Aug 142012
 
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August 14, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Bits & Bytes “Your Time is Now” Camp Ends

See the moon roll across the stars
See the seasons turn like a heart
Your father’s days are lost to you
This is your time here to do what you will do

Would you teach your children to tell the truth
Would you take the high road if you could choose
Do you believe you’re a victim of a great compromise
‘Cause I believe you could change your mind and change our lives

Your life is now your life is now your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how

Your life is now

- John Mellencamp/George M. Greene

Last day of Camp 2012 at University at Albany…a cloudy, gloomy day that threatens rain. I’ve convinced work to let me go one more time, so it’s a quick stop at Dunkin Doughnuts, hop in the Accord, turn on the tunes and zoom over to Camp Scooby Doo one more time. I flash my orange “All Sessions” pass at the attendant and make that walk one more time past the Tennis Courts.

It’s not the same, though. Back in 1996, the tennis courts were full, balls flying through the air. This year, they are eerily quiet. When I first walked on campus back in 1972, most of the trees were saplings. Now, they are full grown, though many of those I remembered are cut down, wiped out like the old “Autograph Alley,” where I saw Strahan’s with a smile that lit up a cloudy day, Rich Seubert limping down with a huge raw gash in his leg, and Ike Hillard staying to sign every autograph and shake everyone’s hand the last day of his last camp in Albany.

I take the long walk around the old UA stadium, and make my way to the “Hill,” where I’ve sat all these 16 years. A brief shower, but it’s not long enough or heavy enough to threaten practice, although things will start a bit later than normal.

Temperature is 76, Dew Point 64, Relative Humidity 66%, so it’s a bit muggy, and winds out of the SE at a gentle 6 mph.

Oh, Linval, I’ve heard your comment about the beds at UA dorms. Hey, no kidding; if you think the beds are hard now, you should have seen the same beds back in 1972! We figured they wouldn’t soften up till 2050…

Get my spot on the hill, between Fields 2 and 3. The main field will be with the camera towers, on Field 3. Lo and behold, what is on Field 2???

Yep, TWO CARS are on Field 2, on the 20 yard line. One’s a GMC Terrain SUV with Conn. plates, the other is an Accura with Arizona plates. The tires look really low, too, as if someone let the air out.

So, I look for Eli, and he has a “you know what” grin on his face! The players are laughing when they go by the cars (well, not all of them…I hear a couple of “Come on, Man!!”)

Corno

The Offense goes to field 2, the Defense to field 3. Both are running plays. The staff drives both vehicles off of field 2; I can hear the thump of their tires as they go by…

Por

Punt returns on Field 3. DePalma, Cruz, Randle, Hosley and Jernigan (yes, I know Tom Rock didn’t see him, but I did!) take punts.

Offensive line in the end zone of Field 2, doing stance drills. Beatty is there with them, a good sign!

Field 2: The QB’s are working on shotgun and center/exchange snaps with Parker,Boothe, Baas and White.

Field 5: Hey, the Tour de Albany is back, as Beckum, J. Williams, Barden, Sintim, Canty, Coe, Boley and Nicks are there (Nicks had his jersey off, but I could see his red towel).

Horn

Field 2: The usual calisthenics (sprints, arm waves, backpedals, etc. with almost all the team.

Field 5: Weatherford is working on coffin corner kicks, assisted with long snaps from DeOssie.

Cuerno

Field 2: The QB’s are doing pitch and catch with Bear, Cruz and Bradshaw.

Field 3: Punt Returns with Hosley, Hixon, DePalma and Douglas.

Field 4: O Line with stance drills.

Field 4: CB’s have a drill where the sprint 10 yards then break down as if they are ready to tackle someone.

Field 5: The guys not practicing are loosening up. Nicks does some short sprints.

Field 4: The O Line stands around their coaches, taking in instruction.

Roh

Field 2: The Defense does “Corner” drills again…this is where you have 4 stations, and the linemen, safeties, CB’s and LB’s rotate to each one.

1) “Gunner” drills…1 guy tries to beat two blockers going down the field.
2) Two men from opposite sides rush each other from 20 yds out, one simulating the ball carrier, the other the tackler. They veer off at the last second.
3) One guy fights off a block to go after the second guy simulating a RB.
4) Form tackle drill

Field 3: The offense is running plays at faster speed.

Field 2: The Defense now splits up:

1) The safeties are working on backpedaling into zones.
2) The CB’s are working on covering out routes
3) The linemen are doing fumble recovery drills.
4) The LB’s are using the upside down garbage cans and guys who simulate RB’s (using foam arm shields to block) to work on defeating trap plays.

Field 3: The WR’s are working on ball safety drills, then working on getting off the line against press coverage. The RB’s are working on footwork, using the pylons while they carry the ball. Then the RB’s go with the QB’s, and work on short pass patterns. The TE’s are working on blocking.

Field 2: The safeties are catching “hot” passes from 10 yards out, to work on their hands. Then the DB’s and LB’s come together, and work on drop back coverages.

Field 3: The QB’s are throwing slants to the WR’s, the RB’s are running screen passes (thrown by the coaches), and the TE’s intensify their blocking against players with foam arm shields.

Field 4: Offensive Line – two linemen are working together to synchronize their footwork while they block.

Field 3: While the WR’s are working on patterns, I see Randle slip and fall. He gets up right away, but I hope the coaching staff ices him afterwards…the field, despite the shower, is hard. Rueben still has spring in his step, though, after he stretches the side he fell on.

Field 3: Three QB’s throw to three WR’s, one short, one medium, one long.

Field 2: Eli and Carr are throwing to WR’s covered by DB’s.

Field 3: Perrilloux is throwing to RB’s/TE’s covered by safeties.

Chifre

Field 3: Weatherford, Tyens and DeOssie loosen up.

Field 2: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Eli: Hixon on the left flat for a short gain, good aggressive coverage by Prince. Screen to Bradshaw, Prince and Kiwi cover. Hixon on the left flat, covered by Prince. Bradshaw off tackle right. Jernigan gets one in the middle.

Carr: Brown up the middle. Hynoski makes two catches in a row on the right sideline.

Eli: Ware off tackle right, then off tackle right again. Hixon with a nice left slant over Bruce Johnson.

Carr: Wilson with a sweep right, then Carr with a reverse handoff to Brown off tackle left, but Brown fumbles (he recovers the bounce, though).

Perrilloux: Purvis with a catch on the left flat. Wilson off tackle left for no gain. Tuck was right in on him for a sack but eases off. Talley with a left curl. Hendricks stops Scott going up the middle. Ryan with a ROCKET (way too hard) pass to Purvis, who’s blowing the smoke off his singed hands…

Horn

The Defense (Field 2) and Offense (Field 3) are both running plays, at a quick pace.

Horn

Field 3: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Eli: Bennett drops a pass on the right sideline while covered by Rivers.

Carr: Middle screen to Ware. Stanback catches one on the left sideline vs Tryon. Scott off tackle right.

Perrilloux: Jernigan with a catch deep up the left sideline against Coe. Then after a handoff fake Ryan runs right, but no whistle…hey…are they working on Wildcat? I think they are! (He should have Tebowed!) Ends with another rocket to Purvis, who has singe marks on his hands (no catch) while being covered by Sash.

Scott again up the middle, then another fake handoff and run by Ryan (yep, no whistle, so it’s Wildcat!). Now Ryan does a great impersonation of Tebow by overthrowing Purvis (covered by Herzlich). Scott off tackle right, but Jones and Kiwi are there.

Horn

Field 3: Back to punt returns, with Jernigan, Hixon, DePalma, Hosley and Douglas.

Oh…almost forgot the Pat Hanlon Fashion report! If this is my last report, I can’t let that go! Pat is wearing khaki pants, black Nike sneakers, his trademark gray Giants windbreaker, and sunglasses! Way to go, Pat!

Tynes makes an appearance, making four field goals with the full FG team and FG defense on Field 3; he also hits the film tower twice!

Now, Eli comes on with the Offense for a short flat to Bradshaw in the same spot Tynes was kicking, then the FG team rushes on to get a kick off in 15 seconds. They do and it’s GOOD!!

Buynuz

Field 3: Seven On Seven, Offense vs Defense.

Eli: Cruz with a catch on the right sideline. Then Cruz again with a patented left curl. Bennett gets one in the middle flat, but Kenny gets the next one (interception), then starts his dance!

Carr: Jernigan with a nice catch on the left sideline over Prince. Bear with a catch on the right flat. DePalma’s on the right sideline, but a dive only results in a trap, not a catch. Pass to Bear up the middle, then Brown gets a middle dink. Scott with a catch on the right flat.

Field 5: The guards are throwing a couple of medicine balls around (one at a time). The tackles were working on blocking against swim and other arm techniques.

Field 4: Meanwhile, the D Line is working on swim and other arm techniques!

Field 3:

Perrilloux: Martinek with a catch on the left flat, then Bing with a beautiful knock down of a pass to the left flat to Stanback..that was a QUICK close!

Eli: Hixon’s dragged down trying to get a long left sideline pass by Bing, who would have drawn a flag (then again, with the replacement refs, who knows?).

Perrilloux: Scott runs up the middle.

Horn

Field 3, Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Eli: Ware off tackle right, then Cruz snags one on the left flat vs Prince. Ware again off tackle right.

Carr: Ware off tackle left. Jernigan with a middle curl. Stanback can’t catch up with a badly thrown pass on the right flat.

Perrilloux: Scott off tackle right. DePalma on the right sideline. Ryan overthrows Collins on a right slant. Scott off tackle…and

The players crowd in, line up, and it figures…I miss most of the rest of the plays!

Eli: Bennett with a long left slant.

Perrilloux: Martinek on the left flat, then Scott off tackle left. Tryon and Hosley team up to knock the ball away from Collins…

And that’s it. Rubber bands come out, practice is over!

What you didn’t see after practice

The players gather into a big circle, then it breaks up with a “Team” chant. Smaller circles form, as has happened every practice…after a bit, those break up as well.

The TE’s throw pitch and catch to each other.

Mr. Mara, Jerry Reese, and the rest of the coaches huddle, then they also break up as well.

Tryon is working in the far corner of Field 3 end zone, working on his backpedal with one of the coaches.

Molden is working with Talley on press coverage over on Field 4.

I sit back on my camp chair, close my scratch pad, and let out a sigh…

Epilogue

Practice is over. The players will leave for New Jersey, to get ready for this weekend’s game against the Jets. As always, thanks to John Mara for keeping his promise to come back. Thanks also to all the Mara’s, the Tisch’s, the Giants Front Office and staff, the Players and Coaches, and the University at Albany.

Almost everyone has left, the fields are empty, yet I sit here, staring at my scratch pad, unwilling to leave. For some reason old Sam Watkins words to conclude Company Aytch roll through my thoughts:

The tale is told. The world moves on, the sun shines as brightly as before, the flowers bloom as beautifully, the birds sing their carols as sweetly, the trees nod and bow their leafy tops as if slumbering in the breeze, the gentle winds fan our brow and kissour cheek as they pass by, the pale moon sheds her silvery sheen, the blue dome of the sky sparkles with the trembling stars that twinkle and shine and make night beautiful, and the scene melts and gradually disappears forever.

I’ve mentioned before, it always takes longer to get back to my car after the last practice. I hear the rumbles that the Giants won’t be here next year, things I’ve heard every year. Then I think of my father, gone for five years. He was a medic in the Pacific, in WWII…got caught behind enemy lines. The Japanese were bayoneting bodies, to make sure they were dead. He played dead until the Marines came just in time with a counter attack that saved him.

My father used to say this:

“Remember the best of yesterday, make tomorrow from your dreams, and enjoy every moment of today!”

I think of him, and what he said.

It’s been a great 16 years of camp. Like the raw rookies who will make the cut for now, or the veterans who are hanging on by a thread, every day is an adventure.

I stride back to the car, with a smile on my face.

In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd

Your life is now
Your life is now
Your life is…

Aug 142012
 
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Rueben Randle, New York Giants (July 28, 2012)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 14, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

The Last Practice?

