Jul 312006
 
July 31, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor jaenyg

Practice was in the lower fields this morning which makes it difficult to observe without the vantage point of the hills that border the upper fields. Therefore I don’t have a very detailed play-by-play analysis (a la Beez), just some small tidbits in no particular order.

QB Eli Manning really throws a very nice swing pass. This is an underrated aspect of the NFL. A swing pass has to arrive with perfect timing leading the back perfectly with enough velocity to get there before defenders can swarm but smoothly enough so the back can catch it. Eli does this and HB Brandon Jacobs looks nice catching them also.

LB Nick McNeil hit somebody (HB James Sims I think) hard today sending them to the ground. This led to many things: (1) The entire defense got hyped, not just those on the field, but everyone on the sidelines, especially LB LaVar Arrington, who started jumping up and down like a kid for like five minutes. The buzz lasted 5-10 minutes. (2) The entire offense got pissed, especially TE Jeremy Shockey, who got so livid he tried to run on the field to fight McNeil, but was restrained. His anger took a while to cool off. (3) Head Coach Tom Coughlin ran to the next defensive huddle and bugged out on McNeil with a nice curse storm. He was so crazy that MLB Chase Blackburn couldn’t get the call from Defensive Coordinator Tim Lewis until the last second.

The whole incident got everybody fired up for sure. Later on I was talking to a buddy of mine who is one of the beat reporters about the incident and he said he was talking to Arrington yesterday and Arrington said when he was in his second year there was an undrafted linebacker who was always hitting and starting fights and got himself noticed by everybody. His name: Antonio Pierce. I thought that was cool.

Speaking of Shockey, he was really animated today. He waltzed onto the field of play after every play that he is not apart of to hand out enthusiastic congratulations to offensive players. He has always been like a defensive mentality on offense ever since the Hall of Fame game in 2002, and that is what I love most about him. He really was paying close attention to Shank (TE Visanthe Shiancoe) today. One play where the ball was overthrown to Shank when Brandon Short had coverage on him, Shockey ran onto the field and yelled, “How you gonna let HIM cover you”. He didn’t let it go either, continuing to rip Shank at the huddle. Later when Shank caught a nice long pass, Shockey ran all the way out to him to give him a high five. The two seem to a have a nice bond, and Shockey seems intent on firing Shank up.

One play OC Shaun O’Hara got poked in the eye and he took his helmet off to attend to his eye. Not one trainer, coach, or player came to his aid, except for one. Guess who? LaVar Arrington. He really seems like a TEAM guy and I think he will go out of his way to make plays this year. During coverage drills today, Tim Lewis was directing most of his attention to Arrington. I don’t think it was because LA was not understanding the defense, just because he is new and will be such an integral part of the team, Lewis wants to make sure he is on the same page.

I saw LB Carlos Emmons coaching up Brandon Short a bit as well.

I have been to three practices so far and CB Sam Madison seems to get abused in every one by either WR Plaxico Burress or WR Amani Toomer. CB Corey Webster has looked better in my opinion.

Will Demps sat today out and was replaced by Quentin Harris. I am a little worried about who will be quarterbacking the secondary now that Alexander is gone. This was an underrated aspect of Alexander’s game that will be missed. I am pretty sure the team is looking at Demps to be that guy but I have yet to see him be that vocal pre-snap.

Coughlin paid close attention to the defensive back drills today and was very attentive to CB Curtis Deloatch. Deloatch got semi-burned by WR Willie Ponder today, but QB Jared Lorenzen underthrew it and Deloatch made a leaping beauty of an interception on the ball, just getting his feet in bounds. It drew big praise from the staff.

WR Michael Jennings is this year’s Juan Dawson, this year’s Atavious Cash. His only hope was for WR Tim Carter to falter but Carter as actually looked good and has been in for every practice.

Jul 312006
 
July 31, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Evening Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor daveab424

The practice was on the lower field today, so it was hard to see everything, but ill try my best.

WR Sinorice Moss and LB Brandon Short did not practice.

I know TE Visanthe Visanthe has been grabbing a lot of attention (he did drop a few balls on Saturday), but TE Boo Williams looked pretty good tonight. They ran a drill where they placed a linebacker/strong safety on a running back/tight end, and Boo pulled off a nice fake, and then sprinted deep and absolutely burned LB Gerris Wilkinson. HB Tiki Barber also made a nice move up the sideline and caught a pass about 20 yards downfield.

