by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor mjvm52106
I stayed on Field 4 and as the squad broke up the defensive backs were the first to do their drills. The first thing that stands out to me is the fact that we have some speed in our younger guys. As you all know already, Will Demps is practicing with the second team as our starting safeties are James Butler at strong safety and Gibril Wilson at free safety. One thing to note here is that the defense is being pushed very hard to communicate better on the field. Based on the opponent’s offensive formation, Gibril Wilson moves around the back half of the defense, calling out things like Bob Bob or Louie Louie. Gibril Wilson will also clap his hands twice and when he does that, he expects the corners to clap in response which shows the have the change or the call. I believe Wilson will have a big year and I think Defensive Coordinator Steve Spanuolo’s defense is exactly what he needed to regain the form of his rookie season.
Travonti Johnson, a 6-2, 190lbs corner from Central Florida, showed a nice burst to the ball on individual drills but was manhandled by Anthony Mix and Sinorice Moss when the wide receivers were brought over for 1-on-1 drills. CB Aaron Ross was very physical with the jam at the line of scrimmage but sometimes too aggressive as he would punch the shoulder pads of the wide receiver too high and allowed the wide receiver to escape to the outside too easily. He was told that on two different occasions. But, he did look good overall and I would say should make a fine cornerback for years to come.
CB Kevin Dockery was there for a little while but the issue with his head (which he banged yesterday) was still bothering him and he was shut down fairly early.
The next group to join the defensive backs were the linebackers and I was psyched to watch the groups work together. The starting LB’s are Mathias Kiwanuka at strongside linebacker, Antonio Pierce at middle linebacker, and Kawika Mitchell at weakside linebacker. The coaches spent a lot of time watching Kiwanuka and providing coaching after each play. He made some mistakes though as I heard Spags tell him that is not going to get it done, after a play where one LB passes off the back out of the backfield to Kiwi. Kiwi got caught up in the traffic and actually would have picked one of our own cover LB’s and thus creating a big play opportunity for the opposition. Overall though, you can see why the coaches like his ability to make the transition to linebacker.
The second team linebackers consisted of Gerris Wilkinson at weakside linebacker, Chase Blackburn at middle linebacker, and Reggie Torbor at strongside linebacker. Torbor was invisible much of the drills and during full-team workouts. This group played pretty well together (minus anything of note from Torbor) but at the same time they weren’t playing against a real offense at the time. Zak DeOssie also looked good and he has excellent size and skills to work with.
The defensive line then joined in on Field A and the starting unit was Osi Umenyiora, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, and William Joseph. I actually think that Joseph is a better DE than DT and could play that position full-time if Strahan doesn’t come in to camp. A couple of observations about other players… Jonas Seawright has slimmed down and I mean way down. Seawright looks like a Keith Hamilton-type now, that is, a little taller DT with a slimmed down look. Now, can production match his physical form?
Now on that same note but for a whole different reason, Osi looks quite slim too, way too slim. Osi is listed at 261lbs, but he is way lighter than that. I know muscle weighs more than fat but my eyes don’t lie to me and seeing him next to Jacobs, Zak DeOssie, and even Reggie Torbor, I can tell you he was quite small. This has to be somewhat concerning that as camp moves along he will lose more weight and come this season we could be looking at a 249lb defensive end. Osi needs to bulk up this off-season unless this is his way of getting moved to linebacker like Kiwi. I am VERY concerned about Osi’s ability to handle the point-of-attack against the run and I will even speculate that the interest in Rice has more to do with having another rush defensive end at right end than it does about Strahan.
Fred Robbins looks to be in great shape (for him) and he made a couple of nice plays during the 11-on-11′s and 7-on-7′s.
Here is more of a quick list approach to how certain defensive players did in the morning practice.
- DE William Joseph played pretty well at the point-of-attack and beat RT Kareem McKenzie on an outside rush once.
- DE Osi Umenyiora scares me at how small he is. While certain beat writers want to start people running and screaming for the Giants front office to do something about the left tackle position with David Diehl at left tackle and how Osi blew past him, please take note that a 250ish (as of now) DE has a huge speed advantage against a big offensive lineman, especially during the first couple of days as the players continue to get used to the two-a-days.
- LB Mathias Kiwanuka looks like he can play the part but the mental aspect and natural feel are still to come. I do think he can play the position but time will tell if he can do it well enough to be the starting strongside linebacker.
- FS Gibril Wilson looks great, moves well, and really seems to enjoy the new free safety position he is playing. I think this will be his breakout year.
