Aug 092010
 August 9, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 9, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Shaun O’Hara & Kenny Phillips Return to Practice; Corey Webster Excels

Head Coach Tom Coughlin must have been happy. Not only did he see the return to practice of C Shaun O’Hara, the leader of his offensive line, and S Kenny Phillips, a player who had rapidly been developing into an NFL star prior to his knee injury, but he finally got the hot weather he wanted. It was in the 80s and the strong sun made it seem much hotter. The Giants were in helmets, shorts and shells, so that may have given them a bit of relief.

O’Hara practiced pretty much as if he had never been injured, while Phillips was more limited. He was only in for a few plays in the 11 on 11s, before he was yanked. I’m guessing that the Giants want to see if there is any swelling or soreness before they let him practice more vigorously. C Adam Koets is still second string behind O’Hara and OT Guy Whimper is still filling in for LG Rich Seubert.

OT David Diehl is still the starter at LT and William Beatty is behind him. Beatty gave us a scare when he went down in the 11 on 11s and walked off the field slowly accompanied by some trainers. Apparently, he took a poke in the eye. He was back in practice about ten minutes later.

There were some kickoff return drills. HB D.J. Ware, HB Andre Brown, and WR Duke Calhoun each caught and ran back two kicks from the goal line. As I mentioned before, I don’t think Brown is up to full speed or full power yet.

Duke Calhoun has made a few nice catches and he has a good amount of speed. As with WR Victor Cruz, Duke is somewhat shorter than the roster indicates. Calhoun is about the same height as WR Derek Hagan, who is 6-2, while Cruz is clearly under 6-0 rather than the 6-1 height listed in the roster.

In addition to punt returns, the Giants practiced kickoffs after a safety. (A free kick from the 20 yard line.) In the past, the Giants would tee the ball up at the 20 and the kicker would kick the ball. However, this morning, P Matt Dodge punted the ball (without a snap) as is permitted by the rules. Matt got good distance with his first effort, but apparently his timing was off and his later tries were not as pretty or as deep.

  1. After a safety, if the ball is kicked from a tee and it goes out of bounds without being touched, is it a penalty and the ball placed at the 40 yard line?
  2. Is there a penalty for punting the ball out of bounds after a safety?
  3. Can you have an on-side kick after a safety?

There will be a test on this later on.

In the 11 on 11s, CB Corey Webster made a tumbling one handed pass defense of a QB Eli Manning intended for WR Ramses Barden. Later, in the 7 on 7s, Webster made a fine interception of a deep QB Eli Manning pass that was either under-thrown or not thrown soon enough, (because Webster had to wait for the ball to arrive).

Later, in the 11 on 11s, Webster victimized Ramses Barden again when he defensed another Eli Manning pass. Next, Corey made yet another fine pass defense of a Manning pass; this one intended for WR Mario Manningham. It would seem that Corey is not ready to relinquish his star CB billing to Terrell Thomas.

Although the players were only in shells, the hitting was brisk and the play a bit more urgent as the 11 on 11 drills included keeping track of down and distance along with a game clock and the 35 second buzzer, which went off multiple times prior to the ball being snapped.

Some of the best receptions were made by WRs who have little chance of making the roster. WR Tim Brown made a diving side line catch in traffic on a QB Jim Sorgi throw and another one over the middle from QB Rhett Bomar. WR Victor Cruz turned on a burst of speed to catch a ball out that was thrown out of bounds and made a fine over-the-shoulder catch of a deep pass from Rhett Bomar.

Bomar got away with throwing the ball into triple coverage on a reception made by TE Bear Pascoe. FB Jerome Johnson continues his impressive camp by making two receptions in a row of Sorgi passes.

The defense made its share of plays this morning, including DT Chris Canty knocking down another Manning pass at the line of scrimmage.

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Aug 072010
 August 7, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 7, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Nicks & Tynes Excel at Evening Practice

The 6:05 PM practice start gave the Giants additional time to recover from their morning practice. It also gave the sun an opportunity to get low enough to just about blind everyone on the side line trying to see what was going on. I apologize for any details that I might have missed.

The Giants were in “uppers” – helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts – so the play was rougher than this morning. I tend to think that this favors the defense. Many times the defense would smother a ball carrier in the backfield, or get penetration and have a virtual sack despite the pass completed afterwards. Both offense and defense seemed to be enthusiastic about the practice and a lot of players found themselves on the ground despite Coach Tom Coughlin’s desire to keep everyone upright.

There was some jawing that was going on between CB Bruce Johnson and WR Derek Hagan. After that it did not look like Bruce held back at all in hitting Derek. He knocked him out of bounds the next time the ball came Derek’s way. Johnson absolutely nailed WR Ramses Barden taking him to the ground and landing on top of him on a side line reception. By the way, I’d say that Barden has significantly increased his upper body strength since last season.

I am pleased to report that OT Guy Whimper was back at practice this evening. He, OG Mitch Petrus, and OT William Beatty got a lot of work with the starting team. OL Cliff Louis, the replacement for the injured/waived OG Rueben Riley also wears Riley’s jersey number: 64.

WR Hakeem Nicks started off slow. He caught a wobbly pass from QB Eli Manning and sort of trotted down the side line with it when for some reason, there was no defender in the vicinity. Later, in the 11 on 11s, he took a short toss from Eli and ran all the way down the left side line with it. It was reminiscent of a similar TD he scored last season. Two plays later, Nicks caught a deep TD pass down the middle of the field thrown by QB Jim Sorgi. Nicks had several other catches and is starting to look healthy.