None of the quarterbacks looked great tonight. In the beginning of practice, QB Eli Manning overthrew WR Willie Ponder and then underthrew WR Tim Carter in a simple route drill, but he rebounded towards the end of practice during scrimmages. QB Tim Hasselbeck looked good today, but he seemed to play it safe the whole practice and just go with simple dumpoffs or 5-10 yard patterns. J-Load (QB Jared Lorenzen) did not look bad, but he had one nearly picked off by DE Osi Umenyiora (who looked great tonight) that just went just off his fingertips. Osi doesnt look bad in coverage at all. QB Rob Johnson’s struggles continued tonight, as he had one picked off by CB/S Brandon Williams. Right now, Lorenzen looks like he’s the #3 quarterback, but its still really early.

CB Corey Webster looked really good tonight. He was on WR Plaxico Burress, and he made a great read on an 8-step drop and nearly picked off a pass from Manning. He was noticeable on a few plays tonight. It looks like CB Sam Madison has really developed a leadership role in the secondary too, after that play and a few others, he ran over to Webster or whoever and started congratulating him so really everyone would notice.

It is hard to see a Pro Bowler getting cut from a team, but Tyree has not looked that good so far. He probably has the biggest stone hands of all the wide receivers, but he’s a beast on special teams so its hard to see that happening. And with Moss out, Carter really has a chance to shine. However, it seemed like the coaches kind of shied away from him during the trip WR-formation. On one play, he dropped one where he had to jump up over the middle. It would have been a sick grab, but he bobbled it on the way down.

There was one skirmish among the second team offensive and defensive line but it seemed to break up quickly. The true controversy came towards the end of practice when Shockey went over the middle and got absolutely laid out by FS Will Demps (he did not catch it). While Shockey was on the ground, Demps, SS Gibril Wilson, and Madison started screaming and jumping around, but when they saw he was down, they started to settle down. Shock got up after a few seconds and he started pointing at Demps, but things cooled down. I think players on the defense started to get pissed at Shock even before that because he was stiff-arming players in the face during 2-hand touch drills.

The last drill was the 2-minute drill with both of the first teams. On the first play, Osi split a double team and got right to Eli (obviously did not touch him), and then on the next play, LT Luke Petitgout performed an obvious hold on him. It looked like Osi was laughing after that. Next, the coaches put the second-team defense line in. Interestingly, Mathias Kiwanuka has now replaced Eric Moore as the right defensive end on the second team.

One more quick note – HB Brandon Jacobs seems to have gained a lot of speed over the offseason, and, in my opinion, I think he could take a lot of the stress off Tiki on a regular basis this year. AND it does look he gets lower when he goes through the line now.

Jul 302006
 

Kidney Condition Could End James Butler’s Season: FS James Butler yesterday declined to provide details on the kidney condition that prevented him from practicing at the veteran mini-camp and thus far in training camp. “I really don’t want to go into specifics about it, but I’ll know next week whether I can come back on the field this season,” said Butler. “My career’s not in jeopardy. They just want to be cautious about it.”

Article on MLB Chase Blackburn: Routine Tackle Leads to Unusual Off-Season by John Branch of The New York Times

Giants Insider Interview With LB LaVar Arrington’s Wife: Interview with LaVar Arrington’s Wife by Rat Boy of Giants Insider

Notes and Quotes: The Giants will not practice tomorrow, although there will be team meetings and conditioning exercises. Two-a-day practices resume on Monday.

Undrafted rookie free agent Thomas Carroll has been moved from defensive end to linebacker.

FS Will Demps on the Giants’ and Ravens’ defenses: “I think we’re more talented here. I’m not saying what we had in Baltimore wasn’t talented, but we’re young here, we’re hungry. I saw a lot of success there in my four years and I can bring some of that here and we can feed off each other.”

Jul 292006
 
July 29, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

Yesterday’s black clouds have gone away and the men of Mara Tech practiced under a bright sunny sky with a slight wind blowing in. They were in helmets and shells again. In my opinion the practice was as crisp as I’ve seen it. Crispest of all was QB Eli Manning who zipped his passes accurately amongst his receivers. Manning, Tim Hasselbeck, and Jared Lorenzen all look significantly better in finding open receivers and significantly more accurate than they were last year at this time. Last year a large number of their throws were wildly inaccurate. It was so bad last year that sometimes they couldn’t even play catch with an undefended receiver. Not this year.

