Jul 292012
 
Share Button
July 29, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

“Gentlemen,This is a Football” Edition

“Everybody stop and gather around,” he said. Then he knelt down, picked up the pigskin, and said, “Let’s start at the beginning. This is a football. These are the yard markers. I’m the coach. You are the players.”

-Vince Lombardi

I remember the two (players) at Giants camp in Winooski, Vermont, who climbed the fire escape after curfew but picked the wrong window and became entangled in the venetian blinds in the room of Doc Sweeney, the Giants trainer. I remember the defensive end who was tiptoeing down the hall one night, his shoes in his hand, when Jim Lee Howell, who was coaching the Giants then, surprised him

‘You going somewhere?’ Jim said.

‘Why yes.’ the end said, and you had to grade him high on his speed of reaction. ‘I lost my wallet, so I thought I’d go out and try to find it.’

‘I see,’ Jim said. ‘You planning to sneak up on it?”

- Vince Lombardi, Run to Daylight

Day 3 of camp is somewhat dreary in the morning, with drizzle and gray skies. The weatherman is optimistic for the afternoon, though, and so am I! Off to the Accord, and after the stop for Coffee I’m on my way to Camp. Temps in the ’70′s, but it should get warmer. Let’s go!

Well, I though I’d get an early start. I’m not used to all these cars in the parking lots, though. Wow, people are getting the hint, it’s a long hike to the fields, so they are getting a real early start.

After my hike around the lacrosse fields, I finally get to the lower fields, where practice is being held today. I’ll explain the way I number the fields, so the report makes some sense. UA is building their new football field where field 1 used to be. For reference, it’s where the old autograph alley used to be. Sadly, while I didn’t see it, I’m sure that’s all torn up, and all the shade trees there gone. It will be missed! Field 2 is to the left of field 1, and field 3 is to the left of field 2.

On the other side, closer to Western Avenue are Field 4 (sideways to fields 1 and 2), and field 5 (to field 4′s left). That should help!

Practice today used fields 2, 3, 4; most of the action was on field 2. On Field 3, Tynes was off to that side, while the rest of the players filtered in. The obligatory ‘CRUUUZE” chant, as well as all sorts of noise was coming from the fans on the hill. What the players think about that I have no idea; I’m guessing they just concentrate on their business. I did notice Austin was doing a lot of groin stretches, but it didn’t seem to affect his play today.

The infamous punt/kickoff machine is out today, but Weatherford is doing the punting to start off punt returns. Hixon, Jernigan, Randle, Hosley and Cruz returned them, and everyone did well except for one bad drop by Jernigan. On average, though, he’s been really good with punt returns, though no one is as polished as Hixon. In case you’re wondering, Sash was the fullback on the punt team, and Kiwi was on the punt team as well.

On the sidelines, the D Line was hanging out, with Tuck and the others all smiling. Well, who decides to come in and shake everyone’s hand? It’s newcomer Marcellus Bennett! Over on Field 3, it’s now the QB’s working on footwork, and the O Line doing pulling drills.

Horn.

Sprints, Skips, Ballet kicks…this show is getting ready for Broadway!

I notice Rivers and Boley walking off during the calisthenics over to the corner of field 4, where they are probably doing some more serious stretches with the PUP people (Canty, Sintim, Beckum). It’s really far away, and hard to pick up even with field glasses. I do spot Nicks in the same field, doing some loosening up, and doing some relaxed jogging 20 yards one way, then back. He’s not pushing it.

Horn.

The QB’s and O Line are off to field 4 for more drills. On Field 2, the Punt/KO machine is being used, and it’s the same group as before minus Cruz. More sub groups with the RB’s/LB’s working together on blocking/fighting off the blocks; the safeties/CB’s are working on double teams and then press coverage, and the WR’s are working on something that looks like pick plays; oops, I mean crossing plays, of course!!

Horn.

Hey, the Sun’s out! And the temps are starting to rise!

The D is on field 2, and is working on something that simulates contact (using cushioned arm shields). The players with the yellow/orange caps smack the regular players (not on the head!) with the shields, to simulate blocks.

The O is on field 4, running through plays.

Now, the D splits off into 3 groups. I look at the D Line first.

Ah, it’s running over pylons flat on the ground (the foot drill); first you step over each, then you run around them to work on lateral mobility.

The other defensive players are working on technique stuff. For example, a CB or LB may be working on inside, and then outside coverage.

The D Line is now running sideways over the pylons, then hitting the pop up dummy I mentioned yesterday. While Rogers is surprisingly nimble on his feet, I just get a feeling that JPP is not going as all out as usual. I can’t pin it down, but he simply does not look like he’s being aggressive. He’d doing all the plays, and not favoring anything, but it’s like he’s being cautious, possibly wanting his ankle to recover. He’s not as explosive as I’ve seen him.

The safeties are doing a drill where the coach throws them a ball while they are back-pedaling. They break back to the pass, but the passes are intentionally off the mark (High, low, left right).

Water Break.

