Aug 012012
 
 August 1, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 1, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Hammer of Thor” Edition

“I’m Thor.” – “Well, you thould put thome ointment on it, then.”
From the “Old Stale Jokes Anthology”

Thor: Do not touch me again.
Tony Stark: Then don’t take my stuff.

Thor: You have no idea what you’re dealing with.
Tony Stark: Uh…Shakespeare in the park.

Tony Stark: Doth mother know, you weareth her drapes?
2012 Avengers Movie

Ah, yes, it’s a shocking version of Bits & Bites to start August off with. The Sun is warm, with a bit of a breeze, lower 80′s, and we’re at Camp Scooby Doo again. However, the forcast is for storms in the afternoon, and knowing how fronts move around the UA campus, we come prepared with our trusty $2.99 umbrella, with a nice metal tip!

(For those of you expecting to see the Marvel Thor…get over it, this is the real thing. I think…)

I know there will be trouble ahead, as I have a nice shady spot on the sideline between fields 2 and 3. Ok, let’s start off…1:00pm, and the team is split, the defense is on Field 3, the Offense on Field 2. Both are doing play walk-throughs.

I notice that Hixon is wearing white compression socks that go over his knees…he also seems to have a soft knee brace over both knees, but under the compression socks. This may be for some stability support for his ACL, or perhaps just something to protect him from knee scrapes.

Bruce Johnson and Rocky Bernard also are wearing the high compression socks, but not the knee brace underneath…more like white shin wraps.

Horn sounds, and the team moves around again. On Field 3, we have the QB’s doing footwork (coming back from center), with Bass, Boothe and Goodin as the centers. Cordle was with them, practicing his long snaps.

On Field 2, more punt returns with Hixon, Cruz, Jernigan, Randle and Hosley. On the sideline, we have JPP, Rogers, Antrel, Corey, Kenny and Rocky chillin and having some laughs. I try my lip reading skills, though I’m not confident…

Antrel: What’s this I hear about Marvin’s dreads?

Rocky: That’s yesterday’s news. I want to see more of that “ball on a stick”, that looked good to me!

Back to Field 2, and we see the PR/KO machine out sending balls to the usual guys.

Horn.

Sprints, kicks, arm waving, running backwards…it’s the Mitch Petrus Olympics!

Speaking of stretching, Matthew McCants really needs to take some Yoga, or Yogurt, or something, to increase his flexibility. Perhaps some Zombie Zumba…

Over on Field 3, Tynes is flexing his arm with some pitch and catch with the support staff.

Horn.

On Field 3, the QB’s are doing pitch and catch with Bradshaw, Bear and Cruz. Back on Field 2, there’s a drill where the punt returner releases, and there are two gunners chasing him…one long, one short, trying to down the punt.

On the right sideline, the WR’s/TE’s are working with the LB’s/DL. Two release at a time to block, then two defensive guys fight the block and go around them. Chase Blackburn gets a little frisky with one of the offensive guys, and tosses him on the ground (probably fighting a hold).

Horn.

On Field 5, the DB’s have a drill where they line up next to a big pylon square mattress. One guy faces the mattress, while another DB has an arm shield, and pushes the first guy with it down on to the foam bed…probably simulating a trap block. The first guy is trying to defeat the block, of course.

The D Line guys have a drill where they are facing another D player with a cap, have to get around him, then tackle the “running back” (another D player) behind him. The linebackers are working on back pedaling drills.

On Field 2, you have 3 QB’s throwing to 3 of 5 receivers going out at a time (one short throw, one intermediate throw, one long throw). Then more handoffs to running backs, and the WR’s have to catch quick, hard passes from the coaches from point blank range (between 5-10 yds). The DB’s come back to Field 2, and do some one-on-one press coverage stuff.

Over on Field 5, the D Line is now running across pylons and tackling the pop up dummy. The Safeties are working on beating blocking (from other defensive backfield players wearing caps and using plastic foam arm shields to block).

The CB’s are now on Field 3, doing the “Chase the Ball” drill. That’s where the player goes into his backpedal, then goes left or right depending on where the coach moves the ball with his hand.

Hey, a Nicks sighting on Field 2! He’s still moving carefully on that foot, though…no spring. If his body language is any indication, he’s a long way from coming back.

Now, there are 2 QB’s on Field 2 throwing outs to 2 WR’s, one on each side. The D Line is off doing gap drills. The safeties are back pedaling, then breaking to the ball for interceptions. The TE’s and D Line are on Field 4, doing blocking drills with foam arm shields.

I’ve notice a thing with #13 (Barden)…he really should focus on not leaping as often when the ball comes to him. It really robs him of any momentum (he comes to a stop with a leap), and I think he’d get bigger plays by running through the route. He’s big enough not to have to leap for most of the balls thrown to him.

Off on Field 3, the D Line and LB’s are working on positioning for different coverages.

I check the weather…the temp is 84, and I see some nasty clouds coming quickly from the west.

Horn sounds, and the Defense (Field 3) and Offense (Field 2) are working through plays again.

All of a sudden, I hear a coach yell out:

Storm warning…15 minutes!

This is at 2:19 pm…

Horn.

Things now pick up. Time for O vs D. Eli’s up:

Pass to Hixon, who falls down on the left sideline but completes the catch. That’s followed by a middle handoff to Bradshaw, then another handoff to Ware

Kaboom!

(Bah, Thor must be either a Jets or Pats fan. Or it’s the Hammer of Tebow!)

Play of the day comes up…Kiwi slices into the backfield and picks off a Manning pass intended for Bradshaw on the right flat for a defensive TD! Eli comes back, though, with a toss to Cruz who makes a crowd pleasing play with a leap and catch on the left sideline.

Carr comes in, and throws it to Collins, who makes a nice catch. A handoff to Scott, who goes off tackle right. Now it’s a handoff to Brown up the middle. A throw to the right flat to Scott bounces off his hands, but he snaps it out of the air for a nice recovery catch. Another handoff to Brown up the middle.