This may be the last practice held in Albany. When the Giants did not return to Albany last summer, it left me with a void that for the prior ten years had been filled by watching football, writing about it, and sharing that time with others to whom the Giants are important. It now appears more likely than not, that last year’s void will become permanent.

I know that there are many in the Giants organization and elsewhere, who are thrilled with the prospect of having the Giants stay in New Jersey for training camp. For me, this is a poignant moment. If this turns out to be the last practice in Albany, I want to thank all those people who have read and enjoyed my Camp Reports. Your enjoyment and appreciation has always been of great satisfaction to me. On to today’s practice:

The Giants were in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts today, but they played hard nevertheless. As usual, Head Coach Tom Coughlin wandered amongst his players as they were stretching. He was spreading his usual message of “energy” and “no mental errors.”

I noticed that OT James Brewer had returned to practice and sometimes was playing with the starters. It was only on my way home that I realized that I did not see OT Sean Locklear on the field. I hope Locklear is okay, because Brewer got yelled by the line coach at least once today.

Also back is WR David Douglas, but he did not make any plays of note. He may have been limited so he was not able to make up any ground on WR Ramses Barden, who for some reason, was not dressed today.

There was a punting drill and the first return man was CB Jayron Hosley. Walking back after the catch, Hosley looked in our direction, smiled and asked, “Was that okay?” It looked okay to us, but not to Coach Coughlin who gave him a few minutes of additional instruction. The returners also practice making fair catches. Perhaps that was a result of Jacksonville game, where a fair catch, or even letting the ball drop, would have been a better option that attempting to catch the punt.

There was a one on one passing drill. S Kenny Phillips defended a QB David Carr pass intended for TE Bear Pascoe. QB Eli Manning had a bunch of his passes defended. CB Prince Amukamara defended against WR Brandon Collins, S Kenny Phillips against Bear Pascoe (again), CB Jayron Hosley against WR Rueben Randle, CB Bruce Johnson against WR Victor Cruz, and S Kenny Phillips against TE Martellus Bennett.

In the 11 on 11s, WR Jerrel Jernigan used good reflexes to catch an Eli Manning pass that was tipped up into the air by CB Bruce Johnson(?). I’m not sure who the intended receiver was. Later, Manning’s play action pass found WR Domenik Hixon, who was defended by CB Bruce Johnson.

I have not mentioned TE Ryan Purvis much, but he managed to snag a QB Ryan Perrilloux pass in the 11 on 11 drill. In that series, CB Prince Amukamara defended a pass intended for WR Julian Talley. Later on, CB Justin Tryon defended a pass intended for WR Isaiah Stanback. Isaiah is a really big guy and he can easily push Tryon backwards when coming off the line at the snap.

QB David Carr threw a very long sideline pass to WR Jerrel Jernigan, who was covered almost step for step by the speedy CB Brandon Bing. Jerrel hauled it in over his shoulder to the great appreciation of the fans. Later on, QB David Carr hit Jerrel Jernigan over the middle in a lot of traffic and covered by S Chris Horton.

There were many plays where a pass was completed long after a sack would have taken place had this been a real game. LB Mathias Kiwanuka, S Tyler Sash, and others penetrated the offensive line. On one handoff to RB Da’Rel Scott, DT Linval Joseph was right there to wrap him up. WR Brandon Collins made a wonderful leaping catch on a pass over the middle, long after Ryan Perrilloux would have been sacked.

S Antrel Rolle dropped an easy interception and in disgust, gave himself punishment pushups.

There was some kicking and K Lawrence Tynes continues to look strong. None of the kicks are very long, but they are straight and after they cross the goal posts they hit the top of the 40 foot TV crane that is positioned behind the posts.

In the 7 on 7 drill, S Kenny Phillips had a fine interception and CB Brandon Bing made good plays against WR Isaiah Stanback and then against Brandon Collins on a deep pass attempt.
Back in the 11 on 11s, WR Victor Cruz beat CB Prince Amukamara on a Ryan Perrilloux pass.

Here is a play that I think we are going to see a lot of: Victor Cruz and TE Martellus Bennett are lined up on the same side. Cruz goes deep and clears out the defensive backs and Bennett comes underneath Cruz’s route for an easy wide-open catch in the flat.

The State of the Giants, August 14, 2012

What is the essential difference between playing Madden and playing football? Playing football requires courage. In a tough game, courage is often the difference between winning and losing.
You can’t measure a player’s courage on the practice field. The measurement must be taken when there is a crisis and that only happens in a real game.

I say this as a preamble to my annual evaluation of the players. BBI has come to expect these evaluations and I don’t want to disappoint anybody. However, I’ve only had two weeks at training camp to observe the team. That is not a whole lot of time to come up with something useful, so I am desperately trying to cover my butt in case my evaluations turn out to be caca.

“The roster is never something that’s 100 percent predictable. So anyone on the outside trying to do that will be surprised by some of the people we have on the final roster. It’s a constant shaping and molding and that’s how it finally emerges.” – Tom Coughlin

Quarterback

Eli Manning is the man. He looks better than ever. He is throwing more accurately, with less hesitation, and with prettier spirals. As in the past, the Giants success rests on his shoulders. David Carr is a career backup and could fill in for a brief time without destroying the team. Ryan Perrilloux is not ready for prime time. If his primary receiver is covered, he either has to throw the ball away or run for his life.

Halfback

Ahmad Bradshaw is still the starter. He has played well in camp, both running and receiving. If he can stay healthy he will gain a lot of yards for the Giants. David Wilson, the first round pick. With the departure of Brandon Jacobs, the Giants needed another back to share time with Bradshaw. Neither Bradshaw nor Wilson has the build to carry the ball 400 times a season. Wilson could be the home run hitter that the Giants have really never had. In practice he has looked very fast and very agile. He has made unbelievable cuts and has caught the ball extremely well.

If the Giants need an extra wide receiver to run a play, say in the hurry-up offense, I could see Wilson moving up into the slot receiver position allowing the Giants to leave the same personnel on the field. As a rookie, he will probably run a more limited set of plays than Bradshaw and they will probably be designed to take advantage of his abilities.

He is not a big guy. He has had problems in the past with ball security. As a rookie he still has a lot to learn about the offensive scheme. Does he have the toughness to take the pounding that RBs take? Will he develop the skills needed to pick up blitzes and block much larger defensive players? Only time will tell.

D.J. Ware is versatile. He’s a good pass blocker, a hard runner, and a decent receiver. He has caught the ball well in camp and seems to be healthy. I think that staying healthy is the deciding issue on his continued career with the Giants. He is the logical choice for short yardage situations.

Andre Brown and Da’Rel Scott. Scott is faster. Brown has more experience and is more reliable as a pass blocker. Both have caught the ball well in practice. Both can run with some wiggle. They are probably both competing for the fourth running back slot.

The Giants have five serviceable running backs and will only keep four. It is always better (in football) to have one too many, than one too few.

Fullback

Henry Hynoski is the starter. With a year of experience under his belt and a lot of muscles above it, he looks ready to have a great year as a lead blocker and pass protector. At 265 pounds, he is not going to get many yards rushing the ball, but he is a fine receiver and runs very well after the catch.

Joe Martinek. If Hynoski were injured, the 40 pounds lighter Joe Martinek could play fullback or the Giants could look for somebody else. Joe is a good receiver and perhaps a decent runner, but I doubt he can make the team as a running back unless several players are injured. He would have to play much better in the pre-season games than what he has shown in camp if he is to stick.

Tight End

Bear Pascoe has the reputation of not being very athletic, or a good blocker. In terms of receiving, there have been few catchable balls that he has dropped in camp. He runs very well for a 280 pound man. He is the “move TE” and as such he will complement TE Martellus Bennett. He is also versatile and can play FB in a pinch.

Martellus Bennett is a former Cowboy. He has the reputation of blocking well and dropping a lot of passes. It is hard to tell in practice how good a blocker he is, but I have not seen him drop many passes. Some of his catches have been impressive bordering on spectacular. Of course, that could change in a real game when there is a lot more pressure and hitting than in a practice.

Bennett is big, strong, and fast for a man his size. He seems to be a good receiver and has made a number of leaping catches in camp. If he is a good blocker, he will be able to help the Giants with that alone. If his receiving is as good as he has shown in camp, it will add a dimension to the Giants offense that we have not had since TE Jeremy Shockey.

At first I thought that Bennett was a rather self-satisfied, showboater. After speaking to a number of people who have interviewed him, he comes away as a friendly, funny, and intelligent guy who is trying hard to fit in and to prove that he is a good receiver. Many veteran players don’t go all out in training camp. They already know what they can do and so do the coaches. It is clear that Bennett’s high level of play in camp is because he is highly motivated. GM Jerry Reese may have hit a home run with Bennett; at the very least, a stand-up double. If we can get the Cowboys to kick themselves for letting him go, that would be icing on the cake.

Travis Beckum was injured in the Super Bowl and has not practiced in camp. I cannot remember Beckum ever making a noteworthy play. He is too small to block effectively in the Giants offensive scheme and the Giants have never found a niche for him as a receiving TE. It irks me that Beckum has never tried to gain some weight and muscles to try to fit in as a blocker.

Adrien Robinson, a fourth round pick, is a very big, very athletic, and very raw player. He looks like a lineman and he blocks like a lineman. He also looks like he can catch the ball, assuming he knows which player is the quarterback. He is that raw. In recent practices he has shown great improvement and has shown that he is a fluid runner and receiver. How fast he can learn the system is the big question. NFL football is entirely different from what Robinson did as a TE in college. Frankly, he looks heavier than his program weight and slower than his reported 40 time of 4.57. Those numbers don’t matter if he is as talented a receiver as he appears.

With Robinson, it would appear that the Giants have changed their draft philosophy from “best player available” to “best athlete available.” This is also evidenced by the selections of OT Matt McCants in round six and DT Markus Kuhn in round seven of the NFL draft. With all three players, their “body” is more impressive than their “body of work.” Numbers may decide whether Matt and Markus are heading for the practice squad.

Larry Donnell, Christian Hopkins, and Ryan Purvis have all had their moments in camp. They are all huge and reasonably fast and have caught the ball when it came their way. They have decent speed for such big men, but I really can’t comment on their blocking. Nevertheless, they are all better choices than Travis Beckum in my opinion. Hopkins has had the most catches, but I doubt he will make the team unless Bennett, Pascoe, or Robinson is injured.

Wide Receiver

Hakeem Nicks is rehabbing and has not practiced. Victor Cruz has picked up where he left off last year and is clearly the best receiver on the field.

“You want a receiver that doesn’t make movements that confuse you about where he’s going – that’s kind of like trying to hit a gnat. You want a guy who’s smooth. You want a guy who you understand…his body language, and a veteran guy where you know that if you throw it, he can make a play.” – Jim Fassel

Jerrel Jernigan has surprised me. I feared that because of his height at 5-8, that Eli would not be able to find him on the field. I was wrong. Jernigan has gotten open and has caught the ball very well. Well enough to be in the competition for third receiver now that Mario Manningham has departed. He will probably be the Giants punt returner as well. If he performs as well in the preseason games as in practice, I think he could be the Giants slot (Y) receiver. Performing well in a real game is not yet a given for Jerrel, or for Rueben Randle for that matter.

Rueben Randle, the second round pick, is virtually the same height and weight as Nicks and Cruz. Unlike them, he has been impressive from his first day in camp. He is a smooth route runner and has instinctive ball skills. I see him more as a backup to Cruz or Nicks or in rotation with them, rather than as the slot receiver. I say this not because Rueben lacks the necessary skill, to be the Y receiver, but as the X or Z receiver Rueben would be a threat to run down the field, beat his defender, and catch a TD on every play.

As impressive as Randle has been in camp, he will see a lot tougher coverage in real games, when there is the certainty that he will be hit before, during and after catching the ball. He is taller, heavier, and perhaps faster than Mario Manningham. Very likely, he will run his routes more consistently than Mario did. That would be a real plus. Rueben will have to make a few clutch catches in real games before we can decide if he has anything close to Manningham’s talent.