Now, the LB’s and CB’s are in the middle of field 2, practicing coverages. The coach calls out a coverage, and they respond when the defensive players with the caps (the simulated offense) try a play. The QB’s and most of the offensive guys are on Field 4, doing pitch and catch, as well as running plays.

On Field 3, Weatherford is working on taking bad snaps for FG’s and putting the ball down. Tynes is working on kicking FG’s, or shaving the grass with his feet, I’m not sure which.

Now, the players move again, and the offense (QB’s, WR’s, TE’s) are back on field 2, to the delight of the crowd. Perrilloux sticks around field 4 and works on running plays. Eli tosses a pass to Randle. Randle really has nice form, looks the ball into his hands, like Hixon does. Really natural. Bennett slips on the right sideline, and does not get to an Eli out pass. Bing had really tight coverage on him; I’m not sure that pass is completed anyway. Now Carr is in, and he tries to pass to TE Robinson that’s knocked down by Stevie Brown. Hixon on the next play fakes Terrell Thomas out so badly he falls down (it was a wicked double move) on the left, though T2 might have slipped as well. Oh, and the field wasn’t that bad…I didn’t see obvious divots. Barden with a nice catch over Coe, who had tight coverage. Randle had a brain fart the next play, he stopped in the middle of a route. Hhe’ll get drilled in film study when they see that..though it was his only bad play that day.

Horn.

The offense does pass routes walk-throughs on the far side of field 2. Closer to me, the defense was practicing sliding to the left or right for gap coverage drills, with defensive players with yellow/orange caps simulating the offense.

Hey, who is that #72 wearing a cap? He just SCORED at TD! The Crowd goes nuts, and Osi does a Flying Elvii leap with another player!! The grin on his face is from ear to ear, he’s having a blast at camp!

Horn.

It’s offense vs defense again.

Eli’s up. Eli completes to Cruz in the flat, but Kenny Philips makes sure it’s for no gain. Then Bradshaw has a nice burst up the middle, followed by a middle handoff to Ware. Hey, Eli ran into the “trees”…Joseph knocks down a pass! Bradshaw with a left off tackle run, then Ware gets stuffed up a middle run thanks to Joseph and Rodgers. No room at the inn for you, son! Randle with a nice route on the left sideline where he drives Coe back, then comes back to Eli. This kid is going to be killer with the back shoulder pass. Barden with a catch up the right sideline, short. Randle with another smooth catch up the right side!

Now out comes the Carr. Hand off to Andre Brown with a nice burst off right tackle. Wilson with ANOTHER double move up the middle. Let me explain..this guy’s feet are almost too fast to follow, if you blink he’s gone through the hole. He makes a move to the right, then to the left, then up without stopping…and he’s small enough to get lost behind the linemen. This kid is going to have a monster year once he learns to block. Carr then gets intercepted by Sash, who returns it for a TD! Wilson can catch, too..he grabs a Carr pass up the middle. Randle with another smooth catch.

Perrilloux’s turn, and he hands the ball to Andre Brown up the middle. Douglas with a nice drive the CB and come back catch on the left sideline. Brown again with a handoff off right tackle. Wilson does a Joe Morris “peek a boo” up the middle. Perrilloux’s best pass of the camp comes next, where he spits double coverage with a rocket out to Douglas up the left sideline. Nice!! Wilson ends this with a off tackle run, and the horn sounds with a big cheer from the crowd. This practice is crisp today, TC has to be pleased.

Punt returns, but this time with both gunners and the punt team going after the PR guy! Jernigan shows crisp moves on the first punt. Randle tries to outrun the punt team going to his right (that’s a rookie mistake that you can’t get away with at this level, and TC will grill him on it). Hosley takes a PR that he should have called a fair catch on (the gunner would have killed him).

Ah, it’s FG/XP time! Tynes is picture perfect on 5 tries, hitting the tower on 4 of them from 5-20 yds out; the only one that didn’t hit the tower was caught by the cameraman on TOP of the tower, to great applause!

Now it’s 7 on 7′s. Eli to Cruz with a short sideline dump pass. Corey intercepts him with a GREAT break on Cruz; check out the highlights if they are on Giants.com, that was an amazing catch (he tipped it, then caught it). Randle with a nice slide catch. Then Eli throws HIS best pass of the camp with a 35 yard out to the left sideline to Jernigan that was the splitting image of Mario’s SB catch! Bradshaw with a very nice catch of a sideline pass (his arms were away from his body, he plucked it out of the air).

Carr to Brown on a middle pass, then misses Randle on the right sideline. Hits DePalma, then another pass to DePalma that was stripped out of his hands. Stanback with a nice diving catch.Herzlich gets a play, he knocks a pass down intended for Bear.

Perrilloux’s in, and he can’t find a WR (sack). On the next play he finds Douglas up the right sideline. Nice pass to Stanback, who catches a slant in heavy traffic. DePalma gets another pass, then Perrilloux overthrows Talley going up the right sideline. Stanback with another nice slant catch! Then a handoff to Wilson up the middle.