Now it’s time for the Perils of Perriloux. Stanback makes a nice catch on the right sideline beating Hosley. Wilson with another nice run off tackle left. This guy is going to be one of those runners who make you hold your breath. Hhe really has a second gear and makes lightning fast cuts in the hole.

Now Perrilloux hits Douglas on a slant despite nice tight coverage by Jojo Nicolas.

Drops of Rain??? (It’s now 2:27pm). More rumbles in the background.

Ryan overthrows Stanback on a long pass up the right sideline, then can’t find a receiver on the next play (sack)…

And that’s it! Practice is over, and there’s no hanging around or autographs, they are jogging quickly off the field.

What you didn’t see after practice:

Me!…and other people hanging around…we were all off to cover, or our cars. Some people thought they might continue practice if the storm passed (and it did somewhat later), but I didn’t stick around.

It actually didn’t get that wet, but safety first. I guess a sacrifice to Thor will help for later, or maybe it was a warning if you missed the original Marvel Thor or Avengers flick.

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Aug 012012
 
 August 1, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 1, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

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.

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Jul 302012
 
 July 30, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 30, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

“Zombie Zumba” Edition

Late getting to camp today, as I’m getting the Accord inspected. Not later than 1:30, but didn’t get to camp until 1:00, which is late. The players are already on the field, running through plays.

First day of wearing pads, too…should be interesting.

Most of the players are on Field 3, doing kickoff returns. Collins, Jernigan and Wilson are on board, but not doing hard returns. This is more for the players on the KO return team, and the KO team, to go over gap control, the wedge, etc.

Over on Field 2, the QB’s are working on center exchanges. Bass, Parker, White and Goodin do the honors as snappers.

Horn sounds, and now we go into the gymnastic portion of the competition (Sprints, Kicks, etc). Jacquian Williams gets a 9.5 with a split on a high leap that amuses the crowd.

Horn again, and now the team splits up into groups. The Offensive Line moves over to Field 4 to practice their drills. On the main field, the punt/KO machine is rolled out, and Jernigan, Randall and Wilson run back with a bit more contact between the special teams.

Hey, Pat Hanlon sighting! Pat, always fashionable, is wearing a gray windbreaker (with small Giants logo)…it’s covering his shirt (unless he’s doing a Tebow). He completes the outfit with blue shorts. Way to go, Pat!

On the right sideline, the D line is staring at 5 helmets on the ground (in a line). Looks like the coaches are instructing them on gap coverage. The OB’s are over on Field 5, either running plays or doing pitch and catch with the WR’s/RB’s/TE’s.

Horn Sounds.

Now the upside Garbage Cans (5 of them, for the O line) are on the center of Field 3, with a Pop up Dummy that looks like a QB (with a place to put a football). The D Line is practicing rushes, with twists or bull runs; when they get to the fake QB, they knock the ball out of it’s “hands” and dive for the ball. In the meantime, a coach will throw an “interception” to one of the DB’s or LB’s, and the rest of the backfield hustles to block for that guy as he goes to the endzone.

The QB’s are still on Field 5, now working on plays with the full offense; first walk throughs, then the same stuff at a faster pace.

Now, the Defense breaks up, with the D Line going to Field 4; the DB’s and LB’s have their own groups. First they work on backpedaling, then interception drills, then cover drills (the Linemen are just working on gaps).

Sun is bright and hot today, but there’s a nice cool breeze with a hint of August chill. Just a hint.

Water Break.

The DB’s and LB’s move to Field 3, for coverage drills. The D Line is working with the flat pylons on the ground, doing steps over and around them. The QB’s are making intermediate throws (15-30 yds) to receivers on Field 5, right near Western Avenue.

The Offense and Defense switch sides of the field, with the Offense now close to the University end of Field 3.

Eli is on. He overthrows Jernigan on a long pass up the left sideline. Then misses Hopkins. Short dink to Barden.

Hey, it’s Ryan Perrilloux. Throws a nice 25 yard completion to Collins, then Horton makes a great knockdown coverage play on 46.

Eli’s back, and he throws a slant to Talley. Then a dink over the middle to Douglas, another middle pass to Cruz.

Perrilloux again; he throws a dink to Hixon, another to Jernigan.

Now for some drama. Barden sets up on the right, starts his pattern, but Perrilloux for some reason stops the play. You can hear all the way back in the crowd Barden yelling “Damn, should have WENT!!!” Little pressure, maybe?

Perrilloux finishes with a short pass to Collins, then the Horn Sounds.

The Offense is on the far end of Field 3, the Defense on the close end, but they are just running plays. It’s nice and warm, and honestly, it’s hard not to just take in the sun and snooze (knowing what’s coming in 6 months!!).

Took a peak at Field 2, where Weatherford and Zak DeOssi are working on long snaps. I’ve seen Zak a few times, staring at the LB’s doing drills. I know he’s a vital part of the team as a long snapper…but there’s a look in his eyes that’s a bit wistful, I think. He was drafted as a linebacker, a long time ago, and used to be with the other guys doing those drills…

Horn sounds. Offense vs Defense…with Pads.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the team is lining up right in font of me, so there’s no way I can see most of the action on the line, so I’ll leave that to Marty.

Eli…handoff to Bradshaw. Then a dink to Hixon, a short out to Barden, and a sweep on the right by Ware. The Defense is not allowing much, they are getting serious. Bradshaw is stuffed by Joseph. Eli tries a play action, then sprint right but overthrows Hixon. Finally, a handoff to Bradshaw goes 20 yds..he earned it, nice burst! Bennett catches another seam pass for 20 yards. He seems to be a lot more effective going down the field on seams and slants, not so much on outs. Brown goes off left tackle for a bit.

Carr in, but his throw to Hopkins is stuffed by great coverage (couldn’t see the guy). He overthows Randle. Hands off to Brown off tackle right, but Bing just smothers Randle, no catch.

