August 2, 2005 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

Second Round draft choice CB Corey Webster arrived and practiced with the team. He caught a punt or two, along with the other players who are competing for that position. He also participated in some of the defensive positional alignments. The most significant thing that Webster did was get toasted to a golden brown by WR Amani Toomer. Toomer easily caught the ball in stride and blew by Webster for what would have been an easy TD. The significance of this is that a rookie, no matter how good he is, cannot afford to miss five practices. Webster will have to work hard to catch up. Unfortunately for the offense, that play by Toomer against a guy who has been in the NFL for about an hour, was the only one in which the offense embarrassed the defense.

Many people have assumed that the Giants’ weakness this year would be its defense and assumed that the Giants offense was going to be a juggernaut. The continuing domination in practice by the defense might make them think that either the defense has suddenly found new strength, or more likely, that they had totally misjudged the strength of the offense.

You will read in other reports that whether or not the team is wearing full pads (as they were this evening) that the continuing trend is for the defense to be crisp while the offense is flat, inconsistent, and ineffectual. You will read that many of Manning’s passes were not on target and that on more than one occasion, he had to eat the ball. On many other occasions he threw the ball late, long after he would have been sacked. You will read that DEs Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora whipped past OTs Kareem McKenzie and Luke Pettigout. You will read that the number of fine defensive plays far outnumbered the good offensive plays. All of these things will be true.

Even if these things ARE true, do not be discouraged. They are not necessarily significant indicators of how well the Giants will play during the season. To put it more precisely: in training camp you can NOT evaluate the team based on its play AS A TEAM. You can only evaluate the quality of the INDIVIDUAL players. If enough of the players on the team are good, then the team should do well during the season. Whether or not you buy my argument, this is the gospel according to Marty in Albany, and I’m sticking to it.

So let’s talk about the play of individuals. CB Curtis DeLoatch continues to make impressive plays. He nearly intercepted a poorly thrown pass from Jesse Palmer to WR Willie Ponder. He then did push-ups in penance for not holding on. WR David Tyree made an athletic catch basically while lying prone on the grass. WR Amani Toomer made some nice catches, but on other plays he was well covered and did not get open.

The only noticeable thing that WR Plaxico Burress did tonight was to get tangled up with CB Frank Walker and both of them fell down in a heap. In prior years in training camp, it was always obvious from their play that the two starting receivers, Amani Toomer and former WR Ike Hilliard were by far the two best and most polished WRs in camp. This year, Plaxico Burress has done nothing to show that he is the best WR. It is Jamaar Taylor who continues to make the most catches and be the most impressive of the receivers. The fact that he is somewhat bow-legged makes it even more impressive.

RB Tiki Barber looked good catching and running. RB Brandon Jacobs looked fast running around end. He also made a graceful sideline catch and pivot to turn up the field. All the running backs will get their chance to shine when they play a game in which there is tackling. In case you do not realize it, even when the Giants are wearing full pads, there is no tackling. There is blocking, but no tackling. I am anxious to watch rookie RB Ryan Grant of Notre Dame in a real game. He appears to have very good vision and the quickness to run through the holes that he finds.

QB Jared Lorenzen demonstrated his powerful arm again tonight and his performance appeared to be comparable to that of the other quarterbacks. Jared was doing wind sprints at the end of practice. He ran at least two laps the width of the field with decent speed. He was out of breath, but he did not collapse. He may be heavy, but at this point, in my opinion, his weight is no longer an issue. He is not too fat to play quarterback. Too inexperienced perhaps, or lacking in some of the other qualities needed to lead a team, but he is NOT too heavy.

With OC Wayne Lucier out with a bad leg, OG Jason Whittle is filling in at center with the second team. This evening there was a lot of shifting of players and the first string often went against the second string team. DT William Joseph again was on the third team defense and it appeared to me that OL Lewis Kelly gave him all that he could handle.