During all this, I was watching the D Line on the left sideline. Austin is getting heavy instruction from Rogers; he is deadly serious with the kid, who is soaking all this up. Meanwhile, Osi is coaching Tracey like there’s no tomorrow; you can see him working on Tracey’s outside move. I’ve NEVER see Osi this involved; it’s like he and Rogers are two extra coaches. Wow!

Horn.

Offense vs Defense.

Eli’s in. Not a great start, as he overthrows Cruz up the middle. Handoff to Ware off tackle left sideline. Bradshaw gets stuffed up the middle. Ware gets stuffed off tackle right!! Eli’s pass to the right gets deflected by either Tuck or Blackburn…wow, the D is pumped up! Eli comes back though with a pass to Barden who drove the CB back enough for him to make a comeback catch. Stanback with a nice bubble screen pass!

Carr in, and an off tackle right run by Brown. Stanback again drives the CB and comes back for a reception. Hynoski with a nice catch! Wilson off tackle right run. Greg Jones runs him out of bounds for a sack. Wilson shows great concentration with a reception of a tipped pass from Carr!

Perrilloux is in and passes to Douglas (though he would have been sacked…play took too long). Overthrows Hopkins. Wilson with an off tackle right run. Purvis with a nice catch of a high pass on the left sideline.Martinek gets stuffed up the middle.

Green Zone Time!

Eli hands off to Hixon for an OPTION PASS! (Don’t faint!) But he runs out of bounds, nobody open. Eli then does a sprint right but misses Hixon who was doing a flag route in the end zone. Handoff to Bradshaw up the middle, then the crowd goes WILD as Bennett makes a nice snatch of a seam pass up the middle for a TD!

Carr in, and he dumps off to Hixon on the left. Overthrows Barden on a slant. Middle dump pass to Collins; then Stanback with a bad drop of a
comeback. Brown up the middle.

Perrilloux in, and he hits Douglas on a slant for a TD! Nice catch by Stanback on the right, then Martinek up the middle.

Practice ends.

What you didn’t see after practice:

The rubber bands are back, as the players use them to loosen up after practice ends!

Petrus and Mosley are still working on O Line stuff. Petrus with the hand waving we all saw with the Bradshaw video! Classic!

Hopkins and Bear working on the Tackling Sled way in the back on field 4.

Eli and Weatheford playing with Weatherford’s 2 kids, who were at practice today.

Eli and Perrilloux doing sideline to sideline sprints, then Eli signing stuff for some Syracuse players (I think).

Nice practice, lots of energy, and lots of Sun! Let’s keep this up!

Jul 292012
 
Share Button
July 29, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 282012
 
Share Button
July 28, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Beez

After The Allmans and Santana

The Beezages found ourselves on the way back from Allman Brothers/Santana at SPAC early today, so what better stop-off than the Home of the Danes? So, we popped in. For the record, Gregg Allman looks (and sings) like the old man he is, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks were incredible, and Carlos was crisp, clean and fantastic. Great double-bill that was made better when Haynes and Trucks joined Santana on stage for 3-4 songs later in the evening.

On to camp.

First a little housekeeping. Lots of on-campus construction. From what I can tell, the one biggie that will affect BBIers is that when you trek on foot across from the Best Western (or thereabouts), walking through the little wooded short-cut then up the path, don’t expect to take the usual right-hand turn when you’re past the fenced fields and head up toward the rec building and “the hill.” That entire area is shut down. It’s open only for player parking access. So we had to walk all the way up and around the building, up the stairs (where the giant inflatable Giant often resides) and around through the stadium way. That breeze-way, where we have often seen the concessions tent set up, was shut off today. You were re-directed around to the stadium. The concessions tent wasn’t in the breeze-way either, but was long the back side of the stadium bleachers. Not sure if that’ll be moved for next weekend or beyond, but worth a mention. A longer hike from the usual digs.

Overall impressions …

As it typically goes, you’re only able to watch certain things at one time. First, the receivers.

Relatively speaking, we may be seeing Rueben Randle as a nice pick-up and maybe a guy who can get some touches here and there. After seeing him today, I’m pretty excited. If the Giants did not possess one of the more talented groups of catchers, we might be quite a bit more openly fired up about the arrival of this “new 82.” At first glance, the guy looks big. He’s listed at 6-2, 208 on the BBI roster, while Mario Manningham is 6 feet tall and around 185. First thing I thought was, “looks like a Hakeem Nicks clone.” Strangely enough, Nicks is listed at 6-1, 208. Then you start watching him run through drills and it’s tough to contain the grin. This kid has that “it” we all love to see. Really trying to hold back because, yeah yeah … it’s camp. But man …

Then there’s another presence out there in those same group drills and it’s extremely refreshing. Domenik Hixon running routes, looking re-charged, pounding down hard and making precise cuts. My bet is that Hixon leads the Giants in receiving a few times out of the gate, the beneficiary of single coverage when teams throw up their hands and say, “what the hell do we do here?”

Jerrel Jernigan, used in the right spots, could just be what we always had hoped Sinorice Moss would be. They have him split to both sides at times, in a slot others, going deep and crossing. Today he also caught a quick-hitter just off the line. The big upside with Jernigan is after-the-catch potential, it seems, the guy is slippery. Seems to have decent hands, too.