Perrilloux is ready to go, and hands off to Wilson. Wilson gets several “Wacks” by the Defense that you can clearly hear. “Welcome to full NFL contact, Rook!” seems to be the message! Bear with a nice seam pass. Collins with a nice catch on the right. Wilson up the middle. Dink to Wilson in the flat. Another dink to Martinek.

Horn, and now we have a quick KO return on Field 3 with Jernigan, then Collins. Tynes comes in for FG practice, and hits all 5 attempts (starting at the 5, and going back 5 yds or so). One of them hits the umbrella on the film tower, to great applause.

Horn.

Seven on Seven.

Eli…Short left sideline dink to Bear, then on the right (but he can’t control it when he hits the ground). Cruz with a catch on the left, then a dink to Ware. Jernigan impresses with a nice catch up the middle despite good coverage by Rolle.

Carr comes up, and passes to Barden on the right sideline. Randle does an “Andre Reed” (older Giant fans know how Andre used to catch those passes underneath the LB’s by going across the field, right to left!). Dink to Brown, then a short pass to Collins up the middle.

Perrilloux with a dink to DePalma. A nice slant to Barnett. Runs out of time on the next play (sack). Talley gets a catch, but fumbles it? Muasau makes a nice play on Robinson. Douglas with a dink catch, then a slant to DePalma.

I did miss some action on Field 2, where there was 1 on 1 OLine vs DLine stuff.

Horn.

Full O vs Full D.

Eli handoff to Bradshaw stuffed. Did Tuck batt down the next pass? Bradshaw off tackle right, but not much. Prince knocks down a pass to Hixon, who falls a bit awkwardly on the left sideline, but bounces back up and jogs back. He looks ok! Finally, a nice run by Bradshaw up the middle, nice burst. The Defense is fierce today, those yards were earned!

Carr passes to Collins, who beats Coe but juggles the ball out of bounds. Another “sack.” Brown with a strong run on the left side. Poor pass to Robinson, Carr overthrows him. Scott with a sweep right. Scott may have had more plays, but a lot of the RB’s pulled their shirt up, so their numbers are hard to read from my spot!

Ryan Perrilloux throws to DePalma who makes a nice leaping grab on the right sideline. Ojomo and Hendricks force a “sack.” Wilson off tackle right.

Horn.

Eli’s back. Bradshaw drops a middle dink. Ware was covered, Eli throws at his feet. Corey with the play of the day covering Cruz…he breaks and intercepts Eli on a slant. Collins catches a right slant. Scott runs off tackle right.

Perrilloux finishes up, tries to pass to Talley but Brown knocks it down. Wlson with an off tackle left run…shows great ballance! Wilson again up the middle. Overthrows Stanback.

Practice ends.

What you didn’t see after practice:

Brewer hanging by the Gatorade bar on Field 2!

The team has a VERY long group circle, longer than ususal. Then they break up into groups (D line, O Line, CB’s, LB’s, RB’s etc). All the QB’s do sideline to sideline sprints on Field 3, and they aren’t alone…on Field 2, more of the guys are doing sideline to sideline sprints (D line, WR’s TE’s, LB’s).

Reinders has a long discussion with one of the coaches.

TC and the rest of the coaches have a long discussion after practice in the middle of Field 2, while the reporters are waiting for the presser under a hot sun way over to the right of Field 4 (near to Western Ave).

#24

I heard this evening about Terrell. All I can say is that I hope he can recover and walk normally, and have a normal life. Football, as important as it is now to him and to us, is just a short phase of a long life…there is so much more to a person than playing in the NFL.

All the best to you, and best wishes.

John F.

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Jul 302012
 
 July 30, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 30, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

CB Jayron Hosley Injured; RB Da’Rel Scott Returns

In the one on one WR/DB drill, CB Jayron Hosley either slipped on the grass, or got tangled up with the receiver that he was guarding and went down.  He sort of hopped back to the sideline, and lay down there.  It was clear that he was injured.  After he was looked at, he was able to stand and get into the cart without help and was taken off the field.  I was on the opposite side of the field, but it appeared to be an ankle or knee injury.  (Editor’s Note: Hosley suffered lacerations to his knee that required stitches).

It was expected that the results of DE Justin Trattou’s MRI would be announced, but apparently the MRI is not until today.  CB Terrell Thomas and LBs Michael Boley and Keith Rivers did not play.  Rivers was on the field, but I did not see Boley or Thomas.  LB Jake Muasau had a large ice pack taped to his knee area, but he did not appear to be limping, nor did I see the play that might have caused the problem.

I read that the Giants would be in full pads today, but they only played in “uppers”–helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts.  There was still a goodly amount of contact.

RB Da’Rel Scott returned and demonstrated his speed and balance with some power running in the 11 on 11s.

There was kicking but no punting today.  WR Rueben Randle had a quieter day today receiving and managed to muff a kickoff from the jugs gun.  When it came time to make actual kicks, K Lawrence Tynes was booming them out of the end zone.  It is summer and the ball is soft, but that is still impressive.  Tynes also drew cheers from the fans when his thirty yard field goal hit the umbrella that was shading the crane operator.  The crane is about thirty-five feet tall and was directly behind the goalposts.

Getting back to the one on one drill in which Hosley was injured, CB Prince Amukamara made an excellent defense of an Eli Manning pass to WR Jerrel Jernigan and Amukamara also did good job of defending a pass to WR Victor Cruz–no “Cruuuuuzzzz!” for you today.  S Chris Horton stopped a pass to TE Larry Donnell cold, simply by mugging him as the ball arrived.

In a one on one drill, the WR has a big advantage, so you would expect TE Martellus Bennett to catch the pass.  Nevertheless, he made it with speed and enough grace to give us hope that he can make an impact as a receiver.  This is especially true since TEs Christian Hopkins and Adrien Robinson were both dismal today.  Christian Hopkins was covered easily by S Will Hill in the one on ones.  Adrien caught a pass from QB David Carr in the 7 on 7s and then had it immediately stripped.  The next ball to Adrien was in the 11 on 11 and it bounced off his hands.