Domenik Hixon has picked up where he has left off before he was injured and has caught everything thrown his way in camp. Hixon, when healthy, was a game breaker as a kick returner. The continued health of Hixon’s surgical knee will determine how long Hixon stays with the Giants.

Ramses Barden, in my opinion, is the sixth player on the squad…for now. He has performed well in camp. In the past, he has been held back because of injuries. Coach Coughlin expects Ramses to perform now. If he does not do well in the preseason games, it might be hard to keep him on the team, because there are a number of young players who have shown a lot of promise.

When I talk about performing well in a game, I don’t mean making spectacular leaping one-handed catch. I’m talking about running routes that allow you to make a bunch of easy catches, or making a catch under pressure, or making a good play to get a first down. You can’t make spectacular catches all day long. It is far better to make a bunch of routinely easy receptions. Receivers get injured a lot. It is better if you don’t fall down when you catch a pass.

Barden is by far the tallest receiver on the team. At 6-6, he should have a great advantage against most cornerbacks, even if he does not get much separation. He is also 220 pounds which should make him a tiger when it comes to downfield blocking for running backs, or other receivers. “Talk’s cheap. Play the game” should be posted inside his locker.

Julian Talley, Brandon Collins, Dan DePalma, Isaiah Stanback, and David Douglas are all talented and all have made some fine receptions. Do they look as good in camp as Victor Cruz did in his first training camp? Yes. Absolutely. Of this group, perhaps David Douglas has impressed the most. What will it take for Douglas or one of the others to make the team? Obviously, an injury to one of the six above, or he will have to have an outstanding game or games in the preseason. As I said before, consistency as a receiver, not just one spectacular catch, is what a rookie needs to demonstrate in the preseason.

Offensive Line and Defensive Line

Giants have a one-on-one drill where a defensive lineman tries to get past an offensive lineman. In this drill, the players go all out and you can tell who can block and who can rush the passer. In past years, this was the drill that started so many fights between DE Frankie Ferrara and his offensive lineman du jour. When the Giants run this drill, they do it far away from the prying eyes of yours truly. So far as the other drills in camp go, the linemen might as well be playing patty-cake with each other. So the best way to evaluate the linemen is to watch the games on TV and see who the Giants are using as starters and reserves.

Linebacker

Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka are starters and Jacquian Williams is a second year player who flashed last year and is primed for a big year in 2012. Williams is very fast and good in coverage. Lately, Boley and Williams have been slowed by injury and are not practicing. If healthy, they should play well.

Chase Blackburn is the starter at middle linebacker. He re-signed with the Giants in the middle of last season and became a Super Bowl hero. It is very possible that in the near future, he will share the same fate as former Super Bowl hero WR David Tyree. Last year, LBs Greg Jones, Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams were all rookies and very raw. They were basically thrown into the game without much coaching or experience. They made a lot of rookie mistakes.

Chase already knew the defensive system and he had the experience needed to call the defensive plays. He may have been slow, but at least he knew where to run. The Giants are well aware of Chase’s assets and liabilities. Chase is still slow, but last year’s rookie crop has much more experience and has improved considerably. If Mark Herzlich can replace Chase as the starter, and the other young linebackers continue to improve, the Giants may decide that they no longer need the experienced, but slow Blackburn.

Mark Herzlich. At the start of training camp I was worried that Mark did not have the foot speed to get the job done, regardless of how good his head was. After watching some drills, it appears that Mark is at least as fast as Greg Jones and Spencer Paysinger, if not faster. Mark seems to be the heir apparent to Chase Blackburn. My guess is that it will happen when Mark gets a little more experience and his body gets a little stronger as part of his recovery from cancer.

Keith Rivers may just be the veteran free agent acquisition who will seal Chase’s fate. Rivers was a first round pick who disappointed the Bengals. We got him for a 5th round pick. In my opinion, that fifth round pick was a much better investment than the mid-fourth round pick that got us LB Phillip Dillard from Nebraska, in 2010. Keith is currently Mathias Kiwanuka’s backup at the Will linebacker.

The big question is whether Rivers is going to be the second coming of former LB Kawika Mitchell, or of the injury plagued Gerris Wilkinson? Only time will tell. However, let’s not be hasty in our judgment (unless of course, Rivers gets injured and can’t play). Then, we can jump all over him and Jerry Reese, too.) If Rivers stays healthy, his physical skills and experience could make him a great pickup for the Giants.

Please remember that even veteran linebackers need a period of adjustment before they get up to full speed when they change teams. Sometimes that period of adjustment takes half a season or more. Kawika Mitchell, Michael Boley, and Antonio Pierce ALL played poorly at the beginning of their Giants careers and it was well into their first season before they hit their stride.

Greg Jones and Spencer Paysinger and Jake Muasau are also in the mix for making the squad. Paysinger has added pounds of muscle and has been praised by Coach Coughlin for improving his game skills. As such, he has the edge over the others. Unfortunately Clint Sintim has not practiced due to injury.

If Keith Rivers, Michael Boley and Jacquian Williams have no lingering health issues (and that is certainly not a given), the Giants might only keep six linebackers.

Cornerback

Corey Webster is a starter and so is Terrell Thomas, if he plays this year.

The big question is whether last year’s first round pick, Prince Amukamara, can start in place of Terrell Thomas. It appears that he has the talent, but like all of last year’s rookies, he started at a disadvantage because of the labor dispute. It is just a question of how long it will take to learn from his mistakes. Will he be ready to be a starter at the beginning of the season? Maybe, maybe not.

Jayron Hosley, the third round pick, has had his moments in camp. He can return punts and is fast and athletic. He is on the small side, but he makes up for that with his athleticism. Although he has done well in camp, as a rookie, it is unlikely that Jayron would be considered as a starter to replace Terrell Thomas. Aside from special teams, I would expect Hosley to cut his teeth on more limited roles, such as nickel and dime back.

Michael Coe and Bruce Johnson are both seasoned veterans and both were injured last year. In camp, Coe gets beaten a lot and Johnson has not looked good either. Johnson had an Achilles tendon injury, so maybe he still needs additional time before he gets all of his speed and quickness back.

Justin Tryon, Dante Hughes, and Antwaun Molden. These backs all have several years of experience and it shows in camp. Of the three, I think Tryon has played the best. Of course, they are playing against the second and third team offenses, so that has to be taken into consideration.

Safety

Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips are the unchallenged starters. The question for Rolle is whether he will be a pure safety or whether he will have CB duties in certain defenses as he did last season. At this point in his career Antrel is more effective as safety than as a CB. The answer to the question will depend more on the versatility of the Giants corners and linebackers than on Antrel.

Tyler Sash is a second year player. He was supposed to be the primary backup to Rolle and Phillips. He has had a quiet camp and has been suspended by the League for the first four games of the season for using a banned prescription drug. Safeties are supposed to be smart and that violation was stupid. I don’t know if the Giants will be allowed to put another player in Sash’s slot until Tyler’s suspension is over. If they can’t, it will severely impact the Giants.

The other players competing for the fourth Safety slot are Will Hill, Jojo Nicolas, Stevie Brown and Chris Horton. Stevie Brown came into camp with the most fanfare, but has been quiet while Will Hill has been making a lot of plays. If Hill (who has had off the field problems of his own) continues to play this well, he is going to make the team. At this point, Nicolas, Brown and Horton are longshots to make the team.

Special Teams

Zak DeOssie is the long snapper, Steve Weatherford is the punter and holder for kicks, and Lawrence Tynes is the kicker. All have looked great in practice. Weatherford looks consistent and Tynes has been booming kickoffs and has looked very accurate and long on field goals. It is nice to go into the season having confidence that the kicking and punting will be reliable and consistently at a high level.

Predictions

“Let’s talk about winning first before we talk about anything else. We need to win some games. What we talk about is great effort, outstanding preparation, and being the very best that you can be. If you are as good as you can possibly be, the rest of that stuff will take care of itself. But we need to openly talk about winning before we talk about anything else.” – Tom Coughlin

My prediction for the coming year: The Giants will go as far as their health will take them.

Aug 132012
 
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Will Hill, New York Giants (July 28, 2012)

Will Hill – © USA TODAY Sports Images

August 13, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

On a Cloudy Day, TEs Martellus Bennett and Adrien Robinson Shine

It was good to see LT William Beatty and LB Jake Muasau playing.  Beatty still split a little time with OT Sean Locklear, but not as much as yesterday, I think.  The one time I noticed Muasau, he had good coverage on a short outlet pass that QB Ryan Perrilloux completed to WR Julian Talley.

WR Rueben Randle continues to look smooth as silk catching the ball regardless of whether it is high or low.  He made one of his patented semi over the hip basket catches in one drill and it looked completely natural.  He he made it look so easy.  I bet that there are WRs who would kill to be able to make that catch.  After the catch, I think a coach told him not to do it again.

There was a drill for the RBs on pass blocking.  It looked like RB David Wilson is learning.  It is clear that the Giants want to get Wilson into the game as soon as possible, and not just on special teams.  Speaking of special teams, there was a kickoff return drill and Wilson was the first returner.  He turned on the jets and while running full at speed he veered off by 30 or 40 degrees.  It would have been almost impossible to defend.  The guy leaves me breathless at times.  Wilson also had several outlet passes come his way in the flat (as did the other halfbacks).

CB Jayron Hosley is playing nickel back with the first team.

Eli was not as sharp today as I have seen him.  Perhaps it was the quartering wind.  Anyway, in the 11 on 11 drill, he found TE Martellus Bennett who made a great play by tipping the ball to himself to make the reception.  I did not have a great view of it, nor did I see another of Bennett’s catches.  On that one, all I saw was Bennett whizzing across the field to catch the ball.  On another play, Bennett caught a tipped pass.  I’m not sure if he was the intended target.

WR Ramses Barden had a good day making several fine catches, but so did WR Dan DePalma and WR Isaiah Stanback.  WR Brandon Collins made a great play where he slid and then got up to make the reception.

CB Prince Amukamara had an up and down day.  He did a good job of defending a sideline pass by QB Eli Manning even though it was caught WR Ramses Barden, because the pass was too good.  On the next play Eli victimized CB Corey Webster with an equally good pass to WR Domenik Hixon.

Hixon took Prince to school.  On one pass he made a move which put Prince down on his fanny.  On the following play, Prince managed to remain vertical, but Hixon still got good separation.  Prince did not give up.  In the red zone drill, Prince intercepted an Eli Manning pass.  Also in that drill, CB Jayron Hosley defended a Manning pass intended for WR Victor Cruz over the middle and LB Mathias Kiwanuka was in the backfield to watch Eli make one of his throws.

In other defensive news, Coach Merritt gave S Will Hill a lot of praise.  I don’t know what Hill did, but Merritt said that he was watching and that he liked it.  LB Greg Jones had a fine pass defense by slapping away a Ryan Perrilloux pass in the 7 on 7 drill.  LB Chase Blackburn also had a pass defense on an Eli Manning throw intended for WR Victor Cruz.

There was also good defense from CB Antwaun Molden who intercepted a tipped or juggled pass thrown by QB Ryan Perrilloux in the 11 on 11s.

RB “Jersey Joe” Martinek, as the coach calls him, did not get much play, but he did catch a bubble screen pass from QB Ryan Perrilloux in the 11 on 11s.

In the 11 on 11 drill, QB David Carr was having a pretty good day but had one pass blocked at the line of scrimmage by DT Dwayne Hendricks (?).

TE Adrien Robinson had a pair of catches today.  The best one was in the 7 on 7 drill where he made a diving, tumbling catch of a Manning pass that was defended by LB Greg Jones.  This guy gets better every day.

In the kickoff return drill that I mentioned previously, the name of the Giants’ formation is “Tebow Right.”  That’s an interesting name.  I wonder if it is the religious right.

Aug 122012
 
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August 12, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Bits & Bytes “If” Camp Report

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

Training camp…the challenges of your body, your mind, and dealing with all the outside influences that prey on the time you need to get ready. “If” was not written with NFL training camps in mind, but it rings true, every stanza of it. This is what camp is all about, and more than camp as well.