Isaiah Stanback isn’t a name you’re going to read much of on BBI, and probably with good reason. He’s a soon-to-be 28-year-old journeyman wideout who has 5 career catches with the Cowboys and Pats. Big deal. But at 6-2, 228, he looked very solid today catching the football. Went up high a couple times to bring the ball in. Wonder what the story is with this guy?

Have to toss in Dan DePalma. This is the kid who played the dual roles of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman before the Super Bowl, and who was called by Perry Fewell the “quickest” and “hardest working” New York Giant wide receiver. Well, he looks like Welker on the field, and seeing him there makes you wonder. He’s got quick feet, makes precise cuts and he pulls the ball in when it’s thrown his way. Also seems to be able to make moves after the catch. Another practice squad season? Or is there more? Should be interesting to watch.

Last mention of a WR … Ramses Barden. As much as I want this guy to succeed, it’s hard to see it happening. Do you keep a 6-6 receiver for spots? A guy who, at moments today, looked like a large puppy loping around out there, unsure of exactly how to manage the length of his limbs. Maybe he was getting more time last season toward the end, but with Hixon back and Randle looking like an NFL receiver, and a couple other intriguing weapons … get a good look at Barden now, folks. Just my gut after seeing him flail around the field today.

At running back, it was nice to watch Ahmad Bradshaw running smoothly. He was making cuts and pushing through holes in the line without apparent effort. Knocking on wood here, but the ankles didn’t appear to be an issue.

One word best describes my first look at David Wilson, live – wow. I get why everyone, including his new quarterback, are so excited about the kid. Wilson looks small out there, of course, but in shells, one thing you quickly notice is the definition in his calves. It looks like there’s a potato imbedded behind each of his shins. And I suppose that must mean that potatoes help a guy run fast and cut like a poor man’s Barry Sanders. Every time #34 got the ball, there were two, three different speeds he would run at, and it’s not as though he’s laying down his best stuff on Day 2. He stops on a dime, veers effortlessly and from a stopped position, the acceleration … wow. Does he have good hands, you ask? On swing-out to the right, backup QB Ryan Perrilloux lofted a pass way up the ladder (he was high on throws all day). Wilson extended fully and plucked it with two open hands, then darted up the sideline. Instant excitement.

DJ Ware and Andre Brown seemed to get about equal touches. Neither one does anything especially spectacular once they have the football, but then again, we all knew that. Although they’re both listed at right about the same size (6 feet, 225/227), Ware is more sleek, while Brown like the closest thing we have to a guy who could posterize Laron Landry … again. Which ones stays, which one goes? Ware is the safe bet, of course.

The fullback thing is just one example of a team that, on paper, shouldn’t have so many intriguing question marks. But this team does, and FB is interesting. In one guy, Henry Hynoski, you have a second-year bruiser who has a Super Bowl ring. But then you see Joe Martinek, just 225 pounds of him (or 41 pounds fewer than Hynoski), and you salivate thinking of the ways Kevin Gilbride could work this kid into the mix. He has some quickness, showed some good hands today, so will this selfless, solid blocker work his way onto the final roster as a special-teamer?

Going through my notes, more observations:

* Chris Snee and Mitch Petrus matched up during O-line pad drills. Fun to watch these two bulls go at it.

* Victor Cruz can do no wrong. He could drop trow and take a dump on the practice field and fans at camp would scream Cruuuuuuuz. He catches a routine 5-yard out? Cruuuuuuuz. Annoying. But I suppose the guy has earned it. After all, with Hakeem Nicks watching on the side, Cruz brought the most excitement today from the catcher ranks. The guy must have Spidey-grip because on a few balls thrown his way, he had no business coming up with them. On a couple, he did, one a one-hander along the sideline. On two others, he nearly made more one-handers. Scary.

* TE Larry Donnell may have no chance to make the final roster, but he impressed with a nice leaping grab on a too-high toss from David Carr.

* Already mentioned Dan DePalma, but worth a second nod … he made a really sweet and equally tough catch (see: Jim Edmonds going over the shoulder while running toward the center field wall) that was a crowd-pleaser.

* From the category of “no kidding” comes this: Jason Pierre-Paul looks thick as hell. If Justin Tuck is 270 and Pierre-Paul is 280? Um … I think more.

* The last time I wrote a camp report that mentioned a guy wearing #55, I recall describing Lavar Arrington’s movements on the practice field as a shark trolling the water for lunch. It’s been a while, but there’s another shark in town, wearing that same number (Keith Rivers).

* TE Bear Pascoe continues to look like the guy who does absolutely nothing flashy, yet everything he’s asked to do. He caught everything that was thrown his way.

* During 11-on-11s, David Carr’s pass fell short over the middle. The defense is in full playoff swing. While it was clearly an incomplete pass, the second the ball hit the turf, there were screams of “FUMBLE” and a scramble began for the “loose” ball. Good to see.