WR Mario Manningham had a pair of side line catches from QB Jim Sorgi in the two minute drill. Sorgi got the ball down to the twenty before time expired, completing five passes with no incompletions.

In the 11 on 11s, DT Linval Joseph was all over HB Brandon Jacobs in the backfield and LB Keith Bulluck nearly intercepted a pass intended for TE Bear Pascoe. S Michael Johnson had an excellent pass defense of an Eli Manning pass in the goal line drill. S John Busing had a sure interception of a Jim Sorgi pass bounce off his hands in the 11 on 11s. HB Andre Brown was smothered in the backfield more than once.

In the 7 on 7s, CB Terrell Thomas had a pass defense on WR Ramses Barden. The pass from Eli was right on the money to Barden and I don’t really know how he did not catch it.

K Lawrence Tynes kicked five of six field goals. The longest were 38, 44, and 48 yards. He missed a short one. It may well have been a poor snap. By my count, Lawrence is now 20 for 21 despite the new holder. Tynes continues to use a two-step-then-kick approach to the ball.

There was punting at the beginning of the practice. P Matt Dodge seems to get off excellent punts when the snap is good, but if it is low, or he catches it too close to his body, his timing is thrown off. The usual suspects were catching punts: WR Tim Brown, S Antrel Rolle and CB Aaron Ross.

Brown again had the best run back with his “water bug” moves, but Rolle and Ross had the most fun. I’m fairly certain that the two of them cooked up this razzle-dazzle play. If I remember the proper order, Ross caught the punt, then ran to his left and gave it to Rolle on a reverse. They both continued in opposite directions when Rolle pulled up and threw a 25 yard lateral back to Ross. I can’t be certain that it was not a forward pass, but I am sure that most of the people at the practice were smiling at the play.

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Aug 072010
 August 7, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 7, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

An Entertaining Practice

If you are a fan, some practices are more entertaining than others. Today was one of the best. The skies were clear blue. There was no humidity and temperatures were in the high seventies. The Giants were in shorts and shells, so the hitting was comparatively light, but that did not diminish the entertainment value.

The Giants were practicing on one of the upper fields. It has a hill right behind it whose slope serves as a natural amphitheater. The hill was packed with fans. QB Eli Manning and the other quarterbacks were conducting a passing drill not twenty yards away from the chainlink fence that separates the practice field from the hill. The drill was simple. The receivers ran routes and the quarterbacks hit them in stride. The majority of these fans will never get closer to an Eli Manning pass or to a Giants receiver making a catch.

Other squads were practicing special teams drills further away, but the crowd remained transfixed on Eli and the receivers. The beat writers did not pay much attention to the drill – nor should they have – because there were no defenders involved. I only paid attention because of the crowd reaction. After every reception the fans clapped and gave the player an appreciative cheer. You did not have to be a football expert to understand what was going on. They groaned when, I believe WR Victor Cruz, dropped a short pass. They groaned louder when he dropped the very next pass as well. Later, when the QBs had to move all the way down to the other end of the field where the TV cranes are located, the fans all booed in disappointment.

It was only during the early passing drill that I got a chance to see the newest Giant: receiver Nyan (rhymes with Ryan) Boateng, 6-1, 207. He wears number 2 and he replaces WR Adam Jennings, who apparently did not pan out as a punt returner. Boateng has a smooth stride and he caught a few passes in the early drill without any difficulty. I did not see him participate later on in any of the 7 on 7s or 11 on 11s. He probably needs to take a crash course in the play book first.

Speaking of punt returners, CB Aaron Ross and little WR Tim Brown each caught a few punts. Each made a run back. Ross’ run back was good, but Brown’s drew loud cheers because of his ability to make very quick cuts.

There was also kickoff drill. I saw HBs Andre Brown and D.J. Ware making the catches. More interesting was the fact that K Lawrence Tynes was taking only two steps before he kicked the ball instead of a much longer run up. It appeared that even with only two steps he got the ball down to the goal line, or a few yards in front of it. The kicks had a reasonable amount of height, but they would have been outstanding if they were higher.

The Giants worked on special teams a lot this morning and I heard LB Adrian Tracy and DT Linval Joseph getting praise from the various coaches.

Some people will say that the trophy we gave to WR Steve Smith jinxed him. He did not practice although I saw him catching passes from the jugs gun.

With C Shaun O’Hara and OG Rich Seubert not playing, the starting offensive line was LT David Diehl, LG Guy Whimper, C Adam Koets, RG Chris Snee, and RT Kareem McKenzie. Unfortunately, Whimper might have gotten nicked up in the goal line drill at the end of the practice. We’ll see if he practices this afternoon. It also appears the Adam Koets is continuing to work on his shotgun snaps. They are not yet consistent, but they are no longer so steeply angled as to risk going over the QB’s head.

HB D.J. Ware continues to get a lot of reps both running and receiving and I can’t wait to see how he does in a real game. However, he did get chewed out by a coach for running in the wrong direction on a play. He was not alone in getting helpful criticism. QB Jim Sorgi made a mistake and was corrected in loud and colorful language.

WR Ramses Barden made a fine catch of a deep side line pass from Eli Manning in the 11 on 11s. WR Mario Manningham practiced. He had some catches including a deep one from Eli Manning and some that he got close to, but I do not believe that he is running full tilt yet. I say this because Mario does not seem to be getting the separation from defenders that he has gotten in the past.