With each day,the differences between the four quarterbacks becomes more apparent. Hasselbeck does not have as strong an arm as Manning and it shows up on the longer passes where he has to put more height on his throws. Jared Lorenzen does not have Eli’s accuracy or Hasselbeck’s touch. QB Rob Johnson has a strong enough and accurate enough arm, but he hesitates. It is reasonable to think that part of Rob’s problem is his lack of familiarity with the system, the playbook, and the receivers. It will take a while before he is ready for prime time.

WR Tim Carter, LB LaVar Arrington, and DT Jonas Seawright, who was “ill” yesterday, all practiced.

LT Bob Whitfield may be an old pro, but his idea of a jog is more like a waddle. I guess that speed in offensive linemen can be over-rated.

In the opening 11-on-11 drill, Eli Manning hit WR Amani Toomer with a quick pass over the middle. This is the type of pass route that Amani is expected to run now that Plaxico Burress is on the team. LB Antonio Pierce nearly got a hand on the ball.

The next play was an outstanding hand-off to RB Brandon Jacobs. After Jacobs got the ball, Eli faked a hand-off to WR Sinorice Moss on a fake reverse. Eli is so smooth and so good at fakes. I didn’t know who had the ball until I saw Brandon running down the field with the ball. Eli makes another smooth hand-off to Tiki who runs it straight up the middle. Well not exactly straight – he made about six cuts during the first 15 yards. RB Derrick Ward has been playing well, but he is more of a slasher/speed runner than a cut-back, up the gut runner like Tiki. Eli next hits WR Plaxico Burress in stride going over the middle with a well-thrown spiral.

In the 11-on-11’s Hasselbeck dropped a nice pass over the head of LB Reggie Torbor into Plaxico’s hands. Hasselbeck gets into trouble when he tries to air it out into the wind and the ball gets held up. Now that I think about it, all the quarterbacks have that problem.

Today’s second-string offense consists of LT Bob Whitfield, LG Rich Seubert, C Grey Ruegamer, RG Matt Lentz, and RT Guy Whimper. Today’s second string defense was RDE Justin Tuck, Jonas Seawright and Damane Duckett at tackles, and LDE Eric Moore. Chase Blackburn, Reggie Torbor and Brandon Short were the linebackers although I thought that I saw Carlos Emmons in with the second team as well. I’ll check on the defensive backfield this afternoon.

Today’s best defensive play was a leaping, tumbling interception by Curtis DeLoatch of a deep sideline pass by Rob Johnson that was probably held up by the wind.

A lot of the rookies and lesser known players had a chance to shine.

Running Backs:

Little John Flowers continues to impress with his speed, agility, and pass catching and James Sims is doing almost as well. The next question would be whether either of them is strong enough to break tackles and take the pounding of running the ball. I need to get a closer look at them.

The pretenders to the FB position held by Jim Finn (who incidentally caught a pass today) are Greg Hanoian, who caught several passes and Tony Jackson who made a terrific play in a goal line drill. The drill starts with the ball on the 15-yard line. While Eli and Tim Hasselbeck were tossing pass after pass to receivers or backs for good gains or TDs, Rob Johnson was having trouble finding receivers. On one play, he looked and looked, then he scrambled around (which he does well) and lobbed a wobbler to FB Tony Jackson at the sideline. Tony juggled the ball on his fingertips (a la O.J. Anderson) but kept running and dove for the end zone with most of his body out of bounds but with the ball in his outstretched arms going over the end zone pylon.

Tight Ends:

In each practice, TE Wade Fletcher makes a catch or two. If he becomes a good blocker, he would be a threat to make the team. He may have a chance because I have not seen TE Boo Williams make any plays during the first three practices. TE Visanthe Shancoe further entrenched himself in the second TE slot with more good play this morning, including a pass in the corner of the end zone in the 11-on-11 end zone drill.

Wide Receivers:

Wide Receivers Willie Ponder, Harry Williams, and Michael Jennings all made catches and looked good. QB Jared Lorenzen caught big Anthony Mix in stride. CB E.J. Underwood found the most effective way to cover Mix was to grab the front of his jersey and spin him around. Unfortunately for WR Triandos Luke, a chest-high pass bounced off his hands. He might not see many more.

Special Teams:

PK Jay Feely kicked-off to Chad Morton, R.W. McQuarters, and Willie Ponder. Travis Dorsch also kicked-off and had as much distance as Feely. Note that the coaches were screaming at the players “Full speed, but NO CONTACT – Nobody on the ground!”

The morning practice ended 20 minutes early. I believe that Coach Coughlin does this when he is satisfied that the players have done everything that he wants them to do. It confirms my conclusion that the Giants are practicing very well this year.