* Carr to Wilson, complete along the right sideline … cutting, accelerating. Wow.

* Twice during scrimmage situations, D-linemen batted down thrown balls. Justin Tuck got one, and Shaun Rogers got a mitt on another one later. Both times, it was fun and alarming to see/hear Perry Fewell erupt out of a sea of blue and white jerseys along the side of the scrimmage, screaming and running into the mix of players. Each time, he located the ball-batter and whacked him on the butt. Fewel is fired up!

* Punter Steve Weatherford is this team’s Phil McConkey. Horn sounds and immediately Weatherford starts screaming “FIELD GOAL! FIELD GOAL!” over everything else. Linebackers head to one spot where they’re working on “push” over the center snap on a FG try. Defensive backs are running gauntlets through assistant coaches and their assistants on simulated snaps, trying to get to an imaginary holder for a chance at a block. And there’s Weatherford, holding Zak DeOssie’s snaps for Lawrence Tynes when suddenly he’s off to the races, peeling right and around the outside. He runs to daylight (it was all daylight), then runs and jumps high, bouncing off the upper shoulder of Dave Diehl, who seemed like a tolerant big brother. And Steve Weatherford wasn’t good enough for the New York Jets. Love it!

* Short or long drills, fades and outs, 11-on-11s, 7-on-7s, Eli Manning looked sharp as a tack. His passes were on, his confidence seemed high and … oh wait. He’s got the job, right? Yeah. I guess it’s his to lose.

The rain came toward the end, but didn’t deter the ridiculous number of Giants “fans” who were on hand to collect autographs. We were relieved when both of our kids said we needed to go and get out of that crowd. After all, we’d be back next Friday to see Eli accept the Hope Trophy.

Jul 282012
 
Share Button
July 28, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

“Pied Piper Autograph Day” Edition

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

- Robert Browning, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

They’re back at Giants camp today, though!

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

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

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

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

Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horn sounds.

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

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

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

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

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

Horn.

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

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

Horn sounds.

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

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

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

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

Horn.

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

Horn.

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

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

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

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

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

Horn. FG time.

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

Horn.

7 on 7′s!!! This is fun to watch!

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

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

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

Horn.

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

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

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

Horn.

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

Full Offense Vs Defense.

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

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

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

Practice Ends!

What you didn’t see after practice:

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

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

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

Jul 282012
 
Share Button
July 28, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 272012
 
Share Button
July 27, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF

“Call of the Wild” Camp Opening

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

Jack London, The Call of the Wild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things you didn’t see after practice ends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 272012
 
Share Button
July 27, 2012 New York Giants Training Camp Report

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

Day One of Training Camp.  Super Bowl Champs Draw Big Crowd

This is the 16th time that the Giants have trained at SUNY Albany.  I’ve been here for most of them.  I know from experience that big news seldom happens on the field on Day One.  Nevertheless, as is customary for Day One, the media was out in force.  TV cameramen, still photographers and reporters of every persuasion were shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines just in case something newsworthy happened.  And of course, the place was packed with happy Giants fans who came to watch their heroes, take photos, and perhaps get an autograph.

Hundred of thousands of dollars worth of cameras took thousands of photos and hours of footage in the quest for a single photo worthy of the back page, or 10 seconds of air time on ABC or CBS News.  After all, the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions.  That alone, makes this an event that is worthy of coverage.  Ahh! Super Bowl champions.  I like the sound of that.

The annual opening practice media glut usually prevents me and the regular Giants beat writers from getting an unobstructed view of the field.  That is something that we have come to expect and we just have to put up with it until things calm down and the sidelines thin out in a few days.  But today was a little different.

It rained all morning and the four practice fields were soggy, so they switched the practice to the main field.  It has much better drainage and much more room along the sidelines for the press and cameramen to stand.  By the end of the practice it was sunny, humid and about eighty degrees.

Although last year’s NFL labor problems prevented the Giants from training in Albany, it made this year’s camp doubly exciting.  There are 90 players on the roster instead of 80 and lots of new faces.  There is the promise of last year’s rookies who will be improving with every practice.  For instance, DT Marvin Austin, S Tyler Sash, CB Prince Amukamara, LBs Jacquian Williams and Mark Herzlich, and OT James Brewer.

There are a raft of injured veteran players who are perhaps ready to get back to where they left off like OT William Beatty, DE Justin Tuck, CB Terrell Thomas  and CB Bruce Johnson, and there are newly acquired veteran players like LB Keith Rivers, DT Shaun Rogers, TE Martellus Bennett, and OT Sean Locklear, who may be able to make an immediate impact.

Most exciting of all, are this year’s draft choices, because they are mysteries.  Can they make a difference?  Can they excel?  Personally, I am thrilled that our first three choices are an RB, WR, and CB, respectively.  Those positions can demonstrate their talents on the practice field, so I will be writing about them in my reports, whereas LBs and linemen really can’t be evaluated or written about with any certainty until they play in actual games with actual hitting.