Shortly after Manningham’s deep catch, CB Corey Webster made a fine interception and ran it back to the goal line. This was followed by a wonderfully executed pass and catch from Eli to WR Tim Brown. The pass was perfect. It had to be, because it had to get over a defender and be caught by the diminutive Brown.

QB Rhett Bomar also got intercepted in the 11 on 11s. In a lapse of judgment, Rhett threw into triple coverage. It was a deep pass down the middle intended for TE Bear Pascoe (who continues to do well in camp). Rhett was smacking his helmet in disgust even before the ball was picked off by S Sha’reff Rashad.

S Deon Grant did not practice so S Michael Johnson filled in on the starting defensive team. DE Jason Pierre-Paul made some good penetration and was all over Eli Manning in the 11 on 11s and DT Rocky Bernard blocked a QB Jim Sorgi pass in the goal line drill. In that drill, Sorgi had an easy TD completion to TE Scott Chandler while Eli got a TD on a diving catch made by HB Andre Brown.

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Aug 052010
 August 5, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 5, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Four Aces & Rolle Wrap Up Practice with Eighty Yard Interception

Okay, last things first: the Giants played in full pads for the first time and both offense and defense had their moments. The best moment for the defense came at the end of the practice in the two minute drill.

QB Eli Manning had moved the starters down to about the thirty yard line and called time out with fifteen seconds left on the clock. The defense sent in a defensive line of DEs Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora, and Dave Tollefson. When Eli dropped back to pass, two linebackers blitzed Eli.

I don’t know who the intended receiver was, but S Antrel Rolle intercepted the ball at what looked like the 20 yard line and Antrel took off like a shot straight down the field. Nobody chased him past the 50, but he continued to run the full 80 yards to the opposite goal. He covered the 80 yards with amazing speed.

Consider that Rolle’s interception and run came at the very end of the second practice of the day. I think it is fair to say that Rolle is doing exactly what Coach Tom Coughlin expects from this savvy veteran: leadership by example. If, when we acquired Rolle (and paid him a bundle of cash) you were wondering if he had anything left in the tank, I think Antrel answered your question this evening.

LB Keith Bulluck is another savvy veteran and I had a chance to watch him this evening. What I saw was a guy who looks to be in very good shape and is speedy and agile on the field. Whether he knows the playbook and whether his surgical knee will permit him to hit with power are questions for another day. Probably after a few preseason contests.

As with the morning practice, WR Sinorice Moss managed to catch just about everything thrown his way, including a sliding catch of a flea-flicker pass from Eli Manning. Sinorice probably had as many catches as WRs Steve Smith, Ramses Barden, and Hakeem Nicks combined. Nicks made several catches and looks to be okay.

TE Kevin Boss started the session running gingerly, but he made several catches including a nice sliding catch. He had no drops and looked much better than yesterday.

I’m always pleased when HB Brandon Jacobs makes a catch and has no drops during a practice. Jacobs even cut back when his path was blocked at the line of scrimmage on a hand off from Eli. HB Ahmad Bradshaw looks like he has no trouble cutting and he seems to cut multiple times on every run. I continue to be impressed by HB D.J. Ware’s speed and power.

P Matt Dodge had about a dozen and a half punts this evening. I think that he improves with every practice. He is catching the snap and getting the ball to his foot in a much smoother more efficient motion. Unfortunately, LB Zak DeOssie was not having a good day snapping the ball. It seemed to me that when the snap was low, say at thigh level, Dodge’s kicks were also low and when the snaps were high, say at helmet level, then the kicks were high and short. However, when the snaps came in at chest level, that is when Dodge hit the high arching punts that turned over and bore into the wind.

DeOssie’s bad snaps continued for the field goal attempts of K Lawrence Tynes. His first snap to was wildly off line and uncatchable. There was at least one other bad snap, but Dodge (the holder) managed to get the rest of the snaps down for Tynes’ kicks. Tynes was successful on all 7 of his kicks. By my estimation the kicks were from distances of 28, 30, 35, 35, 35, 38, and 42 yards. He was kicking into the wind and he kicked from both the left and right hash marks.

Throughout the practice, the quarterbacks continued to make accurate throws that were completed, but on many occasions, the defense had already penetrated the offensive line and would have disrupted the throw or gotten a sack.

Let me mention a few players that I have not said a lot about. WR Derek Hagan continues to make excellent catches. He has size, speed, and grace and is having a terrific camp. He made an outstanding tumbling catch on a deep side line pass from QB Rhett Bomar in the 11 on 11s.

FB Jerome Johnson continues to show that he is a skillful receiver.

In the 11 on 11s, DE Dave Tollefson got into the backfield and would have smothered HB Andre Brown for a five yard loss. DT Nate Collins managed to get into the backfield shortly thereafter.

LB Bryan Kehl made an excellent pass defense in the 7 on 7s drill, although it was not as good as spectacular as CB Terrell Thomas’ leaping one-handed pass defense of an Eli Manning pass to Steve Smith in the two minute drill. Thomas continues to make play after play at CB. It may well be that CB Aaron Ross will be competing with CB Corey Webster for a starting spot rather than with Thomas.

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Aug 052010
 August 5, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 5, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Barden, Moss, and Pascoe get Opportunity to Shine

I woke up this morning to a heavy downpour, but like any Giants fan, I am nothing if not an optimist. Camp is about ten miles south of my house so I was hoping that it would be drier there.