Happily, TE Bear Pascoe is catching everything in reach.  At one point he had three receptions in a row from Eli Manning in the 7 on 7s.  WR Julian Talley who has had a subdued camp, caught a ball and then dropped it.  He immediately got screamed at by the coaches.  WR David Douglas made a short catch of a Carr pass and would have regretted it in a real game, because he would have been annihilated by S Tyler Sash.  WR Dan DePalma continues to have a good camp and made several good catches today.

The defense had its share of good plays today.  There were a number of plays where they either stopped the runner cold or left nobody open for a pass.  In the words of the voluble defensive coach, “It was all good ‘stuff.’”

At RDE, Jason Pierre-Paul blocked yet another Manning pass in the 11 on 11s.  In that same series, there was a deep deep sideline pass to WR Domenik Hixon.  If he had caught it, it would have been a TD, so Amukamara had no choice but to mug him and break up the pass.

Continuing with the good defensive plays, when Carr could not find anybody open he made a dash for the sideline.  DT Marvin Austin showed good speed to follow him closely all the way across the field.

The best defensive play of the day was the interception of an Eli Manning pass in the 11 on 11s.  It was intended for WR Victor Cruz, but CB Dante Hughes was in good position and picked it off.  He took it about 50 yard for a defensive TD, followed only by the defensive coach, who ran after him screaming at him to “Run it back.”

There have been no fights so far, but S Tyler Sash became visibly upset when RB Andre Brown finished off his run by banging into the backs of two or three defenders who were walking back to the defensive huddle when it was arguable that the play was already over.

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Jul 292012
 
 July 29, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 29, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

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.”

-Vince Lombardi

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.

Horn.

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.

Horn.

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!!

Horn.

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).

Water Break.

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.

Horn.

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!

Horn.

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!

Horn.

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.

Practice ends.

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!

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Jul 292012
 
 July 29, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 29, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

The Sun Shines in Albany (Finally!) and So Does Eli Manning

As a result of the labor strife, it has been two years since I have seen Eli in practice.  What a difference two years have made!  His mechanics have substantially improved.  His passes are more accurate, have tighter spirals and have more zip.  More importantly, his passes, are more uniform and thus more catchable.  He is substantially better at putting the ball only where the intended receiver can catch it. He takes the snap, looks for a receiver and if he does not throw the ball immediately, he looks to the other side of the field and usually finds his receiver within the time allowed by reasonable pass blocking.

In his early career a lot of his passes were not much better than the other guys in camp.  That is no longer true.  The difference in quality between Eli and QB David Carr is far more substantial today than it was two years ago.  Perhaps the biggest difference is that Eli know when NOT to throw the ball.  Yeah, the guy is an elite QB.

The day was sunny, hot and humid.  The Giants were still in shorts with no pads.  Hopefully that will change on Monday.  Reporters like me like to gush over the plays made in training camp.  However, it would be a mistake to make a judgment on a player before seeing the guy make that astounding catch, run, throw, or interception, in full pads, when the guys on the other team can do stuff like block him, tackle him, surreptitiously hang onto his jersey, or “give him the business down there.”

On day one of camp, I thought I saw LB Chase Blackburn doing some long snapping.  I only noticed it because one of the snaps sailed high and P Steve Weatherford had to jump to catch it.  Today, I happened to be near LS Zak DeOssie and he confirmed that Chase is a backup snapper.  Zak expressed confidence in both Chase and in center Jim Cordle.

With RB Da’Rel Scott sidelined, RB David Wilson got lots of opportunities and he made the most of them.  On one running play he came to such a sudden stop that people thought that he might have injured himself.  On another play in the 11 on 11s, QB David Carr threw a pass and it appeared to be tipped by the defense.  Nevertheless, it was Wilson who caught it, and ran it down the field.  Wilson demonstrated a great spin move on one play and on another, where he was blocked up the middle, he bounced it outside.

RBs D.J. Ware and Andre Brown also had their share of runs and catches.  They looked comfortable catching passes and they ran with power.  (See: Paragraph 3, above).  FB Henry Hynoski caught a pass and RB Joe Martinek had a strong run in the 11 on 11s.  As for RB Ahmad Bradshaw, he had a few runs and a catch.  It was obvious that Ahmad has been holding back and maybe testing his wheels, or more accurately, the screws in them.  Today, he ran with a little more speed.  It was good to see.

In the punting drills it is still the usual suspects as returners: WRs Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle, Victor Cruz and CB Jayron Hosley.  K Lawrence Tynes kicked at real goalposts today.  Tynes made all five kicks.  They were not long, but they were very accurate and very powerful.  They all hit the three story camera crane that was positioned dead center behind the posts.  On the third kick, the camera man on top of the crane actually caught the ball to the cheers of the fans, who packed the hill behind the crane.

I must say that DT Linval Joseph is one very huge human.  He makes DE Justin Tuck look small and we all know what a terror Tuck is on defense.  Tuck blocked a Manning pass in the 11 on 11s and the one time I looked, he easily circled around RT David Diehl on a running play up the middle.

Energy!  That is Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s watch word for this season.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul had a fine block of an Eli Manning pass in the first set of 11 on 11s.  In the 7 on 7s, CB Corey Webster had a fine interception of a pass intended for WR Victor Cruz.  Nevertheless, Eli abused Webster all practice, including the very next pass which was caught by WR Rueben Randle.

The competition for third wide receiver continues.  I would have to say that Randle is in the lead with Jerrel Jernigan second and Ramses Barden and Domenik Hixon tied for third.  Of course JJ, Randle and Hixon are all special teams players so let’s make Hixon 3A and Barden 3B.  I would estimate that so far in camp the ratio of throw/receptions have been 3:2:1 to Randle, Jernigan and Hixon/Barden, respectively.