It is going to take at least a few practices for Tom Coughlin and the rest of the coaches to sort things out.  Until then, things will be in a constant state of flux.  There will be new players arriving in camp all the time.  S Deon Grant is expected to be at the top of that list.  There will undoubtedly be players on the final roster who are not yet on the team.

The Giants only have about month to get down to 53 players.  That will be more difficult this year because of the CBA inspired shorter practice schedule.

As always, my thanks to Pat Hanlon for making my job easier.  Okay, enough preamble, here’s what I saw on the field:

In the past, Head Coach Tom Coughlin put the team in shorts and shells rather than in full pads for the first few practice sessions.  It kept them cooler as they eased into the training camp routine and reinforced the non-contact aspect of the practice.  They focused more on fundamentals such as where to line up and they executed the techniques and the plays that they were learning at a walking pace, rather than at full tilt.  If there was a second practice that day, the players would be given the chance to run the plays that they walked through in the earlier session.  Except for the absence of a second practice, things were pretty much as usual.

The Giants were wearing helmets, shorts, and jerseys with little or no discernible padding.  LS Zak DeOssie was wearing shoulder pads and P Steve Weatherford was wearing his regular uniform pants rather than shorts.  Clearly, they want to make punts and snaps as realistic as possible.

Keeping in mind the lack of pads, the Giants looked sharp.  Nobody muffed a punt and nobody dropped a pass that they reasonably should have caught, well, except for RB Da’Rel Scott who had a quick pass over the middle from QB David Carr bounce off his hands.  All of the QBs were throwing passes in the 5-15 yard range.

The only really deep pass was an interception thrown by Carr and intended for WR Rueben Randle.  It looked like CB Prince Amukamara and S Stevie Brown were with him all the way down the sidelines and Prince was in the best position to catch it.  It was an impressive interception and indicates that Prince may be healthy at last.

That was the only time that Randle failed to make a catch.  I think his best catch was a line drive 15-20 yard pass from QB Ryan Perrilloux that Randle caught in stride with a semi over-the-shoulder-semi basket catch.

Rueben was also catching punts (and made some nice moves), along with WRs Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, and Jerrel Jernigan (who also looked good catching punts), and CB Jayron Hosley.  P Steve Weatherford looked very strong and very accurate on just about all of his punts.  He did not look like he was even exerting himself and the ball would just explode off his foot.

If given time, Steve was perfect.  When the defense rushed him, I think he lost some concentration.  There was one punt that went twenty yards over the receivers heads and into the defensive linemen who were watching the punting drill.  DT Marvin Austin pretended that he was going to catch it and that brought a laugh out of the crowd.  I like a guy with a sense of humor.

Speaking of humor, there is S Antrel Rolle’s Mohawk haircut.  On the left side of his head where his hair should be, he has a large design in a shade of neon green known as chartreuse.  Humor aside, Rolle made an excellent pass defense on an Eli Manning pass intended for Domenik Hixon.  Hixon redeemed himself later on, with a diving sliding reception of a Manning pass.

Aside from the punting drills, all of the defensive players worked on stripping the ball from behind.  The WRs also practiced getting off the line of scrimmage against the DBs.  I don’t think that WR Ramses Barden did a bad job of it.  He also made an outstanding catch in traffic over CB Jayron Hosley on a pass from David Carr.

RB David Wilson made a leaping catch over the middle on a pass from QB Ryan Perrilloux.  RB D.J. Ware showed some speed on his hand offs and showed a nice spin move as well.  RB Andre Brown also showed some speed, along with making a few nice catches.

FB Henry Hynoski had two catches and showed some power running after the catch.  He has an enormous chest and shoulders.  He runs like a bull.  The catches that he made last year were not flukes.

Surprisingly, after all the knocks on Bear Pascoe in BBI, he made several nifty catches.  If he has the ability to get open, he could be a pass catching weapon.  I do not believe that TE Martellus Bennett was the target of any throws today.

QB Eli Manning looked sharp except for a pass that he appeared to throw directly to LB Michael Boley for an easy interception.  Maybe the target was WR Victor Cruz who made several nice receptions.  A much harder interception was made by LB Jake Muasau on a pass from Ryan Perrilloux to WR David Douglas.  The pass was either behind Douglas or high.  It bounced off his hands and into the air.  Jake made a diving grab for the turnover.

Rookie WR Brandon Collins made a nice catch of a Ryan Perrilloux pass by outfighting the DB.

Addendum:

Some observations are in order regarding yesterday’s practice–not based on what I saw yesterday, but on what I didn’t see.  I only just realized it.  Yesterday’s opening practice was impressively smooth.  The players knew what they were supposed to do and more importantly, they were able to do it.  It looked like what you would expect from a championship team, with smart and talented players filling the entire squad.

In past years, the first day of camp was often pretty ragged.  The areas where drastic improvements needed to made were painfully obvious.  I doubt that anyone will forget the shock of seeing Matt Dodge mess up half his punts on the first day of camp.

Yesterday was not ragged.  There were very few obvious mental errors, or error in execution.   There were no fumbled center snaps and no missed handoffs.  There were no muffed punt returns.  Linemen were not jumping offsides (with the sole exception of Rookie OT Matt McCants, who might have been fooled by QB David Carr’s excellent hard count).