By the time I arrived, the rain had stopped. It was cool, overcast, and muggy. Practice was postponed 30 minutes to let the field dry off a bit.

The Giants were in “uppers” – helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts – so the hitting was brisk. In the drills closest to me, Safeties Coach Dave Merritt was working with the safeties on having two defenders taking on a carrier to prevent the ball carrier from splitting them. It is very embarrassing when two defensive players collide with each other and take themselves out of the play. Eventually, Merritt got around to having the defensive linemen and linebackers work on this drill too.

There was also a punt return drill. WR Sinorice Moss, CB Aaron Ross, and S Antrel Rolle were taking turns catching punts from the jugs gun. Sometimes they just practiced catching the ball and sometimes it was a full-scale run-back against the defensive team. Sinorice had a fine run-back, cutting to his left and going down the side line. Ross, who had been making his practice catches in a rather nonchalant manner, had his legs go out from under him on the damp grass when he tried to cut. He was very upset when he got up and you could not tell if he had hurt is leg. He was back on the field a short time later.

With C Shaun O’Hara still not on the field, C Adam Koets remains the starting center, but I did not see any other changes in either the offensive or defensive starters.

With WR Hakeem Nicks and WR Mario Manningham not playing this morning, WR Sinorice Moss and WR Ramses Barden got to play with the starters. Moss made a bunch of catches and also took a handoff from Eli on an end around play in which he cut up the right side line for what would have been a long gain. The only negative play – and this may symbolize the reason why Moss is not a star – was a very short pass from QB Rhett Bomar to Moss over the middle. Perhaps it was a bit high and a bit hard, but it bounced off Sinorice’s up-stretched hands and into the arms of CB Seth Williams for one of the practice’s two interceptions.

Seth Williams, unlike most of the Giants D, has shoulder length Troy Polamalu-like hair that pours out of the back of his helmet and obscures his name on his jersey. Earlier in the practice, Seth took a poke in the eye from a stiff arm administered by either FB Madison Hedgecock or HB D.J. Ware. It was an inadvertent poke, but with the regular shoulder pads on, the runners were running a lot harder and the defense was not letting them run by untouched. That poke in the eye amped up Seth’s intensity for the rest of the practice.

Speaking of running backs, HB Brandon Jacobs continues to run with speed and he caught both of the passes that I saw thrown to him. FB Madison Hedgecock, not known for his hands, managed to catch two of three balls. The ball that he missed was right to him and he absolutely botched the catch. In my opinion, the miss more indicative of Madison’s receiving skills. Nevertheless, if Madison can go back to run blocking they way he did two years ago, then his receiving skills will be irrelevant.

HB D.J. Ware, HB Gartrell Johnson, and HB Andre Brown got to carry the ball, too. Ware has power, speed, and elusiveness. Gartrell is about as fast and powerful as Ware, but not as elusive. I’ll wait a while before I comment on Andre Brown other than to say that he is a reliable receiver.

In the 7 on 7 drills, S Antrel Rolle made the second interception of the practice when he corralled an errant pass from QB Jim Sorgi. The ball might have slipped out of Sorgi’s hand because I did not notice a receiver nearby. Bomar continues to throw strong accurate balls, but he is still too slow to find his receivers.

As mentioned before, with the increased hitting intensity, there were many times when the defense got into the backfield to “sack” the quarterback or smother the running back. Also, it is clear that the Giants are still waiting for a player to step up and demonstrate that he can adequately fill in for C Shaun O’Hara. Many of the center snaps were poorly executed this morning.

TE Kevin Boss did not practice. It is possible that his poor play yesterday is the result of Kevin not being 100 percent healthy. In any case, with Kevin and TE Travis Beckum not practicing, it gave TE Scott Chandler and TE Bear Pascoe additional opportunities. I believe they each made a catch, but for what ever reason, they did not get a lot of balls thrown their way.

WR Ramses Barden caught a number of passes this morning. The most interesting was a pass from QB Jim Sorgi in the 11 on 11s. Barden was running down the field about a yard from the sideline. The defender was ahead of him and perhaps a yard closer to the middle of the field. Sorgi’s pass was under-thrown and heading out of bounds. Barden reached over with his longs arms and caught the ball at waist height just as it was crossing the side line and hauled it in to his body. His arms are so long that he did not have to change direction. He just caught the ball and continued to run straight down the sideline. I have never seen a catch like that.

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Aug 032010
 August 3, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 3, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Tynes Delivers the Goods

I am pleased to announce that the Giants got through their first five practices in threatening, but dry weather. However, I returned home to a drenching rain. I am also pleased to announce that CB Corey Webster returned to practice apparently no worse for wear.

After teasing us at the morning practice by appearing in a kick off return drill, K Lawrence Tynes returned to the field this afternoon to show us that he can kick field goals, too. By my count he skewered the uprights from distances of 20, 28, 28, 32, 34, 34, 40, and 47. No misses. He kicked from both the left and right hash marks.

There was a quartering wind of about 15mph, which aided his distance, but also strongly pushed the ball to his left. Combine this with the retirement of his trusty holder Jeff Feagles, (now replaced by rookie punter Matt Dodge) and Dodge’s lack of work with long snapper Zak DeOssie and suddenly the “no misses” takes on greater significance. Granted some of the longer kicks were not pretty. One of them actually spun horizontally instead of vertically, but a score is a score. There is no bonus for style points when you kick field goals.