Jerrel is not very tall and I did not expect him to do as well as he is doing.  He has caught a bunch of passes and I really have not seen them go over his head or swatted away by taller defenders.  I am not yet prepared to say that he is better than WR Sinorice Moss was (See: Paragraph 3).  There is still the possibility that Eli is just better at hitting smaller receivers this year than when we had Sinorice.

There was a goal line drill and TE Martellus Bennett finally had a chance to impress.  He leaped and rather easily caught a TD pass from Eli Manning.  Bennett also had another catch today, so perhaps he is on his way.  TE Bear Pascoe still makes the lion’s share of catches and has looked good.

TEs Adrien Robinson, Ryan Purvis, and Christian Hopkins have each had a catch or two in practice as have the many WRs whom I have not mentioned.  Really, nobody has looked bad catching the ball so far (See: Paragraph 3, above.).  Although today, I have to give special mention to WR David Douglas who had a TD in the goal line drill on a pass from QB Ryan Perrilloux and to WR Isaiah Stanback who, had about six catches today.  He is not given much of a chance by many people.  He had one dropped pass today and that probably cancelled out the six that he caught.

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Jul 282012
 
 July 28, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
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.

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Jul 282012
 
 July 28, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 28, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

“Pied Piper Autograph Day” Edition

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by.
—Could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper’s back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council’s bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However he turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
“He never can cross that mighty top!
He’s forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall see our children stop!”
When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain side shut fast.”

- Robert Browning, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

They’re back at Giants camp today, though!

Day 2 of camp, and it’s Autograph Day! The parking lot was nearly full a full hour before camp was supposed to start (though, the players are on the field a 1/2 hour early anyway).

The day starts off gloomy, sort of like reading the Book of Job, or reading Ralph Vacchiano. Speaking of Ralph, here’s his latest gem:

And it makes me wonder why they’re here, risking the lost time, when they have a beautiful indoor practice facility back at the Meadowlands.

Yes they do, Ralph. That nice indoor facility where only reporters and VIP’s can view the team practice.

Of course.

Every year that the Giants have been in Albany, Ralph has complained about the team being here. The NY Press loves to invent reasons why the team will not come back, despite statements from the Owner (John Mara), the Coach (TC) and the Head of PR (Pat Hanlon).

I have a picture of the NY Press from today, when we had a bit of rain:

This team does not play in a dome, Ralph. This team is tough, like it’s coach, like it’s GM, like it’s Owner and the rest of the Front Office. They can go into Green Bay when the temperature feels like it’s 30 below and win.

They don’t bitch about where they play, or the conditions…that’s how you define a professional. And as we know, some of the press are professionals, and some aren’t.

On to what people want to hear about, though…the players!

Ok, today is not going to be a great weather day, it’s going to rain, so we come prepared (Giants umbrella, Large Coffee in our SB42 DD cup, Giants towel). Get to Dutch Quad parking lot, and it’s about full, so the attendance should be good today.

Practice is moved from the lower fields to the LaCross field (John Fallon Field), which is artificial turf, so the players should be safe. My feet are not, though, from all the walking around you have to do now, but that’s fine.

I pick a somewhat dry spot under a tree, behind the endzone (not the stands, which I should have gone to), but have to move out a bit to the right because of people standing in front of me. No problem!

The offense is on my end of the field, so I’ll be doing more with them this report. The QB’s are warming up; it looks like the first string today is Eli, Hynoski, Bradshaw, Bear, Cruz and Hixon, with the line (L-R) of Beatty, Boothe, Baas, Snee and Diehl. Second string has Carr at QB, with Cordle at center. Ryan Perrilloux at QB leads the 3rd string, with White at center, Randle at WR, and Wilson/Martinek at running back. TC runs people in and out, but on average you’ll see the same faces in the same string.

Horn sounds, and now the teams break up. The QB’s are on the sideline, working on center exchanges and shotgun snaps (Baas, Goodin, Boothe and White are the centers). On the main field, we start up with kickoff returns; the returners are Wilson, Randle and Jernigan. Jernigan looks much improved this year, he’s confident and attacks the ball, which is what good returners do.

Meanwhile, Nicks is chatting on the sideline with Corey and Antrel. I’m trying to figure out what they’re laughing about, so let me try my lip reading skills again (Caution, I’m not very good):

Nicks: Trel, you doing a t-shirt on “Where Austin’s Dreds At?”
Rolle: End of the day, you buy it, I’ll make it!!

Horn sounds.

Ok, sprinting happens and the crowd goes wild! I go, “hey, better you than me!”

The pop up tackling dummies come out again. They look like this:

The staff lines them up in 2 rows of 3 across. Then players (first 2, then 3 at the same time) go around the first dummy in their row, then strike the second dummy as they go by it.

Meanwhile, Beckum, Sintim, Canty and Nicks are doing leg lifts in the back of the endzone. No bikes here.

Oh, the defense is dong the same rotation drills I mentioned yesterday.

Horn.

Now it’s the WR’s concentrating on the pop up dummies. The QB’s are doing pitch and catch with the RB’s. The offensive line are doing stance drills on the sideline.

Speaking of the sideline, I see Tuck playing around with the “Ball on the Stick” (see yesterday’s report). Both Rogers and Bernard cast “lean and hungry look” when he does that (thanks, Bard!). Tuck then starts working on his golf swing with the Ball on the Stick. I hear rumbling in the background, but that’s probably Rogers stomach.

Horn sounds.

After a couple of handoffs (Eli to Bradshaw, Ryan to Wilson), the team splits up again. The QB’s are working on sprintout handoffs (technique is important here). The TE’s are using the Shield Pads (looks like a big seat cushion) to work on blocking techniques, and then work on ball safety (trying to knock the ball out of the other guy’s hands). The RB’s are working on ball safety drills with the balls that are attached to big rubber bands. The WR’s are working on catching the ball inbounds on sideline routes…the ball is aimed just before the sidelines, so you need to get your feet right to be in bounds.

Start to notice something? Ball safety and knocking the ball out of the other guy’s hands are be stressed on both sides of the ball.