After a weekend of rain, Coach Coughlin must be pleased…nice weather the rest of the week that the Giants are here, and it starts off today. Sun’s out, I fire up the Honda, and zoom towards University at Albany. If you haven’t been there recently, it sort of looks like this:

No worries, they say the construction will be over by next year!

The Temp is 80 degrees, dew point 61, humidity at 54%, and a gentle breeze out of the NW at 3 mph. I get my seat between Fields 2 and 3, and get my notebook out! First on the field today is Coach Coughlin, to applause. Then Pat Hanlon shows, and there’s a new slogan on his T-Shirt! (he’s wearing blue shorts, and a gray t-shirt with a “NY” on the front, and BUILD THE BRIDGE on the back!)

Horn.

The Offense is on Field 2, the Defense on Field 3. Both are going through plays the coaches call. Weatherford, Tynes and DeOssie are on the other end of Field 2, in the end zone, warming up.

Hey, Will Beatty is back, and on the first team! (he didn’t get in a lot of plays, though, but it’s good to see him taking some reps).

Horn.

Speaking of Weatherford, he runs to the fence (after the extremely loud noise that indicates change on the field), and drops a football to a kid on the other side. No, I haven’t any idea what that was about!

On Field 2, we start with punt returns, which should be fun to watch after the debacles seen in the first preseason game. Back receiving kicks are Hixon, Cruz, Jernigan, Randle and Hosley. The coaches are concentrating on the PK offensive line; it looks like they are working on how to handle various blitzes.

Field 3: The QB’s settle into their regular drills of shotgun snaps and center exchanges with the following; Snee, Baas, Goodin, Parker and White. Once the ball is snapped, the linemen doing the snapping work on blocking a coach who is hitting them with arm shields.

Horn.

Field 2: Conditioning (sprints, arm waves, backpedals, leg bends, etc).

Field 5: The guys who are not going to practice still loosen up. Sintim, Canty, J. Williams, Nicks, Douglas, Boley and Beckum. No routes for Nicks today, it seems.

Horn.

Field 3: The QB’s are doing pitch and catch with Bradshaw. Further up the field, the O Line is working on coming out of their stance and blocking drills.

Field 2: More punt returns with Randle, Hixon, Jernigan and Hosley. Jernigan and Hosley use their body too much, I think, and if they aren’t in perfect position to catch the ball it isn’t pretty. Randle and Hixon extend their arms out, and the ball disappears smoothly into their hands.

Bradshaw comes around to our end, and after some chants raises his hat to the crowd (to great applause! This is a LIVE crowd, and attendance continues to be very good).

Field 3: The D Line is standing around, taking instruction from the coaches. Over at the other end of Field 3, the DB’s are doing “gunner” drills – punt return drills, where the player who is a “gunner” has to work around 2 other players trying to block him.

Horn.

Field 2: The Offense is going through plays at a higher speed.

Field 3: The rotation drill again! This is where you have 4 drills, and the various groups (linemen, LB’s, CB’s and safeties) rotate clockwise to each station. The drills are as follows:

1) Hit the big medicine ball, then go around it and through the gap (line of 2 pylons on the ground).
2) Hit the pop-up QB who has a ball snuggled into one of it’s “arms,” knock it to the ground and the ball from it’s hands, and then fall on the ball to recover it.
3) Break back and catch a ball thrown by one of the coaches.
4) One player will hold the ball, the other will try a “Tomahawk” chop from behind to get the ball out (LT’s signature move).

Field 2: The Offense spits up. The WR’s do 10 yard sprints, up and down the field, then form 2 lines and catch “hot” passes from coaches 10 yards away. The passes can be high, low, to the left or right. The QB’s and RB’s are on another part of Field 2, and are working on proper handoff drills. The TE’s are working on ball security…one tries to rip the ball out of the other’s hands.

Field 4: The O Line is working on keeping their blocking stance through metal bars (think of a Limbo, only the lineman has to keep down until he passes the bar, in his stance).

Field 2: WR’s and CB’s work on press coverage (getting off the line) drills, one on one.

Field 4: The D Line is doing the step across pylons, then dive to recover a fumbled ball at the end of the line.

Field 3: The safeties are breaking back, then forward to intercept balls thrown by one of the coaches.

Field 2: QB’s are working the short pass patterns (flats, outs, slip screen, dinks) with the running backs.

Field 4: The O Line is working on blocking, with the coaches using arm shields.

Field 3: The CB’s have a drill where one plays a WR trying to do a fade catch in the corner of the end zone, while the other defends that pattern.

Field 2: QB’s are throwing long passes to WR’s on the sidelines (probably sideline awareness drill). The TE’s are working on blocking using arm shields.

Field 3: Now it’s the LB’s turn to work on back pedaling and trying to cover someone going to the corner of the end zone.

Field 4: D Line is working on flowing to one side, then hitting the gaps in the line (the line being pylons on the ground).

Field 3: The DB’s are now together working on different drop back coverages.

Field 5: O Line stance drills.

Field 2: RB’s working on flat and out patterns (the coaches are throwing to them).

Field 5: The O Line splits into two groups; the tackles are working on pass blocking, the guards are working on blocking a line of dummies.

Field 2: Gilbride calls out plays with the QB’s, RB’s and TE’s; they go through their pass patterns as a group. Further down Field 2, the DB’s and WR’s work on 1 on 1 patterns into the end zone.

Field 4: The Offensive Line does 5 on 5 with the D Line.

Horn.

Field 2: 11 on 11, Offense vs Defense

Eli: Bradshaw up the middle. Play action pass trying to hit Hixon, but he’s covered by Brown and Eli throws over his head. Bear with a dink over the middle. Bradshaw up the middle, then Bear on a seam pass on the right side.

Carr: Barden with a nice catch over Coe in the left flat. Brown with a middle screen. Brown now goes off tackle. Bennett with a nice catch in the left flat vs Jones. Then Brown in the flat.

(In what’s becoming a new tradition, the player who goes to the port-a-potties by the fence facing Field 3 gets huge applause…the other day it was Rolle, today it’s JPP!)

Eli: Hixon makes a beautiful adjustment while the ball’s in the air to get to a long right sideline pass vs Corey. Cruz then with a signature middle curl catch. Ware off tackle right. Bradshaw with a sweep left that’s strung out and ended by Rolle.

Carr: Throws a bad pass to Barden’s wrong shoulder on the right sideline, incomplete. Scott catches a left out, then runs up the middle, then it’s Brown up the middle, then Scott again up the middle!

Perrilloux: Talley catches one in the right flat, then Ryan overthrows Donnell on a right out. Wilson up the middle…gone! Then Wilson slips on a hand off, no play.

Horn.

Canty and Beckum walk off to the locker room.

Field 2: The offense is working on running plays full speed. There are gadgets! (End around pass for TD; RB sweep and toss for TD!) as well as the normal stuff.

Field 3: Couldn’t be sure, but the defense might have put in some Wildcat work.

Uh oh…Brewer is walking off the field with a coach, and he leans foward, as if he cannot stand upright. He then points to his lower back. The cart comes out, and he goes right to the locker room, in obvious pain.

Horn.

Field 2: 11 on 11 Offense vs Defense

Eli: Handoff to Bradshaw up the middle. Hixon gets one in the left flat. Ware up the middle. Barden can’t handle a pass on the right flat.

Carr: Brown off tackle left. DePalma with a bad drop on the right sideline. Brown up the middle.

Perrilloux: DePalma comes back with a seam pass right. Stanback with a nice catch of a left curl rocket from Ryan, then again with a catch in the right flat (he looked to be the third option there).

(JPP has his shirt off, and one of the coaches is working on his shoulder pads.)

Horn.

Field 3: Hey, the old net Coach Palmer used to bring out is back! This is the one with three holes cut into it…the holes are the size of a football if you laid it on the ground, both height and width, with the holes starting lower left and ending upper right!)

The QB’s have to go back, then forward, then left, then right, then pass and try to get the balls through the holes. Eli’s done this before, and he gets two “holes in one,” to great applause. Ryan gets one, but the ball bounces back, and Eli waves it off (to great laughter!)…Ryan is hot and cold on this, as he overthrows the net at one point. Carr comes close, but no cigar.

Field 2: Punt returns by Hosley, Jernigan, Hixon and Randle. I’d hate to be #12, as he drops one of the punts by Weatherford!!!

Horn.

Field 2: Seven on Seven!

Before we start, Eli brings the offense in, starts back, then turns around and tosses the ball right to the guy in the back endzone film tower…as if to say “Hey, you ready for this??” The crowd roars…Eli is really having fun out there, and it shows (he’s also got the camp beard going, and it looks good on him!)

Eli: Hixon with a drag over the middle vs Corey. Then Eli looks to Barden on the right, then throws to Bennett on a middle curl. Jernigan with a nice catch up the right sideline. Bear with a dink over the middle. Barden with a catch on the right flat vs Corey.

Carr: No one is open. Then Robinson up the middle on a slant. Jernigan with a middle dink. Collins with a catch in the left flat. David overthrows Stanback on the left sideline.

Perrilloux: Randle with a drag catch over the middle. Robinson with a curl over the middle. DePalma with a right slant catch, then Collins with a right flat catch.

Field 3: The O Line splits into two groups, tackles and guards…both are working on combating defensive swim moves and other techniques.

Field 3: Offensive Line vs Defensive Line.

Horn.

Field 2: 11 vs 11 Offense vs Defense

Eli: Bradshaw with a sweep right. Play action then a pass to Ware in the right flat. A rare bad pass from Eli that’s thrown well over Jernigan’s head; Rolle intercepts! Ware up the middle.

Carr: Johnson and Brown with great double coverage on Jernigan, David has to overthrow the pass or else it’s intercepted. Wilson off tackle left. Carr comes back strong against Johnson and Brown, with Robinson splitting them on the left sideline. Then David fumbles the exchange. Donnell with a nice seam pass, followed by Scott up the middle.

Perrilloux: PLAY OF THE DAY! A PERFECT pass down the right sideline to Bennett; Hill has great coverage on him, but that pass beats 99% of the corners in the NFL – it’s dropped in perfectly over the shoulder for a TD!! Then Wilson up the middle.

Whistle.

Field 2: Green Zone, Offense vs Defense 11 on 11!

Eli: Bradshaw with a handoff up the middle. Play action screen left to Bennett, but Kiwi sniffs it out. Corey with a blatant hold on Hixon on the right sideline, so the pass is incomplete.

Carr: Brown goes up the middle, but Herzlich is right there. Shotgun then a dink to Bennett in the middle for a TD, but someone blew a coverage…that was TOO easy! Robinson on a dink, but Jones is right there.

Perrilloux: Scott up the middle, no gain. Wilson off tackle right.

Whistle.

Field 2: The offense turns around, and has a full field against the defense.

Eli: Bradshaw off tackle left, but Corey plugs that hole. There’s a pass, but I can’t see what happened.

Carr: Brown up the middle with Bear as fullback, no gain. Brown off tackle left. Then someone on the defense blocks the pass from David…and practice is over! The rubber bands come out!

What you didn’t see after practice

Not only the players use the rubber bands to stretch; Gilbride and some of the other coaches were using them!

Eli grabs Jernigan and goes over where he expects JJ to be on a route…you can see him point one way, then another.

The team circles around after stretching, then you hear the chant of “TEAM,” then they split into smaller circles (usually by position), and then break up.

Perrilloux is working with Goodin on the center exchange. One thing I see with Ryan…he is dynamite when he just goes back and throws the ball. If he can speed up his progressions, I think he would throw better passes, and be a viable #2 or better. As I’ve said before, this guy could really use a year in the Arena League…if you talk to Kurt Warner, the Arena League really is great for a QB to learn how to get the ball off quickly, and it makes the NFL seem to “slow down.”

Eli does some sprints, up and down the field. He then hits the Gatorade bar, and waves to the crowd as the “Eli” chants start.

The TE’s do some pitch and catch.