After the practice was over there was still enough time for the backs to do some stretching. The linemen just walked off the field, no doubt with visions of cool drinks in their heads. Four linemen, notably Jonas Seawright, stayed to do some wind sprints across the width of the field. 6 x 53 yards = 318 yards. After the first lap, they were joined by CB Frank Walker and QB Jared Lorenzen. Jared was faster than any of the linemen.

Jul 292006
 
July 29, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

Coach Coughlin ended the practice 30 minutes early because of the arrival of more thunderstorms. It had been a pleasant enough day until then. I think that some of the players might have been happy to leave the field as practice got a bit ragged.

QB Eli Manning made some impressive completions and he also had a number of poor throws that were high. There was also a pass that wobbled as bad as anything Phil Simms used to throw. The high passes were to the sidelines which is good compared to high over the middle. WR Plaxico made a brilliant catch in full stride going over the middle. The ball was a good 18 to 24 inches over his head, which is to say pretty much out of the reach of the defensive back. Whether this was by design or just another high throw by Eli I couldn’t tell. It drew well-deserved oohs and ahs from the fans. Plaxico also dropped one that Eli threw at about knee level.

The rest of the quarterbacks had their moments and some inaccuracies to go along with them. Rob Johnson was short on a pass that CB Curtis Deloatch nearly picked off. There are very few quarterbacks that can run to their left and complete a pass. Rob Johnson is not one of them.

CB Sam Madison just barely edged out Deloatch as the owner of the skinniest legs on the team. Were you thinking 5’8″ WR Sinorice Moss? Not even close. He’s short but muscular. Moss caught what is likely to be the first of many passes thrown down the line of scrimmage. In the 7-on-7 drills he caught one over the middle. I wonder how well over the middle passes will work to Sinorice when there are eleven big bodies on the field instead of seven.

WR Amani Toomer caught deep sideline passes against CB Sam Madison and one against CB Corey Webster. He is amazing and he has not lost a step. TE Jeremy Shockey made one of his patented sliding catches on a low Eli throw. The crowd went wild. Jeremy is sporting a new tattoo. In the morning Jeremy was wearing red gloves. This afternoon it was black gloves. When he drops a pass I have seen him bad temperedly kick his gloves across the field. Jeremy appears to have a special relationship with his gloves.

DT Jonas Seawright, LB LaVar Arrington, and WR Tim Carter all practiced. Carter is playing well and is running fast and cutting. He made one catch that really impressed me. He ran down the left sideline and was pretty well covered, but there were about 8 or 10 yards of open space inside of where Carter was going. Whether intentionally or by accident Eli Manning threw the ball to that spot. Carter saw that the ball was not coming to him so he changed his direction and had the speed to get to that spot and catch the ball before the defender got there.

RBs Little John Flowers and James Sims and FB Tony Jackson continue to get a lot of runs and passes and they look very good. TE Wade Fletcher caught a pass or two, but TE Boo Williams had not done anything yet. The only time I saw him on the field was with the 4th string and QB Jared Lorenzen. TE Visanthe Shiancoe caught a pass and messed up two or three others. The pass that he held onto was also coveted by S Gibril Wilson. Gibril virtually mugged Shank while trying unsuccessfully to wrest the ball from Shank’s grasp. They both went down in a heap higgledy-piggledy.

CB E.J. Underwood continues to grab the jerseys of receivers that he is covering. He did manage to knock away a pass intended for WR Anthony Mix but it looked like a lucky contact because E.J. was not looking for the ball. This was not as bad as CB Brandon Williams who got faked out of his socks by WR David Tyree in a one-on-one pass drill. Brandon was standing there flat-footed and David was catching the pass ten yards away. It was cruelty to animals.

P Jeff Feagles didn’t get to punt but he did get to be quarterback for one of the defensive drills.

RB Brandon Jacobs continues to get a lot of carries and he seems to be dipping his shoulders. RB Tiki Barber continues to find small holes in the defense and dart through them.

Seventh rounder CB Gerrick McPhearson is big, strong, and very fast. He ran across the field to catch up to one ball carrier. He nearly intercepted a poorly thrown ball from QB Rob Johnson to WR Anthony Mix. Mix made an excellent play to strip the ball from McPhearson for an incomplete pass.

Jul 292006
 
July 29, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Beez

On a spur-of-the-moment move, I decided to drive up to camp for the afternoon session today. In tow were my 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter, so while I didn’t see everything, I thought I’d share what I had a chance to absorb.