The WR’s and DB’s now work 1 on 1 (both working on press coverage), while the QB’s are working on curl passes to the RB’s.

Now we have 2 QB’s tossing the ball, one short pass and one long pass. Cruz with a very nice sidelines catch that gets the crowd going. Jernigan with an nice fingertip catch. DePalma with a very nice over the shoulder catch. Bennett shows up with a nice smooth catch.

Horn.

Water Break, then the D and O split off to opposite sides of the field. The Defense is working on position drills, the Offense is working on hand off drills. Then the Offense is running pass routes. Eli a post to Cruz in the endzone, then Bear drops a flag route on the right. Bennett does not drop a flag route to the left.

Horn.

The Offense is going up against the Defense (no pads, though). Eli starts it off with a sack (not a real sack, they just call the play off when he can’t find someone open).

Eli to Ware for a left tackle run. Handoff to Bradshaw for a run up the middle; Play action reverse pivot to Bear. Eli hands off to Ware, left tackle run, then a play-action to Cruz from the slot up the middle. (Crowd goes CRUUUUZE!).

Eli with a play action to Jernigan on the left sideline…nice catch. Then handoff to Brown for an off tackle run. Dump-off to Hopkins up the middle.

Time to get the Carr started, so Carr hands off to Brown for a left tackle run (nice burst of speed). Wilson with a run up to middle (bit of a slip at first, but he recovers). Then handoff to Brown for a left tackle run. Did Austin run Carr out of bounds on the right sideline? I think he did with a nice burst of speed.

Perrilloux comes in at QB, then hands off to Wilson for a right tackle run. Then handoff to Brown for a run up the left side. Wow, Wilson with a 2 cut run up the middle! This guy has quick feet! Perrilloux looks both ways, then throws the ball out of bounds. Overthrows Martinek, who was tightly covered. Martinek takes a handoff and races down the left side will a nice burst. Purvis drops a pass.

Horn. FG time.

Hey a fake FG for a TD! (No, I won’t describe it…) The QB’s are working on corner flag passes from what looks like the 5 yd line. There’s a weird drill I haven’t seen before by the LB’s, where two LB’s are on either side of a guy in a 4 point stance with another guy behind him.

Horn.

7 on 7′s!!! This is fun to watch!

Eli to Hixon. 87 looks good, nice smooth catches. Cruz with a patented curl where he breaks it off and goes up the field. Just classic. Jernigan does a great job driving the CB back, then comes back to Eli for a catch. Wow, next play Jernigan with a nice over the shoulder catch over Corey…he shows wonderful extension (the pass by Eli is elite!). Short pass to Bradshaw, then Cruz with a nice move against Prince on the sidelines. I’m used to Barden leaping over people, but it’s nice to see him doing a sliding catch up the middle! Barden follows up with a nice leap and catch.

Carr time. Hill makes a spirited knock away of a pass to Cruz. Then Carr connects with Jernigan on a slant. His luck runs out as Randle is blanketed by the defense, so Carr then dumps off to Hopkins. Carr then throws a fastball too hot to handle to DePalma. Did Brown bump Robinson? Incomplete. On the next play Stanback makes a very nice catch over Brown.

Ryan’s Hoping to do better, so he’s in. Collins just misses making the play of the day, as he sky highs but just misses a fingertip catch. DePalma makes a catch on the right sideline. Janzen Jackson knocks down a pass to Douglas, then Wilson with a nice leaping grab on the right side.

Horn.

Eli with a sack! Then hands off to Bradshaw on an off tackle left run. Ware with a nice burst off right tackle. Tuck on a zone blitz knocks down a pass to Hynoski. Bradshaw with a right off tackle run. Ware catches a right dump off pass. Prince gets revenge on Barden with a nice defense of a pass. Brown with a nice run from right to left.

Carr Time. Wilson AGAIN with a 2 cut run up the middle! Randle with a catch on the right. Wilson with a left tackle run. Brown takes a shotgun pass…was that a screen??? Wilson with another reception…this guy is quick. Sack. Wilson then takes a run up he middle.

Ryan Perrilloux again. Brown with a run up the middle, then right tackle the next play. Wilson catches a nice dump pass on the right. Ryan takes a sack, but Bennett waves his arms. (I was open!!!) Brown goes off tackle left.

Horn.

Ugh. The rain, which had just about stopped, starts again. But practice continues!

Full Offense Vs Defense.

Eli with another slot pass to Cruz. Bennett almost makes a spectacular one handed catch of a high pass on the right. He can sky! Bradshaw off tackle right.

Get the Carr out. INT by Herzlich on a right sideline pass. Mark was moving on that one! Wilson with an off tackle left run. Sack. Did Wilson just fumble?

Perrilloux is ready. Dump off to Martinek. Wilson’s back out there with an offtackle run left. Martinek with an off-tackle run right.

Practice Ends!

What you didn’t see after practice:

Me!! (well, I stuck around for a few minutes…)

The team split up into groups, with a prayer group in the middle, the RB’s, O Line, D Line, WR’s, The staff moved short fences to one side of the field, then let the kids in. Autographs ensued!!!

And that’s it. The weather should be better tomorrow…hopefully, I’ll get to the lower fields!

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Jul 282012
 
 July 28, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 28, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

DE Justin Trattou Helped Off Field; Rain Spoils Coughlin’s Plans

Well today was rainy and the practice had its share of high and low points.  The lowest is the possible injury to DE Justin Trattou who went down with an ankle injury during the 11 on 11s.  He hopped to the sideline and was helped the rest of the way off the field.  During a drill prior to the injury, Justin had shown outstanding speed, which is why so many people thought that he would be Dave Tollefson’s replacement on the D-line.  On a happier note, the other large Justin, DE Justin Tuck, swatted down an Eli Manning pass and rookie DT Markus Kuhn did the same to QB Ryan Perrilloux at the very end of the practice.

