT:

• Jon Beason (PUP LIST/foot/out)
• Will Beatty (pre-planned/leg/out)
• Trumaine McBride (pre-planned/hip/out)
• Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring/out)
• Xavier Grimble (hamstring/tbd)
• Geoff Schwartz (knee/tbd)
• Mike Patterson (shoulder/tbd)
• Trindon Holliday (leg/out)

FROM THE COACHES MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin: (on how he manages a second preseason game when for many its their first) “If there is a normal role, I suppose you are describing it. Our guys will play the same amount or maybe a little bit more than they did before. I still want to see, if we can, everyone who is dressed. If they are able to play, I would like to see them all.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Connor Hughes - There was promise shown in Canton, now it’s time to build on that and develop consistency. I want to see what Eli Manning looks like another week into the offense. I want to see an improvement amongst the offensive line. I want to see if Marcus Harris can continue to move what he’s shown in training camp to the game day field. But more importantly, as the story line says, I just want to see progress. Because I got the score right last week, although teams wrong, I’m picking again :)
Giants 20 – Steelers 14

Eric Kennedy – On the offensive side of the ball, I still expect growing pains (ups and downs) with Eli Manning and the new offense. But he’s still not my #1 concern. My number one concern is do the Giants still have enough offensive weapons to really scare other teams. We have Cruz. But we don’t have a tight end. I’m not sure we have a starting split end (Randle has to show me; how far behind is Beckham?). I like the running backs, but losing David Wilson takes away the home-run hitter who I think would have done very well in Ben McAdoo’s offense. When will Will Beatty be able to play a full game? And how will he rebound? Do we have a starting-caliber right guard? Defensively, everyone has been saying JPP is back, but we haven’t seen it yet. Can these ends rush the passer?
Steelers 20 – Giants – 13

Aug 072014
 
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Charles James, New York Giants (August 24, 2013)

Charles James had his fifth interception of the offseason in Thursday’s practice – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 7, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
As the Giants took the practice field for the final time before Saturday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was just more of the same.

The defense intercepts three-to-four passes. The defense returns three-to-four interceptions for touchdowns. The Giants quarterbacks go back to the huddle and try to figure out what went wrong.

At first, a lot of praise was given to the cornerbacks and the traditional logic of ‘the defense is ahead of the offense’ fit. But this is three weeks into camp. It’s not even Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Walter Thurmond III hauling these down. It’s Charles James, Zack Bowman and Chandler Fenner.

Seriously, the Giants’ offense is making Chandler Fenner and Zack Bowman look like Deion Sanders and Darrell Revis.

On to the report.

Odell Beckham (13) and Zack Bowman (31), New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Odell Beckham is getting closer – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE WALKING WOUNDED…
Bennett Jackson returned to the field for his second day of work. Odell Beckham Jr. continues to work on the side of the field with trainers. Peyton Hillis, Daniel Fells,Mike Patterson, and Trindon Holliday all took turns riding bikes. Geoff Schwartz worked in-and-out with the offense. Peyton Hillis and Kelcy Quarles are both still out with ankle injuries. Will Beatty just did work individually. No alarm, he won’t play Saturday so Charles Brown got all first team reps. Jerrel Jernigan also returned.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
It was tough really to gauge too much of practice because the team was in just shells. No contact, essentially two-hand touch. There were some observations to be made though.

  • The following players saw punt return looks: Preston Parker, Jerrel Jernigan, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Charles James II. James and Parker got the majority of the reps.
  • With Bennett Jackson still not 100 percent, it was Marcus Harris getting reps as the lead gunner opposite Zack Bowman.
  • It was Brandon McManus’ day to kick. He went 3-of-4. The one miss was ugly on a complete shank wide left. That brings his camp misses to three. Josh Brown has missed two.

INDIVIDUAL…
There were a few pretty interesting drills run by the Giants’ offense today. Some different ones that we haven’t seen before.

Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (July 27, 2013)

Adrien Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

  • Just to throw this one out there early: Odell Beckham Jr. was working off in the distance running routes at about 3/4 speed with a coach throwing him passes. He seems to be progressing nicely. My take? He gets on practice field Monday.
  • Cool drill being run with the tight ends. One player would run in place with another right behind him. As Kevin Gilbride Jr. threw the pass, the “defender” would smack the “offensive” player’s arms. Pretty interesting way to work on catching in traffic.
  • Andre Williams caught two passes, by my count, with just his hands. Got a video of the one. It still doesn’t look natural, but it’s coming along.

ELEVEN ON ELEVEN…
With today being a lighter practice, the Giants ran a few different variations. Saw some eleven on eleven, then primarily cards. Practice concluded with a two-minute drill. Here’s the highlights from 11-on-11.