We arrived in time to see the players walking through the outdoor corridor between the Phys Ed Building and the RACC, and while at first it seemed no one would stop for the masses to sign autographs (of course, they were on their way to get pads, helmets and off to the field), CB Frank Walker did for one woman. He received an “All right Walker!” from across the way, to which he responded with a fist pump. DE Michael Strahan received the loudest crowd response and he responded with both fists in the air, like a heavyweight champ. DE Osi Umenyiora was in his group (a formidable crew in shorts and t-shirts), and when the “Strahan!” screams subsided, there was a smaller spattering of “Osi! Osi!” hollers.

I read in Marty’s camp report that he made note of CB Curtis Deloatch’s skinny legs. In my notes I had jotted that when Deloatch and DE Justin Tuck walked out to the field side-by-side, at first glance they appeared similar in size…until you focused on the arms. Deloatch’s – wiry, to be polite. Tuck – huge, especially his triceps. The man’s a specimen.

As the players sauntered down the fenced walkway, I noticed: that RT Kareem McKenzie is just a hulk of a man, built like a large brick – he shuttles, more than he walks; MLB Chase Blackburn, for some reason, just looks healthy; OG Rich Seubert walked with QB Rob Johnson, and as they did, he put his arm around Johnson while they walked, talking and smiling; CB Corey Webster and HB Derrick Ward walked out together, laughing and joking the whole way; you can’t miss CB R.W. McQuarters – his very thick, very long hair goes as far down his back as about 3 inches into the top of his 2-5; DE Eric Moore and SLB Reggie Torbor came out together, and walking side-by-side, they look very big and very strong; DE Mathias Kiwanuka looks lean, and he responded to a couple people on the left side of the walkway who were calling to him by coming over and shaking their hands, all the while wearing a huge “I’m happy to be here” smile; and, the threesome of DT Damane Duckett (6-6, 313), DT Jonas Seawright (6-6, 335), and DT Fred Robbins (6-4, 317) made the most gigantic impression as they headed toward the field together. Only Robbins stopped at the very end of the line to sign something as the other two went on ahead.

My kids and I sat under one of the trees on the embankment, down toward the back corner. We first watched some kickoff drills, and while there was nothing extraordinary, I did note that Tom Coughlin was yelling encouragement OT Bob Whitfield’s way as he hit some hand-held pads. (“That’s it! That’s it!” he called out to the old fella.) In a separate kickoff drill, I noted that while most seemed to run the drill at three-quarters speed, it was Eric Moore who really seemed to push himself through it a few times, at least, showing some quickness and agility. Also notable was that toward the tail-end of this drill, WR David Tyree removed his helmet between turns and seemed to be sucking wind while the others appeared fine. (At that time it was sunny and in the mid-80s.)

I took some notes as the teams lined up, offense vs. defense, as players shuttled in and out. (A given here is that the players, in most cases, let up as the play unfolded – still just in shoulder pads and helments.)

  • On Eli’s first play, WR Amani Toomer got underneath CB Sam Madison on the left side and Eli lasered the ball in. Toomer caught it, juked around Madison and was gone.
  • Next play, Eli threw low to WR Plaxico Burress – maybe knee-high – and like his hands were stones, the ball jumped off. A very catchable ball, but a drop.
  • QB Jared Lorenzen was up next and hit TE Jeremy Shockey, who then put a nice juke move on SS Gibril Wilson. His next attempt was headed for WR Sinorice Moss about 25 yards deep, left, but Moss slipped before the ball arrived. Lorenzen then put the ball into the hands of TE Visanthe Shiancoe (right in the breadbasket), and he dropped it.
  • Eli stepped back in and hit Tyree on a short out as he pretty much torched CB Brandon Williams. Next play, I didn’t catch the receiver, but on the coverage, CB Gerrick McPhearson all but mugged the wideout and Eli’s throw sailed over the top. We could expect a penalty on that play, in a game.
  • Tyree – I’m pretty sure it was Tyree (this was when my daughter was asking for the camera) – ran down the left, angling toward the sideline, and Tyree got behind CB Kevin Dockery, and Eli floated the ball up and over – pretty. (To get a visual, recall Eli’s touch pass to WR Jamaar Taylor, going left, in their rookie preseason.) Eli definitely has this pass down.
  • Lorenzen back in – he looks toward Plaxico, who slows as the pass is unleashed, and underthrown. An ugly play.
  • Moss comes in on a quick slant from the left and Eli zips it in to him, complete.
  • Shiancoe tries a similar slant, but Eli underthrows him (at his feet).
  • Proving the toss to Tyree wasn’t lucky, Eli pulls the same toss from his bag, this one to a healthy looking (knock on wood) Tim Carter, this one on the right sideline. Perhaps pissed off that he’d been beaten, McQuarters dragged Carter down after the catch. (Overall, McQuarters is active on the field. He seems to be involved quite a bit.)