Today, the defense caught up a bit with the offense.  There were a few plays that were stopped before they even started.  Even though the Giants were in shorts and shells, there was a lot more physical contact than yesterday.

P Steve Weatherford practiced catching snaps on the sideline.  He fielded low snaps, high snaps, spirals, and knuckle balls.  He caught them two-handed and he caught them one-handed.  All of it under the watchful eye of K Lawrence Tynes.  Later on, there was a field goal drill and Tynes boomed 5 kicks that would have been good from 45-50 yards.  There were no actual goal posts because the rain (more about that later) forced the team to use the SUNY lacrosse field.  So it was not possible to tell if the kicks were wide or not.  They looked pretty good to me.

In a startling turn around for Coach Couglin, the Giants ran a fake field goal!  Weatherford caught LS Zak DeOssie’s snap and ran with it.

Lawrence Tynes also kicked in the kick-off return drill.  The majority of the run backs were by RB David Wilson and WR Jerrel Jernigan, although WR Rueben Randle had one or two as well.  Maybe because of their size, Wilson and Jernigan do not look like they are running fast, but Randle looks like he is as fast as anyone on the team.  Both FB Henry Hynoski and DT Marvin Austin are on the kick-off return team.  They hold hands (if that is still legal) to form the mid-field blocking wedge.  Trust me, Henry is a lot faster than Marvin, but few tacklers are going to want to tangle with Austin.

Today I got a better look at WR Victor Cruz.  All I can say is he is not the same receiver that I last saw in camp two years ago.  He is slick!  His footwork, his positioning, and his body control are outstanding.  You better have your hands on him when he catches the ball, or he will run away from you.  He caught a pass one-handed during one of the passing drills in front the grandstand.  The crowd positively erupted.  I guarantee that if Cruz is not double covered (or held) on every play, he will not be stopped.

I have wondered just how fast LB Mark Herzlich is.  In one of the drills, he ran perhaps a step ahead of Greg Jones and two steps in front of Spencer Paysinger.  I think that is good news.  Now my only question is about Mark’s judgment.  This is based on his remarkably unflattering Mohawk haircut.  Did he lose a bet to a teammate?

I think that RB David Wilson had an impressive practice.  He is not a big guy and he does not have big arms or big thighs like 195 pound RB Joe Morris did.  I’ll have to go with Wilson having “indian muscles.”  That is kind of an old-fashioned term for having a lot of strength and stamina without having bulging muscles.

He had better be very resilient, because he is going to get knocked around quite a bit.  I wonder about his pass blocking ability and I wonder about his ankles.  It appears that he wears wraps around his ankles, I was told, but can’t confirm, that he had done so Virginia Tech as well.

Today he caught passes that RB Brandon Jacobs can only dream of catching.  He also runs very well after the catch.  His only misstep was a muffed catch of a pitch-out in the 11 on 11s.  I could not tell if it was an incomplete pass, or a live ball (lateral).  Wilson also got a bunch of hand offs and that is where his agility really shows.  On one run he made three cuts in about five yards.  He has tremendous balance as well.  The rest of the RBs also had a good practice.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw is not even trying to run at full speed yet.  He does not have to.  He looks comfortable running and that is fine with me.  On one play he ran about five yard in traffic, then bounced mid-air chest-to-chest with a LB, kept his balance and continued running down the field.

The Giants have an interesting RB drill.  The football is attached to a long and heavy rubber band.  The other end is attached to a player sitting on the ground.  The running back takes the football under his arm and sees how far he can stretch the rubber band while still holding onto the ball.

In terms of catching the ball, I have seen nothing from RBs Henry Hynoski, D.J. Ware, or Andre Brown that I can complain about.

It was very clear today why QB David Carr is the back-up quarterback.  He is a better ball handler, more accurate, and most of all is better a finding open receivers than Ryan Perrilloux.  Ryan hesitated frequently before he pulled the trigger on his passes.

It rained this morning so the Giants could not use the practice fields.  They used Fallon Field where the SUNY team plays lacrosse.  It is astroturf and quite springy.  Never-the-less, the Coach was not happy about having to change his plans.

This morning, I figured that Tom would try to get the practice in by starting ahead of the scheduled 1:30 PM time so I arrived at 1:00 to a slight drizzle.  The team had already been on the field for a quarter of an hour.  Although it was cloudy and threatening, the rain held off until 3:10.  That dampened the enthusiasm of the autograph hungry crowd, but TC kept the team on the field until 3:30.

This is not the first time that Coach Coughlin has managed to get in his practice just ahead of the rain.  I can only think of two or three times during Tom’s entire tenure with the team that he has lost a practice to the rain.  There are three possibilities, Tom is either smart, or lucky, or has made a pact with the devil.

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Jul 272012
 
 July 27, 2012  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
July 27, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

“Call of the Wild” Camp Opening

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck…He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time. He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.

Jack London, The Call of the Wild

(He was talking about the Rookies partying before Camp opens, methinks)

The Champs are back! Today is the first day of camp, 2012! Great News! I was watching Audibles on ESPN last night, and Marcellus Wiley had the Giants as high as FOURTH in the NFC EAST, after winning the Super Bowl! Does it get any better than that?

For those of you new to this camp report, I’m JohnF (not Marty the Amazing, who is everywhere and sees everything!). It’s a bit different, as I’m an old Arena League guy; more than 3 linemen make me dizzy! Oh, and if you’ve heard some of the jokes before, remember it’s good for the Earth to recycle things!

Time to fire up the Accord, take I90 from Schenectady to Albany, stop at the Western Avenue Dunkin Doughnuts for some refreshment, and motor on to Camp Scooby Doo. I might have to call it Camp Nanotech, though, pretty soon, as there is an amazing amount of money and construction going on just for that.

The weather looked miserable this morning, but it’s cleared up, cloudy with the Sun poking through at times..low ’80′s with no rain is a good start! Let’s go!

Oh, and I’ll warn you ahead of time…this report will suck. Couldn’t help it, I got paged from work (long story), and had to fix something remotely, but I was prepared…the Virgin Mobile Mifi WORKED!