Hendricks (who’s been impressive), Ojomo, Kuhn (who’s sporting a Thor haircut!), Broha and other defensive players do sideline to sideline sprints on Field 3.

Talley and Molden work on press coverage drills.

Bennett does what he’s been doing all camp…he runs 10 yards, turns around and catches the ball from a coach, then goes another 10 yards and repeats until he gets to one end zone, then back again. This guy is serious, and I think he’s going to shock the league this year.

Aug 122012
 
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August 12, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

William Beatty Returns to Practice;
TE Adrien Robinson Shows Promise

As would be expected, the first practice after a game is in shorts and shells.  The hitting was light, but the exhortations of the coaches was heavy.  They were trying to get the players to get back to work and not let down.  I think they were successful.  The practice was crisp.

As you might expect after handing Jacksonville two turnovers on muffs by CB Jayron Hosley and WR Jerrel Jernigan, the Giants worked on returning punts.  The Giants are nothing if not consistent.  Jayron and Jerrel each muffed a punt this afternoon.  There was no wind, no pressure and no excuse.  Well, maybe.  Jerrel’s muff may have been on a punt that was out of bounds.  I could not tell from where I was standing.

William Beatty was back in practice.  He was the starter and he shared time with Sean Locklear.  Da’Rel Scott was also back to practice.  He made sure to run out all his catches.  I think he wanted to show everyone that he is fully healthy.

It is unusual for a camp report to single out the tight ends as a unit, but that is the case.  TE Martellus Bennett continues to make catches, including a TD catch on a QB David Carr pass in what appeared to be a goal line drill.  He made another nice catch on a play action pass from QB Ryan Perrilloux and another play action pass from Eli Manning.

There was a play where Eli Manning had nobody open and he tossed the ball to Bennett in the backfield.  Bennett had nowhere to go and took a big loss.  What that play showed me is that Eli trusts Bennett.  I think that is a good sign.  TE Larry Donnell also had a fine catch today,  showing speed and receiving skill.

As usual, TE Bear Pascoe had a few catches.  He looks best when he catches the ball in stride and continues in that direction.  When he turns to catch a pass in place, with his chest facing the QB, he kind of stands there instead of immediately pivoting to turn and run down the field.

The winner of the most improved award has to go to TE Adrien Robinson.  He did more today than in the rest of camp combined.  He showed decent speed and a lot of fluidity in making a bunch of catches throughout the practice.  That included a TD catch in the goal line drill from QB David Carr and three or four others that showed great promise.  He made a great running catch in the 7 on 7 drill of a QB Ryan Perrilloux pass that he caught in full stride.  I don’t know when this kid will be ready to play, but he has the tools to be a good receiver.

A word about WR Rueben Randle.  In the 7 on 7 drill, he caught a ball crossing over the middle running flat out.  It was thrown very hard by QB Ryan Perrilloux.  The timing on that kind of play has to be perfect, or the throw will miss the receiver completely.  But even though it was perfectly placed, it was a fastball and Randle was running as hard as he could.  I was amazed that he caught the ball.  IMO that is too dangerous a play for a real game, but it shows how talented a receiver Rueben is.  One more thing.  Rueben’s got a strong arm.  He threw one ball about 50 yards.

The defense had its moments today.  Antrel Rolle stepped in the way of an Eli Manning pass intended for WR Jerrel Jernigan and had an easy interception.

QB David Carr had a pass knocked down at the line at the very end of the practice.  I could not see who got his hand up to block it.

There was a 1 on 1 drill and S Tyler Sash made a good play to defend an Eli Manning pass to TE Martellus Bennett.  S Stevie Brown, who IMO has had a very quiet camp, made a good play to defend a Manning pass intended for TE Bear Pascoe.  That was followed by Jayron Hosley making a good defensive play on Dan DePalma? Jerrel Jernigan? I really don’t know.

In the one on one drill, TE Adrien Robinson was not to be denied.  He caught the ball easily despite being covered by S Chris Horton.  I think this catch inspired Robinson and he played great for the rest of the practice.

In this same drill, CB Corey Webster broke up QB Ryan Perrilloux’s pass to WR Victor Cruz and S Will Hill stayed close enough to TE Christian Hopkins to force a bad pass from Perrilloux.

Aug 082012
 
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August 8, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Bits & Bytes “Around the Horn” Camp Report

Another great day today! Temp is 83 right now at 12:00, may go a bit higher later. Dew point 64, Humidity at 54%, and an occasional cool breeze, not too gusty. Let’s fire up the Accord and motor over to Camp Scooby Doo at UA!

The players start to wander in around 12:35. Nicks has a red towel hanging from his pants that has “88” and “Dreams.”

Oh, you’re wondering about the title of the report? No, it’s not after that awful ESPN show where everyone screams at each other (come to think of it, that describes most of their programming!)

Apparently, there are some of you that don’t like it when I put Horn in the report…it became a bit controversial. So, I’m considering other options. Now, since Eric has given me an almost unlimited budget, I’ve gone all the way to Bristol for help, and I have a special guest who is familiar with airhorns; he’ll show on each transition. And here he is!

Practice starts, and “High Energy” seems to be the mantra of the day. The main field today is Field 2, where the Defense runs plays right now. On Field 3, the Offense is also running plays. Weatherford, Tynes and DeOssie warm up on Field 4. Looks like top shells only.

Field 2: Punt returns with Jernigan, Douglas, DePalma, Hosley, Randle and Collins. DePalma starts off, but can’t handle the first punt. Douglas, on the other hand, is catching them like he’s done this before…very natural.

Field 3: The QB’s are working on shotgun and center/snap exchanges with White, Bass,,,and Snee?? Yep, he’s there! At the other end of that field, the O Line is doing coming out of your stance drills.

Field 4: Cordle is working on long snapping with one of the staff.

Field 2: Conditioning drills. Sprints, yells, arm waving, backpedaling, kicks, gum chewing, sidestepping, leg kicks, etc.

Field 3: Weatherford is working on punt drops.

Field 5: Lots of players aren’t in the official practice; Sintim, Canty, Nicks, Beckum, Boley, Bernard, Muasau, Jacquian Williams. The guys are trying to keep loose, though..some are on the bikes (Scott, Bernard, Canty).

Field 3: Cornerbacks are doing press cover drills. QB’s are pitching and catching with Bennett, Bradshaw and Cruz.

Field 4: The D Linemen are listening intently to the the coaches (or just standing around). O Line is doing more of the “get out of stance and block” drills.

Field 2: Jernigan, Hixon, Randle and Hosley doing punt returns with the KO/punt machine. A rare misplay of a punt by Randle, might have lost it in the sun.

Field 2: The LB’s push against what looks like a big orange medicine ball, then run around it to recover a fumbled football on the ground. The CB’s try to catch a pass after they pass a staffer put in the way to block their vision (reaction drill). The safeties have a drill where you have two orange cones that mark where the offensive tackles would be…they have to go around those, hit the QB pop-up dummy, knock the ball out of it’s hand, and recover it.

Field 3: Two QB’s at a time are throwing to 2 WR’s, one on each side. RB’s have a drill where they get the ball, then do multiple spins as they go sideways to the line (represented by foam pylons), then finally go off tackle.

Field 4: TE’s work on blocking, one on one. The O Line is working on blocking against other O Line players with foam arm shields.

(The pace is VERY quick here…players are going in and out of drills).

Field 3: WR’s and CB’s work on press coverage on the line, one on one. On the other side of Field 3, 2 QB’s are working with TE’s and RB’s.

Field 5: D Line working on going sideways across the line of scrimmage (using foam pylons), then cutting round the end to hit a pop-up QB dummy, knock the ball out, and recover it.

Field 3: Three QB’s now throw the ball at a time to 3 receivers, one going short, one medium, one long.

Field 2: CB’s are working on backpedaling, then coming up for run support.

Field 5: Nicks is VERY active! He starts off jogging, then curl routes, then starts running routes and catching passes from the staff. He’s sharp here, and he’s making his cuts confidently; he’s making quick stops, and not stopping in between routes. He looks very good, but I’ll caution everyone, as the real result will be if he can do this multiple days in a row.

Nicks seems to have inspired Williams, Sintim and Muasau, as they are doing some serious backpedals. This is more active than I’ve seen Sintim, who is moving very well. Again. please understand this is a process, and they will be evaluated tomorrow to see how they react to this sort of activity…we can’t go overboard, but this is good news.

Field 4: LB’s are working on gap coverage with the upside down garbage cans representing offensive linemen. The real O Linemen are working on drive blocking and pulling. The D Line is at the other end working on arm techniques (Swim moves, etc).

Field 2: LB’s and DB’s now working on drop back coverages, using 7 at a time (defensive backfield).

Funny…I hear another “Cruzzzzz” chant. It brings back memories going back to old Yankee Stadium, back in the ’70’s, when you’d hear something like that, only it was “Louuuuuu!” for Lou Pinella. Yes, Lou was a fine player for the Yankees, but that was long ago….

Field 3: The Offense is back to running plays.

Field 2: Same with the Defense.

Field 5: Wow, a 1 handed catch by Nicks! But that ends his active day, as he leaves Field 5 with a towel over his head.

Field 3: DeOssie, Tynes and Weatherford do their stuff…

Field 2: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Eli: Bradshaw off tackle right. Cruz with a nice slot catch on the right.

Carr: Brown up the middle. Um, Larry? Larry? LARRY!!!(Donnell). Turn your head please! A flat pass to Donnell hits his shoulder pads, as #46 never turned to get it. Coe blankets Stanback on a flat pass, incomplete.

Perrilloux: Brown off tackle right. Brown off tackle right again, but he sees Reinders in the hole. Collins make a dink catch in the right flat, over Nicolas.

Eli: Bear with a seam up the middle. Ware off tackle right. Cruz gets past tight coverage by Bruce Johnson on an inside curl.

Carr: Brown off tackle right (he’s showing nice acceleration through the hole this year). Play action to Stanback in the right flat vs Tryon. A fake handoff and direct snap to Collins, who’s doing an end around.

Perrilloux: Wilson catches a rocket (Ryan seems to throw everything hard) in the right flat. Wilson up the middle.

Eli: Barden goes long (and pushes Prince down, but Prince recovers and keeps up with him) on the left sideline, but the pass is a bit long. Randle with a cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow catch in the slot…it’s like his hands are pillows, the ball disappears (snugly) in them.

Carr: Lines up in the shotgun, then dinks in the flat to Brown (nice, he used his head/eyes to fake people out this time). Wilson off tackle left (he has a “jump cut” where he accelerates through the hole…it’s awesome to watch!)

Perrilloux: Throws over Douglas’s head on the right sideline. Wilson sweeps on the left sideline with a nice burst. Hopkins settles in the middle zone for a reception.

Eli: Cruz gets one over Corey in the right flat (but I think Corey let him have it). On the left flat, Cruz drives his man back, then comes back for a reception (then does a quick cut back up the middle!). Bradshaw off left tackle.

Carr: Talley with a very nice reception on the right sideline vs Tryon. Wilson off tackle right. Randle with a post curl up the middle…nice catch battling Bing! Wilson off tackle right, but Broha meets him in the hole.

Perrilloux: DePalma gets one in the middle, vs zone (I have to comment, though…Ryan’s taking too long. He’s going to get sacked, the line simply is not going to give him the 4 seconds or so he’s using looking for an open receiver. Ryan needs to go through his progressions quicker).

Coaches are trying to keep the energy up. “Move it, Move it!! Let’s GO!!”

Field 2: Punt returns, but it’s more about getting the punt return team on the field quickly and moving than returning the punts.

Field 3: The QB’s are pitching and catching with Cruz.

Canty and Sintim are off to the locker room!

Field 3: Hey, it’s FG time! Tynes is 2 for 2.

Field 2: Seven on Seven time, Offense vs Defense

Eli: Curl to Barden vs Corey. Cruz with a dink up the middle. Ware catches one in the left flat. Jernigan with a catch of a floater on the right. Jernigan with another chance, but he misses a hard catch (but one he needs to make) going across the middle…off his fingers). Talley with a nice out catch.