Plays were well executed.  There was an end around play from QB Ryan Perrilloux to WR Julian Talley that was perfectly executed.  That type of play is usually a recipe for disaster in camp.  The same goes for the bubble screen that Ryan Perrilloux threw to WR Isaiah Stanback.  Nobody even fell down except for RB Andre Brown on a running play.  I’m guessing that he slipped making a cut.

There were no fights.  I heard no coaches yelling to players to get them properly positioned.  I saw no QBs instructing the RB where to stand in the backfield.  I did not see any coaches taking players aside to correct their mistakes.

There were no horribly thrown passes.  All of the passes were zipped and had little air under them.  In the past there were always one or two passes that fell untouched on a vacant patch of ground.  Most of the passes were made in rhythm.  That is, the QB takes the snap, drops back and throws the ball with little or no hesitation.  Although there were times when the QBs could not find an open receiver and would have been sacked, it was less frequent than usual.

I’m sure that much of the good passing is due to having three veteran QBs, who all have a good command of the playbook.  Also, this year there is no 4th QB in camp, whose only purpose is to take some of the passing load off the arms of the other QBs.

I saw no lumbering linemen with guts overtopping their belts, but more about that when I see the team in full pads.

Aug 072011
 
Share Button
August 7, 2011 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor UberAlias

The team had their pads on tonight and they had the refs there so they got in a lot of team work.

There was a pretty funny incident at the beginning of practice a fan walked by with a Tony Romo Jersey and got a lot of shouts from the fans. He was standing by the fence where the running backs were on the far side and they and took notice. Jacobs picked up a football and acted like he was going to whip it into the fence at him. The fans started egging him on and it looked to me like he was seriously considering doing it but his better judgment won out.

In the early drills they split up into a few groups and had the pass catchers and defensive backs working together on the main field. There were some good battles here but the biggest play was a 40 yarder from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks to beat Terrell Thomas and Kenny Phillips. Thomas had good coverage but it was an absolutely perfect throw from #10.

One interesting observation here. I was wondering where Phillips was since I did not see him at all in this drill. I was worried he may have been injured at first but then realized that he was over working with the linebackers. They have mentioned they wanted to protect Phillips last year but clearly intend to have him working up in the box this year and believe he can be a real difference maker for them in that role. This team needs a physical presence in the back 7 and would love to see KP step up. Recall the Pittsburgh game his rookie year.

The team ran a lot of three wide receiver sets that saw Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks on the outside and Mario Manningham in the slot.

I watched the LBs for a bit. Clint Sintim made a play from the far side of the field to make a stop of RB Da’Rel Scott close to the line of scrimmage. Jon Goff has impressed me. I think he’s a lock to retain his starting spot and think he’s going to be a solid middle linebacker for us this year. Overall there is some good potential in this group and I am very anxious to see them in live action next week.

Terrell Thomas is getting a lot of work covering the slot and they have him doing double duty as a starter with the 1s but also getting extra work with the 2s and 3s covering the slot receiver and rotating with Aaron Ross.

A few guys who looked good today were safety Tyler Sash who had a couple of stops and batted down one of Eli’s passes. They seem to be gaining confidence in the kid and have him seeing some action as the 3rd safety with the 1s.

A guy who has surprised me and having a pretty good camp after showing disappointingly little last year is wide receiver Darius Reynaud. He flashes some good quickness and has looked pretty good in both returns and as a wideout.

But the guy who really jumped out at me tonight was halfback Andre Brown who was impressive both running and catching the ball out of the backfield and just seemed to be working at a different speed than everyone else.

Aug 062011
 
Share Button
August 5, 2011 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor TRJoe

Here are some quick hits from last night’s practice,

We got there about 35-40 minutes early, with a pretty good crowd already there watching Lawrence Tynes kicking field goals. Zak DeOssie long snapping, Sage Rosenfels holding, and Tynes hit about 5 or 6 straight from what looked like pretty good distance. Steve Weatherford then stepped in to take snaps from DeOssie, with Dodge looking on.

After the specialists went back inside, there was about a 20 minute wait until the team emerges from the Timex Center. The first group of players, led by Eli, come out to a nice ovation from the crowd in the bleachers in front of the main practice field.

Kick return drills are up on the main practice field, with Jerrel Jernigan, D.J. Ware, Devin Thomas and Darius Reynaud getting reps bringing kicks back. Domenik Hixon is grouped with the returners, but I do not think he actually fielded one. Jernigan looked very fluid, as did Reynaud. Ware dropped one during his reps.

The rest of the team emerges from the Timex Center and the full team then goes through their calisthenics before breaking up into individual positional drills.

We were in the bleachers on the far field, so we were limited to which drills we saw, which were mostly defensive back drills.

The first group in front of us were the safeties. Their first drill was to read the ball with a coach moving it from side to side, then to go and grab the INT once Safeties Coach David Merritt lofted the ball into the air. Antrel Rolle went first, Kenny Phillips second, then the rest of the safeties. They did this a few more times but from a different hash mark. Provided they stay healthy, I think we can expect big things this year from Phillips and Rolle.