Wow, they really tore SUNY up. There are new construction fences all over the place. I don’t think it’s for the Foreign Language students though (another long story). I didn’t see the new stadium construction on Field 1 for the UA football team that’s currently in America East (CoughCoughLookslikethey’removingtotheColonialLeagueCough).

Practice is not on the lower field, they apparently moved it to the current football stadium:

There’s good and bad here…nice seats, but I had a good portion of my view blocked by the PEAKED UA tent on the sideline. Bah.

Got there late as well (I was lucky to get out of work today). Got there at 1:15, which is supposed to be plenty of time, but of course Tom has the players out early.

So, I park at Dutch quad, get my “All Sessions Pass” for $15 (beats having to pay $5 a day). Of course, I’m paying the same price for roughly HALF the camps they used to have…thank you NFL/NFLPA.

Puff, Puff, hustle down to the stands. I’m on the side near where the players come in (if you’re sitting in the stands, near the right end). Punt returns (no coverage) are the order of the day, with Hosley, Hixon, Randle, Jernigan and Cruz taking turns. Weatherford looks good, and so do the return guys, though it’s really not at full speed. The QB’s are at the left end of the field, doing footwork drills.

The Defense is by my end, and I see Canty talking to Austin, laughing. I’ll try and do some lip reading, though I’ll warn you, I’m not too acurate:

Canty: Rook, where your dreads?
Austin: Dorm poker games are rough, you know?

Horn sounds, and we go through a whole series of stretches. A lot of them. Oh, and is there anyone left in NJ?? I don’t remember seeing more support staff on the field than the players. Wow!

Beckum and Sintim are behind the endzone, doing leg crunches. Canty was the only guy I saw on the Bike, doing the “Tour de Albany.”

Horn sounds again. More Punt Returns with Jernigan, Randle and Hixon. No sign of Hicks. Or Nicks. One of the punts wanders to the sideline, and nearly hits JPP, who puts his hands up and moves away. (“Not MY Job, Mon!)

Speaking of the defense, I’m not sure who’s bigger, Bernard or Rogers. Rogers looks smaller, but Rocky got blowed up. They certainly will make running up the middle harder. Also, I doubt any hot dogs get past the line.

Austin’s a bit chunky, but he’s built like a fire plug. It should be interesting to see his first real action. Hopefully, he’s not related to Sampson.

Osi looks like a kid out there compared to the big guys, but he looks fast again. So does Tuck. I know they are huge close up, but my word, Bernard and Rogers are space eaters.

Kiwi’s hanging with the LB’s, if you’re wondering.

Horn.

Serious drills start. I’m not close to the offense, but I am to the defense.

(No, I did NOT mean it that way!! Shame on you!)

The Defense is split up into 4 groups, LB’s, CB’s, Safeties and Linemen. Each group rotates around in a clockwise direction. The coaches stay in the 4 cardinal points, and instruct the players to do fumble recovery, striping the ball over the outside shoulder, striping the ball by reaching underneath the player’s grip, or trying to intercept the ball. When you rotate the whole circle, you do all the drills. And they are going full speed!

The offensive linemen on the other side are doing traditional stepping over pylons drills. The QB’s are doing dump offs or hand-offs to the various RB’s, TE’s, WR’s.

Water break, and the defense starts other drills. The D Line is running over pylons (sideways, like they are going down the line), then tackle an inflatable dummy. JPP just explodes in these drills…you can hear the impact from him hitting over 100 feet away!

Oh, and they pull out the “Ball on a stick” drill. You can make your OWN joke with that one, boys and girls!

Coach holds ball on a stick, to simulate the snap for four D Linemen. When he moves the stick, they burst out of their 3-point stance and sprint to the endzone. Well, not Rogers, he’s fast for about 5 feet, then jogs. I don’t expect to see a JPP down-the-field tackle, or zone blitz, from him.

The QB’s (Eli, Carr and Perrilloux) are doing dump offs. Hixon looks good, is doing his cuts without any problems. Isaiah Stanback (18) intrigues me…he made some nice catches, still needs work on his cuts, but has a presence out there. I’m keeping an eye on him.

Oh, and Martellus Bennett is NOT fat. He’s just big. And built. And he’s going to be a load as a blocker.

Horn. Eli starts, and first Cruz and then Barden make catches that drew raves from the crowd (my view was blocked by the tent, darn it!).

Then work calls. Sigh. I have to save lives (at least today…the rest of the next two weeks I’m free!! YESSS!)

Much later after missing most of the passing drills), Jake Muasau makes a diving interception off of Perrilloux (ball bounced off the WR’s hands). Got glimpses of Ware, Brown and Bradshaw taking dump offs (hey Ahmad, I know long shorts are de rigueur since Jordan, but they really shouldn’t hit your socks. Seriously, get them shortened!).

Horn sounds, and now we have either KO or PR where the runner just takes the ball in the endzone from the coach, and has to avoid two players. Jernigan, Bing, Wilson and Randle do their thing.

Practice ends. Sorry for the quality, I’m a bit rusty. Things should look better tomorrow! (Autograph Day!)

Things you didn’t see after practice ends:

Unusual spot for the TC presser. It was in back of the end zone, up on a stand with the blue Giants/Toyota background.

Coach Pope was hanging with the TE’s after practice, talking. Bennett looked either very serious, or miffed. He did give a thumbs up and a small smile to the crowd later. The TE’s did some after-practice sprints (sideline to sideline).

Stanback and another guy were doing more pitch-and-catch after practice.

Coach Fewell was also doing pitch-and-catch with his two kids after practice (well,I think they were his kids). One had a #33 Fewell blue giants shirt.

Autographs were by the fence, and the players stayed there a while.

Where was Pat Hanlon? I kept looking for him. I’ll do the fashion thing with him tomorrow, then!

Guys looked good today. I’m crossing my fingers, we got a really good bunch if we can get them all on the field!

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