Cruz: Robinson catches a short out on the left. Jernigan with a Toomer like toes catch on the right sideline, though I was blocked and couldn’t see if it was inbounds. Jernigan again in the right flat (they used a “Big Ben” formation, and crossed WR’s to get him open). Collins with a very nice grab of a high pass on a left curl. Talley grabs one deep on the left sideline.

PLAY OF THE DAY! Spectacular interception by Will Hill, who dives for a seam pass, pops it up in the air, and catches it on the ground (after flipping over)…then gets up and returns it!!! WOW!!! You HAVE to see this on the replay on Giants.com!!!

Field 3: O line vs D Line 5 on 5

Perrilloux: Wilson with a catch on the left flat.

Field 2: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Carr: Brown up the middle.

Perrilloux: Hands off to Hynoski, then does a fake pitch to Wilson. Ryan gets lost in the middle of the line…was that a sneak, or did he fumble?

Eli: Bradshaw up the middle, till he meets Rivers. Bear with a nice right slot pass over Sash.

Carr: Brown up the middle, Wilson up the middle.

Perrilloux: Rolle blankets DePalma (Ryan’s taking too long again). Sack…nobody open. Ryan’s in shotgun now, but he throws 3 feet over Jernigan on a right out.

Eli: To Barden over the middle, but I have no idea how the pass got to Ramses hands, as Herzlich is right there poised to knock the ball away. Eli is a wizard! Bradshaw gets one on the left sideline.

Carr: Back to bad habits. David stares at Collins the whole route, and Horton should have intercepted him (he just knocked it down).

Eli: Ware up the middle. Middle dink to Cruz. Bennett with a nice catch splitting double coverage on a seam pass.

Carr: Toss sweep left to Brown. Bruce Johnson undercuts Stanback to knock the pass away…and he was following David’s eyes, like I was. A QB that wants to start won’t last long if he Bird Dogs…

Perrilloux: Pass to Brown in the left flat, and Brown cuts and zooms right up the left sideline. Overthrows DePalma, but he was covered.

Whistle…

Green Zone! Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11, Field 2:

Eli: Uh, guys, was that a play action or did Ware just miss the call? Eli tried to hand off to Ware, but he wasn’t looking for the ball. Next play…Ware goes off tackle right. Hmmmmm…

Carr: Bruce Johnson is glued to Douglas, so Carr overthrows him, intentionally.

Perrilloux: DePalma comes back and splits double coverage on the right sideline for a TD!

Eli: Bradshaw handoff up the middle. The next play is sweet…Eli throws a pass to Cruz in the right corner of the end zone with a flick of his hand, dropping it perfectly over Stevie Brown (I don’t care if it was Revis, though…this was a PERFECT pass that could not be defended, it dropped in perfectly over Cruz’s shoulder). Brown has his revenge on the next play, as he knocks down a pass to Bennett, then Bradshaw up the middle.

Carr: Brown up the middle.

Perrilloux: Nice play action to Larry Donnell who beats Jones in the right end zone corner. Another great play…Collins double tips a pass then dives and catches it! Brown off tackle right.

Carr: Hopkins with a nice touch catch on the left sideline vs Janzen Jackson.

Perrilloux: Wilson off tackle right. Ryan’s in shotgun, overthrows Collins on the right sideline.

Whistle.

Field 2: Full field 11 vs 11 Offense vs Defense

Perrilloux: Collins falls down on a left curl, incomplete. Wilson up the middle. Collins sits in a hole in the middle zone for a catch. Dante Hughes knocks down a pass to Collins who tries the left sideline. Douglas with a nice slide catch in the right flat. Incomplete over the middle and…

Practice Ends! Thanks again to our guest. Eric, I’ll send you the bill later….

What you didn’t see after practice

The usual circle of all the players, then the “team” to break, then the mini circle, then their own chants.

TE’s went with Coach Pope, and did some pitch and catch.

Chant of “#74″ (Hendricks) starts WAY to my left, by the other end of Field 3. First Ware, then Hendricks, jog over there for autographs (after Hendricks did some sideline to sideline sprints.)

Some of the CB’s hang around, and work on press coverage with Talley.

Coach Coughlin, John Mara, Pat Hanlon and the other coaches huddle and talk while the NY Sportswriters swelter in the sun by the press podium (nice placement of that, Pat!)

Hey Ralph, how’s your tan???

Aug 082012
 
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August 8, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

The Giants Prepare for the Jaguars

It was another hot sunny day. The Giants wore shorts, shoulder pads and helmets, not full pads. As such, the contact was much reduced and it did not look like the players were going full speed on their blocks. Our defense still looked like it made its share of plays, but it was hard to tell. It looked like the Giants were running many plays based on what they expected the Jaguars to do in Friday’s game.

LB Michael Boley was not dressed; perhaps he got the day off. I did not see WR Domenik Hixon on the field. I might just have missed him.

Speaking of misses, there was a punt return drill and perhaps WR Rueben Randle lost the ball in the sun, because he let the ball bounce about a yard away. In the 11 on 11 drill that followed, TE Larry Donnell missed a ball thrown by QB David Carr that hit him squarely between the numbers. Unfortunately, the numbers were Donnell’s back, not his chest! Later on, Donnell redeemed himself with a TD catch in the goal line drill.

WR Victor Cruz caught the most balls today and with apparently little effort. Little effort is a poor choice of words. The proper word for Cruz’s receiving style is “grace.” He caught a TD pass from QB Eli Manning over CB Justin Tryon (?) in the red zone drill. In the same drill, WR Dan DePalma made a leaping TD catch on a pass from Ryan Perrilloux.

TE Christian Hopkins also caught a few passes today. He made two nice catches in the 11 on 11s of QB Ryan Perrilloux passes. In the goal line drill Hopkins caught a QB David Carr TD pass at the sideline.

The best catch of the day was also in the goal line drill. Ryan Perrilloux tossed a ball to Brandon Collins which he tapped to himself and then made a leaping, tumbling TD catch.

In that same drill, you could hear Head Coach Tom Coughlin screaming loud and long at RB Joe Martinek. Apparently Joe was not lead blocking (as a FB in a running play) up to Coughlin’s expectations. I suspect that Joe will be thinking about that episode until the next time he has the opportunity to throw a block.

The defensive play of the day was a spectacular tumbling interception in the 7 on 7 drill by S Will Hill on a pass by QB Ryan Perrilloux. Ryan holds the ball far too long before making his throws. It would seem that he just bird dogs a single receiver and waits for him to get open. For instance, there was a fine catch made by WR Brandon Collins, but the catch was made long after Perrilloux would have been sacked. WR David Douglas also showed good hands on a Perrilloux pass.

Also in the 7 on 7 drill both Brandon Collins and Julian Talley showed excellent hands to hold on to Perrilloux passes that were zipped to them.

Back in the 11 on 11s, WR Ramses Barden made a good catch in traffic of a Eli Manning pass. Eli also found TE Martellus Bennett open in that series.

TOMinology (humor)

With their many pages of complex formations, NFL playbooks are hard to understand. The Giants’ playbook has the reputation of being especially difficult, with all its route trees and assorted shrubbery. Is it possible that Head Coach Tom Coughlin is making things even harder by using confusing terminology?

Although I am not privy to the contents of the Giants’ playbook, we do have some glimpses of what the players are being asked to digest.

“Red Zone” is standard NFL terminology. It is the area between the twenty yard line and the goal line. Coach Coughlin insists on calling that area the “Green Zone.” He feels that red suggests “stop” and that “stop” is the wrong mind-set for his players. Come on Coach, that’s crazy talk!

Athletes are not blind. They can’t help but notice that the entire field is green, except for the white lines. Calling only a small section of an entirely green field, the “green zone” is weird, even for football. If you don’t like “red zone” Tom, how about “go zone,” or “scoring zone,” or “win zone?”

Then there is the linebacker terminology. By definition, the strong side “Sam” LB sets up across from the offensive team’s tight end (their strong side) and the other outside linebacker, who does not face a tight end, is the weak side “Will” LB.

TC turned that definition on its head and calls the Sam LB the “Will LB,” and vice-versa. My theory is that Tom did this solely out of a perverse sense of humor. Did you ever wonder why it took veteran linebackers, like Michael Boley and Kawika Mitchell, at least half a season to get accustomed to the Giants’ defensive scheme? Maybe it’s because they were suffering from an identity crisis.

Aug 072012
 
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August 7, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Bits & Bytes “The Francesa Experience” Camp Report

Hey, Boys and Girls, what day is it?

Mike has blessed the University at Albany with his presence. No sign of his biggest fan, though (Phil Mushnick). He did interview a bunch of Giants, including John Mara, Tom Coughlin, Justin Tuck (I was there for that, but had to leave), Victor Cruz and Eli Manning. Here’s Eric’s link to those interviews.

Oh, and he promised to go off on the Jets, tomorrow (he did do a bit of that at the end of his show today). The last time he did that, it was a classic!

Just a great day for practice. Temps between 75 and 81 degrees, Dew Point 58, Humidity 56%, and a mild wind out of the West South West at 3 mph. I’m coming from Wolf Road (attended a Vmware seminar at the Marriott), so I’m ready for real excitement! Hop in the Accord, and let’s roll!

I get a shady spot behind the fence on the hill, between Field 2 and Field 3. The players are starting to wander in, with the first one be Marcellus Bennett. Prince walks down the hill with a helmet, so he’s gonna go today!

The camera towers are on Field 3, so that’s the main field, though the cameras are at the other end of that field, nearer to Western Avenue.

Horn.

The Offense jogs over to Field 4, and runs plays.

Field 3: The D Linemen are working with the upside down garbage cans (5 of them, which represent O Linemen) and work on pass rush lanes.

Field 3: The Defensive Backs are working on cover drills.

Field 2: The QB’s are working on getting shotgun passes and center exchanges with Bass, Boothe and Goodin.

Horn.

Kickoff Returns with Jernigan, Randle, Hosley, Stanback…and Douglas! Interesting…

All of them are fine catching the ball, including Douglas.

Horn.

Sprints, yells, arm waves, skips, stretches…yep…

Horn.

Field 3: There are two lines made up of DB’s, LB’s and WR’s. They are doing “gunner” practice, for the outside runners and defenders for that particular special team assignment.

Field 4: The O Line is doing stance drills.

Field 5: The QB’s pitch and catch with Bradshaw, Cruz, Bear, and Bennett.

Field 4: The D Line is circled around the coaches, soaking in instruction and Gatorade.

Horn.

The Offense migrates over to Field 4, and runs plays.

Field 3: The safeties, CB’s and D linemen split into three groups, each of which has a bunch of guys in a circle. They are doing “Football Pepper!” (Well, it looks like pepper.)

Now, for you young guys, Pepper was an old Baseball game where you had players form a circle, and toss the baseball around…if you couldn’t make a catch, or if you made a bad toss, you were out! Same thing here, but with a football!

You could hear the coaches yell “Keep it going, keep it going!” quicker and quicker. The players are really having fun with this one, lots of chatter!

Whistle!

Field 3: Two groups, one the safeties, the other cornerbacks. Each of them is doing the “fumble drill”, where the coach stands back 10 yards, then tosses the football down on the ground. One player at a time dives for the spinning football!

Field 5: The players who are not officially in practice are trying to keep loose. Jacquian Williams, JoJo Nicolas, Hakeeem Nicks, Canty and Scott (the last two were on the “Tour de Albany”…this time, they only have THREE bikes! A hint, maybe?”

Field 4: The TE’s, WR’s and RB’s are doing “run the gauntlet” ball safety drills; here, the players are hit with foam arm shields as they go through the gauntlet.

Here’s a picture of the Redskins doing this drill:

The QB’s, meanwhile, are doing more limbering up doing pitch and catch.

The LB’s and D Line are also doing fumble drills, as noted above.

Field 3: Safeties are working on fighting trap blocks. The CB’s and WR’s are working on press coverage.

Field 5: The O Line are working on blocking, with one O Lineman opposing another with a foam arm shield.