They then brought a defensive drill closer to the tree-lined hill, covered by fans. As Marty mentioned in his report, Jeff Feagles played QB for this one, and while things were, for the most part, at half- or three-quarters speed, it was apparent that DT Barry Cofield was learning the ropes in the middle of the D-Line, while WLB Gerris Wilkinson was often running stunts with MLB Nick McNeil. (I know – who?)

Strahan and Osi were where you’d expect them to be during these drills, and in the middle a lot, together, were DT William Joseph and Robbins. A time or two, they swapped sides as the cadence was called. MLB Antonio Pierce and WLB Carlos Emmons also appeared to be working on stunts, and FS Will Demps pulled a couple delayed blitzes, coming from center field.

When the other defensive squad was running stunts and blitz drills, Kiwi and Tuck were coming from the corners, and up the middle were Seawright and DE Adrian Awasom. The LBs in for this group were SLB LaVar Arrington and Chase Blackburn.

Shortly after, the coaches brought the teams together, and appeared to run the first-team offense against what you might believe is the first-team defense at this early stage. Here’s how it went, as all four QBs were shuttled in and out:

  • Eli overthrew Toomer, who was clearly held by Webster.
  • Eli handoff to Jacobs, off left tackle – very quick, but still appears to be standing somewhat upright (if he’s receiving tutelage from Eddie George, I don’t imagine this style will change any time soon).
  • Eli hands to Tiki, left – Strahan was in the backfield just after the handoff, coming around the left side. If this is a live play, he drags down the ball carrier for a 4-yard loss.
  • (Wilson talking a LOT, and LOUD on the defensive side of the ball.) Plaxico goes toward the left sideline, maybe 15 yards deep, but he’s doubled by Wilson and Madison, and Eli throws over Plax’s head (it was borderline high, making you wonder if it was thrown away or just missed – the optimist in me says Eli saw the tight coverage).
  • Ward takes an Eli handoff up the middle – Brandon Short would have obliterated him if the play was live. He plugged the hole very nicely.
  • Tim Hasselbeck stepped in and pitched left to Jacobs, who got through the first hole all right, only to encounter LA, who reminds me of a shark trolling for food. Many of the folks seated around us were laughing as both Jacobs and LA delivered little “bumps” to one another. You could see LA wanted to take on the kid, and it was fun to watch Jacobs doing his thing.
  • Hasselbeck hit a quick screen to Toomer, who was left completely uncovered. Would have gone for big yards up the sideline.
  • On a misdirection right, Hasselbeck rolled left and completed a short out to TE Wade Fletcher.
  • Johnson stepped under center, handed off to HB James Sims, and the hole up the middle closed immediately.
  • DTs Marcus Green and Awasom (I know, listed as a DE, but lined up Saturday as a DT) had some confusion, and flip-flopped, then Johnson hit WR Willie Ponder crossing to the right. It was complete, but wouldn’t have amounted to more than a few yards, as people closed quickly on defense.
  • Johnson then tried a toss to WR Anthony Mix in the left flat, but he underthrew it badly and it was nearly picked off by McPhearson (who seems to close very quickly).
  • Johnson hands off to Little John Flowers right, but there’s no room.
  • Eli steps back in, and after a nice ball fake (not quite a Brett Favre fake, but getting close), Eli threw toward Shockey, who was crossing to the right. Shockey slid on the ground for the catch, to the delight of those on the hill.
  • A counter handoff to Jacobs, who really seems to enjoy bouncing off people.
  • Next play, Shockey and Moss shifted and settled on the left, then the handoff went to Tiki, who picked his way off right tackle (as he will). He had 4-5 yards easy before the first contact came.
  • Next play Eli drops to pass, and the most notable thing this time is that LA is in the backfield in a wink. He let up some, of course, but he drove the OL (didn’t catch who – perhaps Whitfield) 5 yards deep. Eli’s throw was then rushed and he overthrew Plax.
  • Hasselbeck back in, and he tries going left to Moss, but Deloatch broke it up nicely. Notable – Duckett got a nice push and good pressure on the QB.
  • Hasselbeck hands off to Ward, right side, but Blackburn and Walker were camping out in the backfield. Would have been another 4-5 yard loss.
  • Hasselbeck complettes a short pass to Shiancoe, but Blackburn had his hands on Shank the second he caught it. Very short gain.
  • Hasselbeck hands to Sims – CB E.J. Underwood was in the backfield, but Sims got around him and turned the corner, but it looked like Underwood let up some, too, almost as if to say, “I had him, game over.”
  • Lorenzen came in and missed WR Triandos Luke terribly – Luke went on a fly pattern, straight, and Lorenzen missed him way inside. And his big windup and release look, in a word, lazy.