- CB Sam Madison looks like he can go another year. He makes great contact at the snap, moves with his receiver well, and gets himself in a position to be right with his man, without having to be in an all out sprint. Technique is the name of his game and one reason why he will have a pretty decent season this year!
- SLB Reggie Torbor looks lost at strongside linebacker and I believe he will have a tough time making the team if Tyson Smith, James Davis, and Zak DeOssie show they can play now. He just doesn’t make plays and seems lost in coverage. Of course it was just one practice but we shall see.
- CB R.W. McQuarters: I didn’t mention him earlier and that is my bad. He looks aggressive in this scheme, able to run with the WR’s, and just seems happy with the new scheme. I like him a lot as far as our 2007 defensive backs go.
- S Craig Dahl showed some toughness and ability to read the play and his all out hustle is something to keep an eye on.
- S Michael Johnson made a lot of mistakes and was being coached up a lot!
Now the offense joins the party on Field 4 for some simulated game situations, with 7-on-7′s and 11-on-11′s.
- The first thing I want to note here is that Eli was on fire and hit everyone of his receivers in stride and where only they could catch the ball. Eli even tucked one in and took off running on one play to a throng of mock cheers about being a speed demon and how fast his burst was. It was a pretty funny moment. He and Shockey hooked up on one long deep seam pass that was just a beauty and then a couple of more times underneath. Shockey looks to be in great shape and he and Eli seem to be on the same page!
- QB Jared Lorenzen looks good throwing the ball (not so great when you are talking about his weight) and, as far as I am concerned, has solidified the #2 quarterback spot, at least right now. He has a good arm and looks very smooth while throwing the deep ball.
- I didn’t see a ton from QB Anthony Wright but overall he is a capable #3.
- QB Tim Hasselbeck is done! He has a weak arm, looks indecisive from time to time, and just seems like the guy on the outside looking in. I suspect he will go at the final cut down. The Giants will keep him around until they are sure all quarterbacks are healthy for the start of the season.
- HB Brandon Jacobs will have a huge year. He is fast, smooth, and (not related to performance) is one of the nicest guys you will EVER meet.
- The acquisition of HB Reuben Droughns should not be understated. He will be a great change-of-pace, substitute back for Jacobs. He was asked what he thought about possibly being part of a two-headed backfield with both guys rushing for 1,000 and his response was, “What about two guys rushing for 1500 each?” I like his attitude and he is thrilled not to be in Cleveland anymore.
- HB Derrick Ward just doesn’t impress me and I believe he will be gone.
- HB Ahmad Bradshaw looked very quick and from a body type, reminds me of a young Emmitt Smith. He will contribute this year and contribute a lot!
- WR Marco Thomas looks very fast and reminds me of Jamaar Taylor. He completely beat his man (I believe it was CB E.J. Underwood) on a deep pass that was perfectly thrown by the hefty lefty (Lorenzen)! He later had another chance at a catch as he blew past CB Travonti Johnson but the ball (Hasselbeck) never made it to him.
- WR Anthony Mix was active, making Will Demps whiff big time on one play and looks to be lighter than last year!
- WR Brandon London did nothing!!!!
- WR Siniorice Moss played well but did drop a come backer that he should have had.
- WR Steve Smith has a great attitude, excellent hands, and will be a major member of the offense from Week 8 on. He is still learning everything right now.
- TE Jerey Shockey – as mentioned above is in great shape and caught everything thrown his way. He burned Kiwi downfield once on Eli’s perfectly thrown pass. That was an impressive play.
- TE Darcy Johnson will make this team. He had a great workout and caught a really nice deep pass and almost came up with a second one.
- TE Kevin Boss looks the part but it will take some time.
I would grade the offensive line but it is hard to tell how well they did when they aren’t being very physical and aren’t rotating in as much as the defensive line was able to do.
LB Rich Seubert’s leg scar is probably one of the scariest looking scars I have ever seen. When you are up close to him and see the huge gouge down the side of his lower left leg and see how the muscle there is split around that scar and how there is a football-shaped oval around the scar that shows just how “open” his leg was during the operation.
Right now the biggest concern the G-Men have is Michael Strahan. Is he coming in, when will he be in and if not, who will take his place? I believe Justin Tuck will be that guy but I want to see him walk around with a slight hitch in his go.
Whether or not Kiwi stays at linebacker depends on two things: (1) the needs of the defensive line, and (2) whether or not he is developing faster than Gerris Wilkinson, who would be the next logical choice to start.