Field 3: The safeties are working on how to position themselves when a WR runs right at them…it’s a balance drill, so that they can break right or left without falling.

Field 4: LB’s working on covering TE’s on pass patterns, usually a drag over the middle route.

CB’s are working on covering out’s (left and right) while the coach throws the ball.

Field 5: Tynes, Weatherford and DeOssi are keeping loose.

Field 4: Three QB’s are throwing to 3 WR’s (or TE’s/RB’s), one short, one medium, and one long route.

Field 3: The non linemen defensive players are working on coverage drills.

Field 4: Two groups, the DT’s and DE’s are working on stance and technique drills.

Field 5: The RB’s have a drill where one RB runs short, then passes to another RB streaking by them. The other RB then throws back to the line of RB’s, so this drill is being run at a fast pace.

Field 5: O Line doing pulling drills.

Field 5: Nicks is running for short bursts and turning around to catch a pass from one of the coaches!!! It’s only for a short period, but that’s the first I’ve seen him attempt a pass reception.

Field 4: Linebackers ward off a guy with foam wrapped around his arms trying to hit them as they go around him.

Field 3: QB’s working on throwing to TE’s/WR’s covered by CB’s on short end zone passes. Larry Donnell with a nice grab and run.

Horn.

Field 3: 11 on 11 Defense against Offense

Eli: Hixon with a catch on a drag middle route against Prince. Hixon then pushes Bruce Johnson to the ground, but no catch. Bradshaw takes a handoff off tackle right. Interception.

Carr: Pass to Hynoski on the left flat. Brown up the middle. Pass to Hynoski again on the left flat. Brown off tackle right. A dink to Hopkins up the middle.

Perrilloux: Wilson off tackle right no gain. Wilson up the middle no gain. Collins can’t handle a hot pass, and drops it.

Horn.

Field 3: Defense does coverage drills again.

Field 4: Offense runs plays.

Field 2: DeOssie, Weatherford and Tynes work on FG drills, with DeOssie doing long snaps to Weatherford, who waits for Tynes to kick. They do different distances and angles, and are generally successful.

Horn.

Offense vs Defense 11 on 11

Eli: Play-action sprint left pass to Hixon, but the pass is too low, and Hixon traps it. Hixon comes back with a catch on the left flat. Jernigan snags a middle dink. Barden engulfs a pass in the left flat over Tryon. Donnell catches one up the middle.

Carr: Brown gets a dink up the middle, then Wilson runs up the middle. Carr’s in a shotgun, sprints right and tries to hit Stanback, but he’s not open so Carr throws it away.

Perrilloux: Hands off to Brown. Then passes to Douglas on the right sideline. Next is a play-action sprint to the right then a toss to Purvis on the right sideline. Then a quick pass to DePalma on the right sideline.

Eli: Prince stones Jernigan on a pass to the left sideline. Rolle wraps up Barden after the catch on the left sideline. Bradshaw off tackle right. Sprint right to Barden on the right sideline.

Carr: Jernigan catches one vs Coe on the left sideline. Brown is stuffed on an off tackle right run by Hendricks, who looks better after yesterday’s scare. Carr sprints left to float one to Randle in the left flat. Herzlich stuffs Wilson on a middle run.

Perrilloux: Sack (no one open). Brown off tackle right after a direct snap. Talley drops a LONG post when the ball goes over the wrong shoulder, defended by Bing.

Horn.

Field 2: QB’s pitch and catch with Cruz.

Field 3: Kickoffs to Wilson, Jernigan, Hosley and Douglas.

Field 2: Hey, Eli is rushing Carr! Yes, it’s the “one QB rushes the other, holds his hands up, and the QB with the ball throws to #80 drill.”

Huh??

Field 3: Tynes is doing FG practice with the full field goal and field goal block teams. He hits the tower (good), the umbrella on the tower (good!), misses left (I think), then kicks over the tower (good!).

Horn.

Field 2: The O Line vs D Line, 5 on 5.

Field 3: 7 on 7’s, Offense vs Defense:

Eli: Bear with a nice leap and catch over Rivers. Hixon catches one in a gap in the zone on the right sideline. Bradshaw catches one in the left flat.

(Hey, is Tebow stealing Giant QB uniforms for the next set of passes?)

Eli: Bear could not catch up with a pass on the right sideline. Hixon misses an over-the-shoulder long pass on the left sideline. Randle with a rare drop of a hot pass in the right flat. Stanback makes a nice catch vs Steve Brown on the right sideline.

Carr: Overthrows Stanback with a low pass on the right sideline. Overthrows DePalma on a long left sideline pass.

Perrilloux: Wilson drops an easy pass in the left flat. Brown stumbles and falls trying to get a right flat pass, incomplete. Stanback can’t catch a McNabb grounder special up the middle. Brown can’t make a fingertip catch on a pass to the right sideline.

What the Hell is going on here??

Perrilloux: PLAY OF THE DAY! A 40 yard post to DePalma!

Eli: Left out to Bennett. Eli runs a sprint right, then turns around to float a pass to the left, only Osi snags it and returns it for a TD! The crowd goes wild!

Eli: Bradshaw off tackle right. Bennett takes a screen right and makes a nice gain out of it. Ware up the middle. Robinson splits the zone on a right slant.

Carr: Jerningan with an end around. Wilson drops a pass in the left flat. Brown runs up the middle. Robinson with a left screen. Carr’s in the shotgun, sprints right and hits Randle on the right sideline. Collins with an end around.

Perrilloux: Martinek runs up the middle. Collins on the left sideline can’t reach a high pass. Martinek off tackle left. Wilson with a slant post catch..and he’s gone, just like that! Jones tips a pass that falls incomplete. Wilson off tackle right.

The next series looks like Green Zone drills with 11 on 11, but the players stand in front of me, blocking my view, so I’ll leave that to Marty.

The offense turns around, so I can now see them.

Field 3: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11, 2 Minute Drill!

Eli: Shotgun pass to Bennett up the middle. Handoff to Bradshaw up the middle. Bradshaw with a pass reception on the right sideline. Cruz on a right curl catch. Timeout. Herzlich goes over Cruz’s back, causing an incomplete. Barden with a catch vs Johnson on the left sideline.

Then Cruz runs a post, and takes the ball out of Bennett’s hands in the end zone for a TD to end practice!

What you didn’t see after practice

Coughlin spends a lot of time with the whole team around him in a circle.

Eli hits the Gatorade Bar!

The Defensive Backs go to Field 4 to hit the single man sled.

The TE’s are playing pitch and catch.

Snee and Petrus are hitting a single man sled on the other side of Field 4.

Molden is working with Talley on getting off the line of scrimmage.

Tracy is talking with coaches about technique.

Tuck is wearing an “Our Time is Now” t-shirt as Francessa interviews him.

Aug 072012
 
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August 7, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

Tight Ends Excel in Practice

On a hot sunny day the Giants were again in full pads.  After some warm-up drills the Giants went to a one-on-one passing drill.  Clearly the receiver has the advantage here, but WR Jerrel Jernigan put a terrific move on CB Michael Coe that got him open by five yards.  He then beat CB Prince Amukamara who has returned to practice.  Also, in the one-on-one drill, WR Ramses Barden had an easy time defeating CB Justin Tryon and WR Julian Talley had a nice catch against S Antrel Rolle.

In the 11 on 11 drill, QB Eli Manning found WR Domenik Hixon, but the defense played very strong.  FB Henry Hynoski caught two passes from QB David Carr, but Carr had little success elsewhere.  When it was QB Ryan Perrilloux’s turn in the drill, he found TE Christian Hopkins for a completion.  I’m not sure if Hopkins has had more than one or two other catches in camp.

Also, in this series, CB Jayron Hosley made an excellent pass defense on a Perrilloux pass to WR Brandon Collins.  Toward the end of practice Hosley made a pick for six on a pass from Carr or Perrilloux.  I did not actually see the catch, I only saw Hosley running with it for 50 yards to the endzone.

In the 11 on 11 drill, Ramses Barden had another easy catch against CB Justin Tryon and WR Jerrel Jernigan caught a short hard pass from QB Eli Manning.

Speaking of short hard passes, RB David Wilson is excellent at catching them.  I guess that in addition to his fast-twitch muscles, he as equally fast reflexes, because there is little time to prepare for a five to seven yard pass that is zipped to you by the QB.  As for long passes, Jerrel Jernigan nearly caught a 40 yarder from Eli, but I think he was interfered with.  Actually, Eli would have been crushed by DE Jason Pierre-Paul before he could have made the throw.  Eli followed that with a short pass to Ramses Barden and then a sideline pass to Barden over CB Corey Webster.  In the two minute drill, Barden beat Webster again and went out of bounds to stop the clock.  A good play.

QB David Carr connected with Jerrel Jernigan on one play and then, running to his left, he was able to connect with WR Rueben Randle.  Throwing while running to your left is not easy for a right-handed QB.  As a change of pace, the Giants tried a direct snap to David Wilson who caught it easily and was stopped shortly thereafter by the defense.

In the kick-off drill, WR Jerrel Jernigan had yet another fine runback.  Today, WR David Douglas got a chance at it.  He ran the kick back in excellent fashion. Douglas has some running skills to go with his receiving talent.

K Lawrence Tynes kicked 4 field goals.  The longest of them was from 43 yards.

Aside from Christian Hopkins, the other tight ends were impressive.  Bear Pascoe made a good catch against LB Keith Rivers in the 7 on 7 drill.  Rivers later redeemed himself with a good pass defense of a David Carr pass attempt to RB David Wilson.

TE Ryan Purvis caught a ball from Ryan Perrilloux in the 11 on 11s and showed excellent speed pivoting and running up the sidelines.

Martellus Bennett made three catches.  He is able to catch the ball, secure it and run with it. On a bubble screen he showed good speed to turn the ball upfield.  On the last play of the scrimmage, Bennett and WR Victor Cruz found themselves uncovered in the endzone and they collided with each other going for the ball.  Cruz got the TD.  It looked like he stole it from Bennett.

Finally, TE Adrien Robinson had his day in the sun!  Robinson is a big guy. His legs and rear end look like an offensive lineman’s.  If he is a good blocker, he is fast enough for the NFL.  He caught a pass in the 11 on 11s from QB Eli Manning.  Also in the 11 on 11s, DE Adrian Tracy made a good play to get into the backfield to force QB David Carr to get rid of the ball.  Carr flipped the ball over Tracy’s head to Adrien Robinson, who was at the line of scrimmage.  Adrien caught it and turned up field.  It was a fine play by all three players.

There was plenty of give and take by the offense and the defense.  In the two minute drill, after QB Eli Manning got the defense to jump offsides twice in a row, Victor Cruz caught a pass over S Antrel Rolle.  There was also a pass in the flat to RB Ahmad Bradshaw, but Eli would have been sacked by DE Osi Umenyiora before he could throw.

Osi had a good day.  He jumped in front of a safety valve pass by Eli that was intended for one RB D.J. Ware (I think) and made an easy interception.

WR David Douglas did an excellent job of getting open to pull in a Ryan Perrilloux pass and WR Dan DePalma also made a nice play on a Perrilloux pass.

Rookie Wide Receivers.

I have not written a lot about the new receivers.  At the start of camp it looked like Cruz, Nicks, Jernigan, Hixon, and Barden had five of the six receiver slots locked up.  Then, starting from day one of camp, Rueben Randle was very impressive.  That, combined with Randle’s status as a high draft choice, pretty much took care of all six slots.

Unless one of the top six receivers gets injured, or plays horribly, the remaining five receivers, Julian Talley, Brandon Collins, Dan DePalma, Isaiah Stanback, and David Douglas appear to have little chance to make the team.

Have all five of these young guys made good plays when given the opportunity?  Yes.  Has any one of them significantly elevated himself above the other four?  Not so far as I can tell.  Has any one of them played so poorly that I give him no shot at making the team?  No.

A big question is whether a young guy can beat out Ramses Barden.  Based on less than two weeks of camp; not yet.  However, if you listen to what Coach Coughlin is saying to the press, his expects Barden to produce right now.  Is that an ultimatum?  Is this the last camp that Tom will be patient with Barden?  Who knows?  I ran out of patience with TE Travis Beckum two years ago, so what do I know about Tom’s patience?