The wind that I mentioned must have been a factor in the poor completion results that I saw in the one on one drill. Perhaps it was also a carryover of defensive enthusiasm from this morning’s practice, but QB Eli Manning could not buy a completion. With no rush on the QB, a one on one drill should be a cakewalk for any receiver. Not today. TE Kevin Boss was the worst offender. The ball was thrown to him at least five times. None were caught. Some of them were uncatchable. Boss also fell down a lot. He never looked like he and Eli were in sync. If any receiver on the Giants ought to be in sync with Eli Manning it is the 6-7 Boss.

S Sha’reff Rashad made a fine pass defense in the one on ones.

Eli had no better luck throwing to WR Hakeem Nicks. Eli completed a well executed fifteen yard out pattern to a diving Nicks right in front of me. Nicks was covered by CB Terrell Thomas and it was obvious that Terrell was not pleased. On the next play Eli tried to twist the knife in a little deeper. He sent Nicks deep down the left side of the field on a fly pattern, but Thomas stepped in front of Nicks and made a fine “in your face Eli” interception of the pass.

Later, in the 7 on 7s, Thomas and S Deon Grant were all over Nicks defensing a deep pass from Eli Manning. Then, Thomas defensed a QB Rhett Bomar pass to WR Duke Calhoun. Thomas went on to victimize WR Victor Cruz on a short over the middle pass from Bomar. Bomar did complete a nice right side line pass to Nicks.

Terrell’s heroics must have stirred the competitive instincts of CB Aaron Ross, because on the next play Ross tapped a Bomar pass up into the air and then made a diving, sliding interception of it. It was a tour de force of a CB’s skills.

For those still interested, OG Rich Seubert did some more work at center, but also played at LG with the starters. There was also a line up of Beatty, Diehl, and Seubert at LT, LG and C, respectively with Eli Manning and the rest of the starters.

WR Sinorice Moss continued to make catches. TE Jake Ballard dropped a pass he should have caught.

Lineman alert: DT Chris Canty slapped a Manning pass into the air at the line of scrimmage. It fell incomplete. I did not really see who made the block, but I saw Canty take credit for it, so I guess it was him.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul, playing on the left side made a nifty lateral move to his right to slice into the backfield in the 11 on 11s. DE Osi Umenyiora got around end so fast he was already ten yards past Eli before Eli finally decided that throwing the ball would just be a sham, so he ended the play.

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Aug 032010
 August 3, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 3, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Giants’ D Does Not Back Down

If Head Coach Tom Coughlin expected the “dog days” of summer to sweat the off-season out of his team, he must be disappointed so far. The first four practices have been under overcast skies with 70 degree temperatures. Trust me, the fans and beat writers love it. There is a good chance that the cool temperatures will continue for this afternoon’s practice, but by Thursday, both the sun and temps approaching ninety degrees should reappear.

The biggest scare of the day came at the end of practice and involved CB Corey Webster. The Giants were in a 4 minute, 11 on 11 drill starting at the 30 yard line. On the first play, QB Eli Manning dropped back and threw a bomb down the middle intended for WR Steve Smith.

Webster and another defender were all over Smith. All three went up for the ball and all three came down higgledy-piggledy. Smith got up holding the ball. Webster stayed down and was in obvious discomfort. The trainers rushed out to him. They looked at his leg and after half a minute-a long half minute for Coach Coughlin and the team – they picked him up and he walked on his own over to the sidelines without so much as a grimace. Whew!

During the first part of practice, the offense was practicing on its own and they tried an option pass where the ball was lateraled to WR Derek Hagan, who then threw it down field to WR Sinorice Moss. The play worked in the drill. I wondered if it would be used in the 11 on 11s. It was. QB Rhett Bomar handed the ball to Hagan on a reverse. Hagan pulled up, looked down field and threw it to Moss.

That was poor judgment, by Hagen. Moss was well covered and in the struggle, the ball fell incomplete. It could easily have been another of today’s interceptions. As good a camp as Moss is having – and he held onto just about everything that came his way this morning and yesterday afternoon – he is not going to win many jump ball competitions.

Even if the play had worked to perfection, I doubt that Coughlin would try it in a game. Coughlin is not known for using trick plays. Nevertheless, it is appropriate for practice, since our defense may see it from another team. Coach Coughlin gives the appearance of a man who believes that you succeed as the result of dedication and hard work. Trick plays might strike him as trying to get something for nothing.

HB Ahmad Bradshaw rather than HB Brandon Jacobs took the first handoff in the 11 on 11s, and he ran down the left sideline with more speed than in the earlier practices. That is a good sign. Then, Moss caught a pair of passes followed by TE Bear Pascoe.

OT William Beatty was at LT and OT David Diehl was at LG. With C Shaun O’Hara still nursing a sore ankle, C Adam Koets filled in at C with the starters and OG Rich Seubert got some center snaps with the reserves. Shotgun snaps from Koets are an adventure. They are at too high an angle. If the QB is standing one pace too far away from center, the snap will go over his head. C Jim Cordle does a much better job with the shotgun snaps. They arrive chest high and in a hurry.

Although the team was still wearing shorts and shells today, it seemed to me that the defense was getting more aggressive stopping the run, defending the pass, and just out-hustling the offense. In the 11 on 11s QB Rhett Bomar threw a deep pass to WR Derek Hagan. It was hard to tell whether it was a poor throw or a lack of separation by Hagan, but S Michael Greco intercepted it and ran it back to the goal line to the plaudits of his defensive colleagues.