The next group up in front of us were the CBs, who essentially did the same drill, but they were paired up (Corey Webster/Terrell Thomas, Aaron Ross with another CB, etc), with Cornersbacks Coach Peter Giunta and Lawrence Tynes tossing them the passes. Webster and Thomas caught everything thrown their way, as did Ross. Prince Amukamara was in one of the lower groups and dropped his first pass. Maybe he was nervous for his first practice, but then he rebounded and caught the rest. Recently signed Darnell Burks, wearing #41 (bringing back unpleasant Dave Thomas memories) was the odd man out and had to do the drill by himself. What I noticed the most here was that Corey Webster is a real leader, especially among the CBs, encouraging and talking up all of his position-mates, even Burks.

The next drill was the full back seven jogging thru different coverage schemes. It looked like it was focused on the nickel D as Thomas was playing the Deon Grant role from last season, and Ross was playing as the 3rd CB. Other starters were Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff (I believe it was him), Webster, Phillips, and Rolle. This consisted of the backup DBs/LBs running offensive pass patterns and the defense adjusting and executing their coverages based on the O. They marched down the field in this drill, in an effort to walk through different coverages based on down and distance. During this time the backups also got a chance on defense, including Mark Herzlich, Tyler Sash, Brian Jackson, and Brian Witherspoon.

The next drill on this field was one on one pass drills between the RBs/TEs and LBs/DBs, with the backup QBs throwing the passes. Some notable plays here were Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw making clean catches up the sideline, and Bradshaw acknowledging the fans on the fence welcoming him back with a little wave and nod of the head. Sash had a pick here, and Bear Pascoe and Henry Hynoski also had a couple catches, as did Travis Beckum on a deeper ball down the far sideline. On Beckum’s reception, the DB covering him, Cary Harris, fell to the ground with what looked like some type of shoulder injury. He was laying prone on the ground for a few minutes, grabbing his right arm. When the trainers came over to attend it looked like they were trying to pop his shoulder back into place.

After this, it was time for full-team workouts on the main field, which the beat writers covered in their reports. We walked over to get a better view, but the majority of the crowd was over there and it was tough to see everything.

Standouts from the drills I was able to see were Corey Webster, Rolle, and Sash. I was really impressed with Webster’s leadership, and obviously his CB prowess as well.

Aug 012011
 
Share Button
July 31, 2011 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor UberAlias

I thought tonight’s crowd may have been a little bigger, so that was nice to see.

Yesterday I mentioned they did the full team drills on the far field and that it was a bit hard to see. Well tonight they did the team work on the near field, and boy, what a difference it makes – they are right there in front of you.

The defense today clearly had the upper hand. The defense nearly always wins the early camp match ups, so this is not a concern, but there was definitely also some sloppiness with the offense tonight, such as a drop by an open Travis Beckum on what looked like it should have been an easy catch and also a botched snap between Snee to Sage.

A few observations from the defensive team work: During walk thrus I saw a lot of Rolle lining up deep with Kenny Phillips playing up in the box (not sure if it was the strong or weak side). I could easily be wrong here, but I seem to have the impression  those roles may have often been the other way around last year (perhaps to protect Kenny Phillips’ knee), so this ~ might ~ be an adjustment.

They did a series of alignments where there was one guy laying back where normally the deep safety would be, but it was not a safety. For the starters it was Terrell Thomas and for the second unit it was Ross.

In the series with the starters, the defense really shut down the O in 11 on 11s. The first snap was a mid range pass play where Thomas picked off Eli and it did not get much better from there.

Some will be happy to hear this but I think it was the second play that was a Ware run that was shut down by the D. What was notable was that three defensive coaches gave a big ‘at-a-boy to Sintim, who I believe shut it down at the line. Phillips got a similar response from the coaches a play or two latter. One play that looked like it might have had some promise for the offense was a bootleg that got Beckum open in the flat but resulted in the drop I mentioned earlier.

In addition to the pick, Terrell Thomas also had a nice pass defense down field, but I can’t remember who was the target (Manningham or Cruz, I think). He seemed to have a good day except for one play during red zone work I’ll mention in second.

The last play of 11 on 11s was one of the only ones that looked good for the O with Ware having a nice run that may have been about an eight yard gain.

The clear highlight of the night came on the first play of their red (“green”) zone work. Terrell Thomas had what looked to be pretty good coverage on Nicks with Phillips on his way over for support, but it was a perfectly thrown ball and Nicks is just so good with his positioning and made a beautiful catch for a TD.

In this series,Hixon also made a nice catch to put the ball inside the five. Offensively I would say Hixon followed up a good showing with another solid one today and looked strong on returns as well. This is not a super star by any stretch, but make no mistake about it, having this guy back is clearly going to make this team better.

Another guy picking up from yesterday’s work out is Hynoski who continues to impress me with how fluid and comfortable he looks catching the ball. You get the idea I like this kid and he is seeing a lot of reps.