The team lined up for FGs next, and my son had a great time on the hill, trying to field some of Jay Feely’s kicks, along with about 30-40 other kids and big kids. Not sure on the count, but Feely made either 6-of-7, or 7-of-8 from varying ranges (his miss was from the far right hash mark), the longest appearing to be from about 35-37 yards.

Last thing before the thunder and lightning ended things roughly a half hour early was the 7-on-7 drills. These aren’t all the plays, but most, as I saw them:

  • Eli back to pass, pumps right, pumps left, then drops in a beauty to Toomer about 30-35 yards downfield (who, by the way, probably would have been called for a push-off, but it was still another pretty play).
  • Moss in motion right. and Eli zips it in to Carter on a slant in. Madison was on Carter like a glove and they both went to the ground grabbing at the ball, but Carter wrestled control, it appeared.
  • Eli hits Moss with a perfect short bee-line in the flat.
  • Eli hits Shockey underneath Blackburn, then Shockey heads upfield around Blackburn…bringing a smile to some around me was the fact that Charlie Peprah was closing, and it appeared that Shockey half-wanted to lower a shoulder, but didn’t. This time.
  • Eli hits Shiancoe with a nice pass – maybe on his hip, but there, still – in the right flat…and Shank drops it.
  • Eli has nice zip on a pass to Plax along the left sideline in front of Deloatch.
  • Eli hesitates/pumps, and Toomer appears to just stop over the middle and Eli snakes the ball in to him. (These two seem to be on the same page, by the way…not to say Eli’s not on the same page with others. Just an impression.)
  • Hasselbeck steps in and splits splits Williams and Wilson to hit Carter with a nice 15-yard pass.
  • Hasselbeck then throws a Billy Kilmer duck 25 yards down the left sideline toward Luke, but Dockery gets a hand up and knocks it away.
  • Holy CRAP, everything people have been saying about Moss and his lightning quickness was showcased on the next play. He darted across the middle from the left slot, and I mean he was just THERE, in a friggin’ blink, and Hasselbeck hit him in the gut, just as quick. I pray we see at least 5-6 plays a game designed for this kid, because he’s going to break a handful of them. Really fun to watch. What a draft!
  • Johnson came in, and looked left, looked left, all the way, then telegraphed his pass toward Ponder, but by that time, Wilson was all over it and mauled Ponder. Incomplete.
  • Moss in motion right, then on the snap crosses left. Meanwhile, Plax criss-crosses right and is wide open. Johnson hits him in stride. The play looked nice.
  • Johnson looked right, right again, checked off and went left to Tyree, but threw behind him.
  • Johnson tossed a quick pass underneath to again, gonna say Shivers – wearing 45), but Short was right there to wrap him up.

(Weather update – at this point, it’s clouding up and thunder is rolling in the distance, so the kids and I start to pack up, as others around us do, too)

  • Lorenzen tosses a very lazy (again, that’s what comes to mind when he throws) deep ball, slightly wobbly, and overthrows WR Michael Jennings – badly.
  • Lorenzen looked confused at the line, stepped back, checks left then hands off to Flowers for a time-filling nothingness play.
  • Lorenzen then threw a nice, tight spiral to the right to Mix for 20-25 yards, but it was broken up VERY nicely by Underwood.
  • Eli steps back under center, takes the snap, looks left, then right, then appears to just chuck the ball toward the middle of the field where no one is. Out of nowhere (to me, but not Eli) comes PLax (poof!) who makes a sweet grab (over his head – sticky hands) in front of Demps, for about 20-25 yards. A crowd-pleaser, to be sure.
  • Eli then flipped a quick-hitter out in the flat to Moss, with Shockey outside him…and on this screen Moss was just GONE. Damn, he’s quick, and VERY shifty. I’d say he reminds me of Meggett, but I don’t think Meggett was THIS quick. Moss is really explosive.
  • Another nice play came when Jim Finn and Shockey (Finn outside, Shockey out) lined up side-by-side on the right flank of the OL, then both went on out patterns. Carter came across from the left slot, trailing, and Eli hit him in stride.