Bomar’s then completed a side line pass to WR Victor Cruz. CB Courtney Brown was right there to make the tackle. This was the case with many of the completions. The defender was right there to limit the yards after catch.

K Lawrence Tynes finally made an appearance. He was kicking off to WRs Sinorice Moss and Adam Jennings, and HB D.J. Ware. Moss got three tries and the others got two. The ball was kicked from the 45 yard line. Clearly, this was not a test of Tynes’ leg, but just a way of getting the returners a consistent ball to catch at the goal line and to see how well they could avoid defenders. All three returners have sufficient foot speed to return KOs. However, my position on the sideline prevented me from judging how elusive the returners were.

In the 7 on 7s, Brandon Jacobs ran down the right sideline and made a fluid waist high catch while in full stride of an Eli Manning toss. He would make OC Kevin Gilbride’s dreams come true if he could duplicate that catch during the season. I wish I could say the same for HB Gartrell Johnson. Gartrell is a very hard runner, but at this point he is not as good a receiver as Andre Brown, D.J. Ware, or Ahmad Bradshaw. This is not to say that he will not improve, but this is where he is currently.

The defense kept the offense on its heels for much of this practice.

In the 7 on 7s, CB Bruce Johnson made a fine interception of a Bomar pass intended for WR Duke Calhoun. This was followed by a lot of defensive aggression, if not outright mugging of receivers.

In the 11 on 11s, WR Ramses Barden dropped a catchable chest high side line pass from Manning. When this was followed by LB Michael Boley’s excellent interception of a short Manning pass over the middle, the rest of the D went crazy.

On the next play, an overexcited S Michael Johnson was offside by about twenty feet. This was followed by a sideline reception from QB Jim Sorgi to Hagan that LB Bryan Kehl ripped out of Hagan’s arms with extreme prejudice and took off with it in the opposite direction. Soon after that, WR Ramses Barden let another catchable pass bounce off his hands. This was followed by the previously mentioned incomplete option pass from Hagan to Moss.

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Aug 022010
 August 2, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 2, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Report)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Punter Matt Dodge Redeems Himself

This afternoon Matt Dodge punted much better than what he showed yesterday. In the first part of practice he punted (by my count) 14 times. Only one of them was short and low. One went out of bounds. It was probably aided by a significant cross wind into the face of the punter. Nevertheless, even this punt went far enough to be acceptable.

Later in the practice he kicked six more times, with five of them being of acceptable height and distance. In addition to the improvement in the percentage of good kicks, I am encouraged by the fact that he handled the ball more cleanly than yesterday despite a number of imprecise long snaps by LB Zak DeOssie. The punts were into the wind and Dodge was being rushed by the defense. Let’s not write this guy off after only two days.

CB Aaron Ross, WR Adam Jennings, and WR Mario Manningham handled the punt returns. They only caught the ball they did not run with it.

C Shaun O’Hara continued to sit out practice and was replaced by C Adam Koets and C Jim Cordle (with the third team).

WR Hakeem Nicks returned to the field this afternoon. Two early chest high passes to him bounced…no clattered off his big hands. He made up for this with a catch that I was watching all the way. Nicks was lined up on the right covered by CB Corey Webster. At the snap he ran about 8 yards and cut to the left over the middle. Webster was on him like glue and was joined by S Antrel Rolle to sandwich Nicks in. I’m thinking, “Eli would be crazy to throw to Nicks,” but Eli did and Nicks somehow caught it. Nicks looked a whole lot better the rest of the practice.

FB Jerome Johnson is making a lot of people take notice of him. He is a large guy at 6-1, 265 but he has enough speed to get open and make a bunch of catches. He must have made at least three or four catches today. Even based on this small number of receptions, I think that it is fair to say that Johnson has easily as much foot speed and far more receiving talent than FB Madison Hedgecock. Whether Johnson can block will have to wait until the preseason games. Blocking is a FB’s stock and trade. Receiving is just icing on the cake.

TE Travis Beckum has not made any plays so far in camp. He has dropped some passes and others may have been poorly thrown. TE Bear Pascoe, who has the reputation of being an excellent blocker, has also outshone Travis as a receiver. This afternoon, Pascoe made an excellent underneath catch after the area had been cleared out by Hakeem Nicks. If the Giants have designed a place for Beckum in their offensive scheme, it has yet to become apparent where that place is.

The Giants defense, under DC Perry Fewell, seems pretty energized. At the beginning of practice, the defense outfoxed QB Eli Manning in the 11 on 11s to the extent that he had to throw two passes in a row out of bounds.

Earlier, in one of the defensive drills, S Sha’reff Rashad dropped a ball and gave himself punishment pushups. In another drill, S Michael Johnson did not hang onto a ball and Safeties Coach Dave Merritt yelled, “Don’t drop it! That’s money! Don’t leave money on the field!” Later in the practice, when it appeared to Fewell that the defense was not moving fast enough, he yelled at the group in a voice that could be heard all over the field, “[expletives deleted]!!”

HB Andre Brown continues to run and catch looking no different than he did last year prior to his injury. Amazing.

In the 7 on 7s WR Steve Smith made a spectacular sideline catch of a Manning pass. It looked like the ball covered about 45 yards. Steve laid out for it and landed just in bounds. Certainly, it was the best catch of the day. WR Derek Hagan had several catches and looked good making them.

Also in the 7 on 7s, CB Aaron Ross made an outstanding pass defense when he batted away a QB Jim Sorgi pass that was intended for WR Ramses Barden.