The real issue is the future.  You can analyze the heck out of past performances, but still not be able to predict the future.  If you could, all the first round picks would be in the NFL Hall of Fame and all the undrafted rookie free agents would be second and third stringers.

Young players can improve a lot in a short time. The preseason games have yet to be played. They could be the deciding factor for a young guy (or for Barden).  If I see a trend of success by one receiver, or a trend of failure by another, BBI will be the first to know.

It is perfectly natural for people to want to make up their minds as early as possible despite not yet having all the facts.  That is the result of human evolution (so that cavemen didn’t get eaten by saber-toothed tigers while trying to decide if the tiger looked hungry or not).  I suspect that the final WR squad might be a mystery until the end of August, so try to hold out for three more weeks.

Aug 062012
 
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August 6, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

Bits & Bytes “The Verizon Experience” Camp Report

Just a great day for camp. Mid 70’s, a light breeze, lots of Sun poking through the puffy clouds…wow! Time to fire up the Honda, get my coffee (French Vanilla, extra skim) and go!

This time I have a UA VIP pass! (probably not as good as a Giants VIP pass, but I’ll go over that later). So, I get to park at the Dutch Quad VIP parking lot. I go for the spot with shade, and that’s opposite the regular parking spot I got yesterday. I got a whole 10 feet closer!

I’m told to wander to the Giants VIP tent. On the way, I see that a couple of SUNY students…excuse me, University at Albany students…are selling water from a cooler they set up. I’d give them points for effort, but apparently they haven’t graduated from UA’s Business program yet, as they are only selling water for $1 a bottle, not the current rip off price of $2.50-$4.00 you see elsewhere.

Wow, there’s a VERIZON EXPERIENCE tent! Now, this is what Verizon wants you to think when you go to the tent:

I know better. This is the real Verizon Experience: (Picture no longer available).

Sorry to vent, but I’m upset at these “Dolan Wannabes” with their “Grandfathered Unlimited” Data plans that don’t last and their inability to generate a correct bill.

Onto the VIP tent. Now, there are TWO classes of ViP’s. Ones that are blessed by the Giants, and go right through the tent. The other are UA peons, who have to wait in a long line for over 25 minutes because someone thinks they are on the list, but their names don’t show up so they have to call their sponsor. Naturally, everyone else has to wait even though the two people doing the Giants side are filing their nails and checking Facebook.

I get to the field AT LAST…and fortuna smiles at last for me! I get to one of the metal stands, and the main practice field is on Field 3, right next to it! So let’s start at last!

Weatherford, Tynes and DeOssie are on Field 2, doing their usual workouts. The Offense goes over to Field 4, while the Defense camps out on Field 3. Both the Offense and Defense are running plays…I know, it’s boring, but repetition on the field is how you learn these things…studying the playbook only goes so far, you need to see actual players in motion to burn the play or technique in so you react, not think.

The weather, as I said, is much cooler, with clouds and gusts of wind that remind me of the old Meadowlands Stadium, only not quite as swirly.

Horn.

Punt return starts it off, first with Weatherford kicking, then the Punt/KO machine takes over. Taking the kicks are Hixon, Jernigan, Hosley and Cruz…Cruz muffs his first PR, but is solid as the rest after that.

Field 2: The O Line is standing around, with the coaches talking to them.

While I look around, I see Bradshaw sitting on some foam bench talking for a long while with one of the coaches (equipment problem?), away from the other players. He did resume practice.

Horn.

Sprints, stretches, etc.

I notice Bennett near my part of the field not taking part; the coach is testing his arms, to see if he can push off. He then goes over to the other sideline, where he takes his shoulder pads off and the trainers work on his triceps and neck area. That seems to do the trick, as he resumes practice. It might have been something as simple as a shoulder pad adjustment…if those things don’t fit right, they can press on a nerve. He looks fine the rest of practice.

Coach Coughlin yells out “Gotta have the speed to play…get better” as the players do their stretches.

Horn.

Punt returns again on Field 2 with Jernigan, Randle, Hixon and Hosley.

Field 5: Sintim, Muasau, Canty, Nicks and Prince are doing light legwork, but they’re not wearing shoulder pads, so they aren’t practicing.

Field 4: The D Line, O Line, LB’s, OB’s and RB’s are doing light pitch and catch.

Field 3: The DB’s and some WR’s are doing gunner work; you have one guy trying to beat two defenders.

Horn.

On Field 3, one of the coaches brings out two white hollow circles about 4 yds in diameter (I could count the yards when they placed them on the ground). Behind the circles were 2 QB pop-up dummies holding a football. On the side was a coach holding a ball to the ground, simulating a center.

Lined up behind both circles were the DE’s, LB’s, and CB’s. When the coach lifted the ball, one player was supposed to go around their circle, knock the ball from the QB, and then recover it. The players were having fun with it…JPP tried to jump the snap, slipped, and then yelled “Field, Field!” Rolle went into an exaggerated Bugs Bunny hip circle as he got into his stance.

Field 4: Didn’t see it that well, the Offense was still running plays.

On the other side of Field 4, the DT’s were working on gap drills.

Field 3: Safeties were working on backpedal and interception drills. You could hear the coach going “Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, BREAK!!” when they did that.

Field 4: Now all the D Line is doing fumble recovery drills.

Field 4: The QB’s are working with TE’s/WR’s/RB’s on catches.

Field 5: O Line is doing stance drills (where they start low, then come up and shadow block imaginary defensive players).

On Field 3, there are now two groups of DB’s. The safeties run 5 yards right, catch the ball, then circle back and catch the ball deep on the left sideline.

The CB’s are working on coverage. One DB catches the ball in the short flat, the other breaks back then comes forward to close on the first one.

Field 4: LB’s are working against other LB’s playing offensive linemen using foam arm shields.

Field 4: Hey, it’s “Ball on a Stick” drills for the D Line!

Field 5: O Line pulling drills. I notice Sintim sitting by the bicycles…He simply does not look anywhere near ready to play this year. He’s trying to stay involved, but it’s hard when you have to go slow.

Field 4: CB’s are working on defending short curls with proper positioning. The safeties are working on inside position when the WR does a middle drag route, then trying to get inside position on sideline routes.

Field 4: Now all the defensive players are on Field 4. They are doing coverage/pass rush drills as a unit.

Horn.

Field 4: The Offense (QB’s, RB’s TE’s, O Line) vs Defense (D Line, LB’s, Safeties). This will be all runs:

Eli: Ware up the middle.

Carr: Pitch toss left to Brown. Then Brown up middle (stuffed by Hendricks). Scott off tackle right.

Perrilloux: Martinek up the middle (this guy has more speed than I thought). Wilson off tackle right. Wilson tries the middle but Mr. Tracy says otherwise!

Horn.

Field 3: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Eli: Bradshaw up the middle. Cruz stumbles on the left sideline, misses pass.

Horn.

The offense is on field 4, the defense on field 3. Both are running plays, but at a very quick pace, almost a 2 minute pace.

Horn.

Field 3: Offense vs Defense

Eli: Hands off to Bradshaw up the middle. Cruz with a catch up the right sideline vs a zone. Eli overthrows Cruz on a middle slant.

Carr: Hands off to Brown off tackle right. Barden with a nice route and impressive reception. Carr’s now in the shotgun, but hands off to Brown for a middle run. Carr then misses (or throws away the ball because of coverage) Barden.

Perrilloux: Wilson off tackle right, then off tackle left, then up the middle.

Horn.

Field 3: KO Return with Randle, Hixon, Jernigan and Hosley. Coach Coughlin isn’t happy about something, and yells out “What the hell are you doing???”

I notice that Canty and Beckum are walking back to the locker room.

Jernigan gets applause from the crowd with a crisp mixture of moves to score untouched.

Field 2: The QB’s are working on long (30 plus yards and longer) passes to Cruz.

Horn.

Now it’s Defense vs Offense, 11 on 11 Field 3

Eli: Hixon with a catch of a long curl on the left sideline vs Coe. Wilson runs off tackle left, but that has to hurt as Rogers had a good grip on his facemask! I think Shaun’s taking this seriously!

Eli to Cruz on a middle curl. Ware up the middle but Mr. Kiwanuka says “Nope!” Then a pass to the right flat to Hixon.

Carr: Catch by Collins on a left out. Scott off tackle right. Collins catches a long one but it’s out of bounds thanks to a good play by Coe!

Perrilloux: Tries to hit Douglas on the right sideline, but the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage. Martinek with a catch on the left flat…he shows perfect form, and catches the ball naturally. Wilson up the middle, then Martinek off tackle left.

Eli: Tries to hit Hixon off the middle, but Domenik gets tangled up with a DB, and can’t get to the spot. Eli in shotgun with another pass right on the hands of Hynoski, who also is catching the ball well this camp. Then Eli does a play action pass to Bradshaw in the left flat.

Eli: Does a sprint right then pass to Cruz on the right flat. Bradshaw off tackle right. Ware up the middle.

Carr: Passes to Scott on the right sideline, for no gain. Scott up the middle…nope, Herzlich’s there.

There’s a player down on the field…it’s #74, Dwayne Hendricks, DT. All the players kneel down as the trainers check his knees out. After 4-5 minutes, he’s supported by a couple of coaches and limps over the sideline. I lost track of him after that.

Carr: Hard count, then Stanback makes a superior grab over Tryon; it was really nice, as Stanback makes this catch with Tryon already having wrapped his arms around #18!

Carr: Throws the ball to the right sideline for a catch, but I couldn’t see the WR. Then play action to Scott, but the pass is too far to the outside to catch.

Perrilloux: Wilson off tackle right. Wilson shows he’s got push moving Greg Jones back a few feet when they collide off tackle right! Now a screen to Bennett, and #85 flies up the left sideline!

Perrilloux: Play Action to Tally on the left sideline (crossing pattern). Douglas with a nice leaping catch over Bing. Martinek up the middle, then Wilson off tackle right.

Whistle.

Field 3: Offense vs Defense, 11 on 11

Green Zone time!

Carr: Stanback with a catch on the right sideline. Brown off tackle right. Brown with a catch on the right sideline. Hey, I see Blackburn on the field!

Perrilloux: Wilson off tackle left. Douglas AGAIN with a spectacular

skying over Janzen Jackson in the right endzone to score a TD!

Eli: Pass to Hixon up the middle for a TD. Ware off tackle right. Shotgun, goes back, but no one open (sack). Bradshaw handoff up the midle. Then Eli with the “I got this” look throws to Cruz

Cruz with a leaping grab over Coe for a 40 yd plus reception on the left sideline!

Carr: Passes to Brown up the middle flat, and practice ends.

What you didn’t see after practice

The players do the rubber band stretch, then group together in a big circle. Corey Webster’s son is carrying his helmet to the circle. After a couple of minutes, everyone yells “TEAM” and breaks into smaller circles, (D Line, O Line, etc).

Field 5: Snee, Boothe and Diehl are hitting not the sled, but a series of individual foam players staked into the ground.

Field 4: The DB’s are hitting the sled! (Not the multiple player sled, but an individual sled).

The QB’s and D Linemen are doing sideline to sideline sprints on Field 2.

The 40 second clock is on the field!

Notes

My impressions of the VIP seats.

They are nice, but come early…the good spots fill up fast. Why parents bring kids and don’t make them sit in the stands infuriates me. There was a family with several kids who were in between stands, and they were poking out…the staff asked them several times to move back, as the kids were in danger.

Now, I have had a football player hit me close to full speed (in Arena Football, if you have seats by the dasher boards, you can have a player or players dive or be hit over and hit you). Trust me, it hurt.

Even an AFL player, who is lighter, hurts like hell (they re wearing full pads and a helmet, by the way), and can cause serious damage. An NFL player can break you in two, and I hate to see one hit a kid.

Also, I see people walking up and down the sidelines and NOT looking at the action on the field. That’s beyond stupid. Stay safe, people!