  • Henry Hynoski was featured a bit more today in the pass game than usual. Saw the fullback catch two or three about 5-8 yards down the field.
  • Geoff Schwartz worked in at out at left guard. When he wasn’t in, Weston Richburg took his place.
  • It seems as if Charles Brown is having a very, very tough time guarding Jason Pierre-Paul. By my count, I had two sacks and one pressure for JPP coming off the edge. It could have easily been more.
  • The defense intercepted three passes, could have been five. Seriously. Five. First miss came when Charles James II undercut a pass from Ryan Nassib to Jerrel Jernigan. James missed it by an inch and the pass fell incomplete.
  • Near interception No. 2: Eli Manning went down the seam to Larry Donnell who was guarded well by Jameel McClain. Stevie Brown came over top and Manning’s pass sailed a little high. Brown didn’t watch it in, though, as the pass fell through his hands.
Henry Hynoski, New York Giants (December 30, 2012)

Henry Hynoski – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE CARDS…
I described this a bit last week and it will be a trend the final practice before each game. The offensive coach holds up a card with a play on it and the defensive coaches do the same. Then, the play is run.

  • Another Henry Hynoski sighting in the pass game. This time he beat Jacquian Williams.
  • I saw this a bit last week, Giants didn’t go to it in the game but it’s there. The read option with Ryan Nassib seems to be something in Ben McAdoo’s back pocket.
  • Marcus “Soup” Harris continues to catch just about everything that is thrown in his zip code. He beat Prince Amukamara on an out, then got deep on a shallow post.
  • Chandler Fenner has had a nice showing the last two days of practice. He fought a ball away from Corey Washington on a deep in.
  • First interception of practice comes from Zack Bowman. He picked off Ryan Nassib. I had my head down so I missed the exact play. Either way, he returned it for a touchdown.
  • Second interception (and fifth of camp) came from Charles James II. The second-year pro undercut an Eli Manning pass intended for I believe Victor Cruz. James II then returned it for a touchdown.

THE RED ZONE…
Following some special teams work, the Giants lined up and worked through a red zone drill. It wasn’t pretty for the offense as the defense continued to have all the success.

  • Ryan Nassib threw a terrible interception to Zack Bowman (his second of the day). On a play-action roll out, Nassib threw it, well, directly to him. Ben McAdoo gave him a few words of ‘encouragement’ after that.
  • Nice pass defense from Prince Amukamara as Manning looked for Rueben Randle in the back of the endzone. Prince had it guarded perfectly and knocked it away.
  • Something happened between Jameel McClain and Adrien Robinson. Didn’t see too much, but McClain got up yelling about “having maturity.”

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Yesterday, the Giants concluded practice by running the two-minute drill with Ryan Nassib under center. Today, it was Curtis Painter’s turn. The drive didn’t last very long. On a fourth-and-two from midfield, Painter went deep for Corey Washington. Washington got past Chandler Fenner for the ‘game-winning’ touchdown. Really pretty pass from Painter, dropped it right into Washington’s hands.

 

Aug 072014
 
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Brandon Mosley, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Brandon Mosley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

This was the moment Giants’ guard Brandon Mosley had been waiting for.

After a long, injury-filled rookie season, the former fourth-round pick was going to be able to step foot on the field, go toe-to-toe against Detroit Lions’ defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly and show coaches exactly what he was capable of.

He started strong. Then, it all came to a screeching halt. In the first quarter, Mosley broke his hand.

His start, his season and his chance: All over.

“It was tough,” Mosley said. “It was very frustrating and I was very down about it. You finally get a chance to start and show them what you got, then that happens.”

Now a year later, Mosley, healthy hand and all, sits atop the Giants’ depth chart at right guard. A place he hopes to stay. A place once occupied by Giants’ great Chris Snee.

When the Giants reported for the team’s offseason conditioning program, there was a familiar face holding the position Mosley now does. 10-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler Chris Snee was battling back from elbow and hip issues, determined to erase all memories from a dreadful 2013 campaign.

Snee started the offseason as a full participant in the Giants’ voluntary workouts. Then, as the days went on, Snee’s body began to fail him. His health deteriorated and Snee walked away, opening the door for Mosley.

During the two years the two played together, Snee had taken Mosley under his wing. Despite being drafted as an offensive tackle, Mosley began to work more and more with the offensive guards. Snee would watch film with Mosley, show him the ropes and push him in the weight room.

While Snee was always regarded as the ‘strongest’ member of the Giants’ roster, Mosley gave him a run for his money.

“I hated to see him go,” Mosley said. “He was such a great leader and teacher. He taught me a lot in the short amount of time I was with him.”

Mosley is now focused on taking what Snee taught him and displaying in on the field. He’s gotten the majority of the work with the starters, but free-agent acquisition John Jerry and rookie guard Weston Richburg are just as eager to fill the Snee-sized hole on the Giants’ offensive line.

In Sunday’s Hall of Fame game versus the Bills, Mosley credited himself with an “all right” performance. There were the ups, there were the downs and all the learning curves of a young offensive lineman.

Early in the game, Mosley had his hands full with Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Against the second-team line of the Bills, Mosley helped pave the way for several long runs on the Giants’ 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.

There was room for improvement and Mosley knows that. There are areas of his game he needs to perfect, especially if he’s to take the field with the starters on Monday Night Football in five weeks.

If Mosley steps on the field at Ford Field against the Lions as a starter, it’ll be full circle return from where his season suffered an early stop last year.

“Right now, I’m really just trying to compete for the starting spot first,” Mosley said. “But if it does come to that, it will be exciting to be able to go back there.”