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Aug 022010
 August 2, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 2, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Corey Webster Make Outstanding Interception

The Giants were playing is shells and shorts again this morning. My guess is that they won’t be wearing full pads until tomorrow evening’s practice, or maybe Wednesday. In any case, there was plenty to see on this perfect morning for watching practice.

Finally, the offense and the defense lined up against each other. Corey Webster took this opportunity to make a leaping one-handed interception of a slightly under-thrown sideline pass by QB Eli Manning that was intended for WR Mario Manningham. Corey caught the ball then turned and scampered away with the purloined pigskin to the delight of both the hooting defensive players and the assembled fans.

It was interesting to see Adam Koets starting at center in place of Shaun O’Hara. Adam had a false start, I think, and is clearly still in the journeyman stage at this position. I believe that OG Rich Seubert also got to make some center snaps.

I am pleased to report that our running backs all seem to be healthy. Brandon Jacobs caught the pass that was thrown to him and he seemed to be running with speed and power. On one run up the left sideline, after about twenty or twenty-five yards, he made a nice cut to his right to avoid a defensive back.

HB Ahmad Bradshaw also had an opportunity to shine. His number was called five or six times and he ran with power. On one run he must have cut five different times. My only question is whether he has regained his full speed.

It looks like both HB Andre Brown and HB Danny Ware are at full speed. They each caught a pass and they ran well. I was surprised and delighted to see Andre Brown run and cut as if he had never ruptured his Achilles tendon.

HB Gartrell Johnson, was apparently stung by yesterday’s “rigor mortis” comment by Coach Coughlin. He ran hard. On his first carry he did not stop at the 40 but ran an additional 60 yards down to the goal line.

QB Eli Manning looks to be very much in command of his throws. His passes are accurate and in rhythm. He has not attempted any bombs, but none of the QBs have.

QB Jim Sorgi and QB Rhett Bomar have also made some fine completions. It is very early in camp, but so far it looks like the difference between Sorgi and Bomar is that Bomar is slower to pick up his receivers.

There were some nice receptions made this morning. One of the best was a fine sliding catch by WR Ramses Barden on a low throw from QB Jim Sorgi in the 11 on 11s. Barden always impresses me. He is a big tall man, but is never awkward making a catch, or out of control running his patterns.

Two plays later, WR Sinorice Moss made a fine leaping catch of a Sorgi pass. I tend to think that Barden would caught that pass without having to leap for it. Also in the 11 on 11s, TE Bear Pascoe made an impressive diving catch of a QB Rhett Bomar pass.

On defense, some Johnsons were winners and other Johnsons were losers. CB Bruce Johnson made a fine play to knock down a Jim Sorgi pass intended for WR Tim Brown. CB D.J. Johnson seemed to have trouble picking up passes before they arrived and he allowed at least three completions. On one occasion, his failure to pick up the ball in flight cost him (in my opinion) an easy interception.

WR Duke Calhoun has got game. He is a big guy at 6-4 and I was impressed by the two catches that he made and with his speed.

There was more punt receiving with WR Sinorice Moss, CB Aaron Ross, S Antrel Rolle, and WR Adam Jennings catching the punts from the jugs gun. While this was going on, the defensive linemen were working on blocking techniques for punts. The coach singled out DE Jason Pierre-Paul for doing a good job in the drill.

There was also a defensive “turn and go” drill where the defensive linemen and linebackers had to do some change of direction running. None of the players appeared to be slower than the rest of the squad. I think that is a good sign.

Not only are S Antrel Rolle and S Deon Grant the starting safeties, but Rolle, and to a lesser extent Grant, are used by Coach Merritt to demonstrate the proper techniques to be used in the defensive drills. Rolle also made a good play to stop a reverse (I think) in the offensive backfield in the 11 on 11s.

Have I mentioned that DT Chris Canty is a monster?

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Aug 012010
 August 1, 2010  Posted by  Articles, Training Camp
August 1, 2010 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

The First Practice of Training Camp


Rookie Draft Picks, or How the Giants Sabotaged My Camp Reports (written with tongue somewhat in cheek).

One of the most exciting things about training camp is that it gives us a firsthand look at the rookie draft choices. Draftees are mystery men. Will they be busts or stars? Anything is possible.

Veteran players are certainly important, but they are not mysterious. If they are healthy (a big if you are a Giants fan), you pretty much know what to expect from a veteran player. Furthermore, veterans often do not go all out in practice. They know that they have made the team so they try to pace themselves so that they can last for the entire season.

But a rookie, as I said, is a mystery man. Training camp is a rookie’s first big test and BBI wants to know if he will pass or fail that test. We want facts, not the hype put out by the players agents and draft gurus. BBI wants to know if a rookie can help the team and BBI wants to know it now!

The Giants have had their share of exciting rookies. WR Ramses Barden, TE Jeremy Shockey, DB Kenny Phillips, QB Eli Manning, RB Andre Brown, to name a few. What do these players all have in common? Answer: they are WRs, TEs, RBs, QBs, and DBs. They all touch the ball, or compete for the ball one-on-one with another player AND they do it in the open field in plain sight. They give you something concrete to watch and to think about. More importantly, their play in training camp gives you a reasonable indication of how well, or if, they will play during the season.

So what did Head Coach Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese go out and do? They sabotaged my camp reports by drafting three linemen and two linebackers with their first six draft picks. Whoopie!! What can you report about rookie linemen in training camp? The pit is a jumble of bodies and linemen are forbidden to hit hard enough to make a player fall down. Training camp turns the pit into a dance competition. Perhaps there will be some fights. That would at least be interesting, though not very useful in analyzing a lineman.

Most will agree that DE Michael Strahan (a second round pick) is a HOF candidate, but going into his third season Eric from BBI gave him only a 50-50 chance of making the team (Note from Eric – Marty, I was never down on Strahan! Sehorn after his rookie year, yes, but not Strahan). Then there is first round pick T Rich Petitgout. Over a period of several years, he went from being a lousy RT, to a so-so G, to a quality NFL LT (until he was overtaken by back problems and an impatient GM). So much for anyone making an accurate prediction about a rookie lineman.

The same goes for our rookie linebackers Phillip Dillard and Adrian Tracy, who are fourth and sixth rounders, respectively. Despite being a fourth rounder, Dillard is a focus of attention because he might have to fill a very weak area in the Giants defense if MLB Keith Bulluck is not fully healthy when the season starts. The team needs Dillard, Bulluck, or some other veteran LB to be a competent starter from Day One. Is anyone on the Giants an adequate MLB? BBI wants to know right now, not in September.

Oh sure, you will read about a linebacker’s size, speed, strength, and command of the defensive huddle. That’s great, but we all know that the defining quality of a linebacker is how well he tackles. Unfortunately, we also know that there is no tackling in training camp. Clearly, the linebacking skills of Messrs. Dillard and Tracy will remain a mystery until well into the regular season.

As a result of the tragic accident to safety Chad Jones (our third round draft pick), our only remaining non-lineman, non-linebacker draftee is seventh rounder P Matt Dodge. The job is his to lose and the Giants need him to succeed. Even so, Mr. Dodge is not exactly Mr. Excitement.

If the Giants had drafted a quarterback and a running back with their first two picks instead of a DE and a DT, then training camp would be a lot more interesting to read about. Thanks again, Tom and Jerry. But take heart my friends. There are still 25 other new faces on the Giants roster. With a little luck, some of them will be interesting to watch and read about.

Today’s Practice:

Naturally, we will start with Mr. Excitement, P Matt Dodge. He is powerfully built and if the need arises, I could see him nailing a punt returner, assuming Matt has some tackling ability.
I hate to draw conclusions from just eight punts, but here is what I saw: all the punts were down the middle of the field. Four of them were low and short and did not sound like they were struck very well. Two were acceptable and two were excellent. The obvious conclusion is that at this point Matt needs to become more consistent. On his good punts, it appeared to me that he had a good rhythm in his drop and leg swing and that the good kicks were the result of using less effort. The shorter kicks looked like he was over-kicking in an attempt to get more distance.

LB-LS Zak DeOssie’s snaps were pretty accurate. He got the ball to Dodge with plenty of zip, but Dodge did not appear to be handling the ball cleanly. It was catch, adjust the ball, drop, and kick rather than just catch, drop, and kick. It is only day one. Dodge and DeOssie will work those kinks out. I would say that Dodge has the talent to be a fine kicker for us if he is consistent under the pressure of a real game. Only time will tell and that time is quickly approaching.

The main drill was a multitude of punt returns. The jugs gun was used for this drill. CB Aaron Ross, WR Adam Jennings, S Antrel Rolle, WR Sinorice Moss, WR Mario Manningham all got chances to catch the punts. Both Mario and Sinorice each muffed one of the five punts they received. In both cases the ball hit them in the chest and slid down. There was not a lot of wind and the players were wearing shells and shorts. In my view, it is easier to catch a football wearing a shell than wearing shoulder pads.

There was a one-on-one passing drill. Both QB Eli Manning and QB Jim Sorgi looked sharp and accurate in the drills. QB Rhett Bomar did not participate in this drill. According to Coach Coughlin, this was a very light practice and all he wanted to do was get the players on the field and get them used to the practice routine. The coach seemed pleased that all the players passed their conditioning tests which took place in the morning. He was pleased that all the big men came in at their assigned weights.

He described the test as being five “gassers” followed by three minutes of rest followed by another five gassers. My understanding of gasser is running across the width of the field and then back again.

Perhaps the light practice was a reward for passing the conditioning tests and a recognition that some of the players might need a bit more time to recover from it. Coach Coughlin said that the players also had the usual full complement of meetings to attend. In any case, the only time the offense and the defense squared off at all was in the one-on-one drill.

Both S Antrel Rolle and CB Terrell Thomas made an excellent pass defense in the one-on-one drill. Terrell must have felt that he should have gotten an interception, because he did some push-ups after the play was over.

The most noteworthy catch in my opinion was by WR Ramses Barden. The catch itself was quite ordinary, but as soon as he caught the ball he made an outstanding pivot and was gone down the field.

TE Kevin Boss and Eli Manning tried to hook up on a timing pattern. It was incomplete, but it looks like Kevin’s ankle is not preventing him from cutting.

Kevin Boss, TE Scott Chandler, and TE Bear Pascoe all look like football players. TE Jake Ballard looks like a surfer dude. He has the blondest hair since Phil Simms.

The best passes of the day were thrown by Antrel Rolle. After catching a punt he would throw a 50 yard dart to the ball boy tending the jugs guns.

The defensive players have a new drill. Six or eight players form a circle and they bat the ball to each other trying to keep it from hitting the ground. I’m uncertain of the rules, but whatever they are, I have never seen the players more enthusiastic about anything. They were shouting and jumping and it was clear that they were enjoying themselves.

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