Big thunder was approaching, and with lightning seen in the distance, there were a handful more plays but the coaches soon were sending the players in. None of them appeared to be signing, as the skies darkened, so the kids and I headed to the car. We got to within 100 yards of the lot, alongside the tennis courts, when the sky opened. Aside from taking pictures, it was a highlight for my drenched 5-year-old. A really fun spontaneous day for the Beez clan, and even Mrs. Beez enjoyed it, as she was able to clean the house and pay bills unabated.

I am so ready for the season!

Jul 292006
 

July 28, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: WR Tim Carter (knee) and LB LaVar Arrington (Achilles) both practiced yesterday.

DT Jonas Seawright missed the afternoon practice due to illness.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin said he expected FS James Butler (kidney) to be cleared for practice yesterday, but the medical staff is still holding him back. There is still no word on the nature of the kidney condition.

OG/OT Lewis Kelly (foot) is still on the Physically Unable to Perform List.

Fred Robbins Starting at Nose Tackle: Fred Robbins, not Jonas Seawright, was starting at the 1-technique or nose tackle spot yesterday at training camp. Last season, Robbins has played the 3-technique position behind William Joseph.

“First string is better than anything,” said Robbins, who was a regular starter in 2004 after being surpassed on the depth chart in 2005. “I worked hard in the offseason and I have to continue to do the good work. It’s a good thing to be out there with the first team again. I want to continue doing good things so I can stay there.”

“It’s a much different feeling (now),” Robbins said. “Last year was frustrating. I had been a starter and then to go down to the (third team) all through camp (was tough). Things happen sometime. Last year is last year. This is a new year for me. Hopefully, I’ll come out strong this year.”

Robbins dropped 15 pounds this offseason and reported to camp at 315 pounds. “I did a little extra conditioning, lifting weights and toning my body up,” Robbins said. “I got my body in better condition than I have been in the past. That’s one thing that helped me out. I can move a little better and last a little longer.”

When asked about playing the nose tackle position, Robbins replied, “It’s a rough job. You have to get down there and grit and grind and do it. It’s going to be a tough position, but we can do it. I feel comfortable at the nose. My first four years in the league at Minnesota was at the nose. It’s a good switch and I feel comfortable at it. It’s not something that’s new to me. I just have to get back into the swing of things. I’ve played it at times since I’ve been here. Now it’s a full-time job and I’m ready for it…At nose tackle, you’re going to get double-teamed, but you’ve still got some room to move around. But you’ve always got to play hard…I’m confident. I know what I can do.”

Giants Re-Sign Sir Henry Anderson: The Giants have officially re-signed undrafted rookie free agent DT Sir Henry Anderson (Oregon State). The Giants originally signed Anderson on May 13 after the 2006 NFL Draft, but then waived him on July 6th. With DT Junior Ioane failing to report to training camp yesterday, another body at the position was needed.

Asked why Ioane did not report to camp, Head Coach Tom Coughlin responded, “I’d like to know myself.”

Article on QB Eli Manning: Manning Eager After Study Sessions (Two Pages) by Ryan O’Halloran of The Washington Times

Article on LB LaVar Arrington: Arrington Happy to Put Redskins in Past (Two Pages) by Ryan O’Halloran of The Washington Times

Article on HB Tiki Barber: As Camp Begins, End is in Sight for Barber by John Branch of The New York Times

Quotes: LB LaVar Arrington on the positive reception he has received from Giants’ fans in Albany: “There is a saying that says: ‘Real recognizes real.’ I think it was great. I recognize that they’re really good fans. They recognize that I’m really about them. It was good. It was good. I was fortunate enough to have a great love affair with the fans in Washington and have the opportunity to start building that type of relationship with Giants fans. That’s a great start. It felt really good to be received like that. It was good.”

QB Eli Manning on WR Tim Carter: “Tim had a good day today (yesterday at practice). He caught a couple long balls and he had some comebacks and some in-routes. So, he had an impressive day…If he can have a good camp and come in here, he’s got all the ability. He can run. That’s great. He can run by people and then DB’s get scared and then you can go underneath them. So, if he can stay healthy, he needs to have a good camp for us. He can make some big plays for us in the season.”

OC Shaun O’Hara on QB Eli Manning: “This is Eli’s third year; I feel like he’s getting a better grasp of everything. He’s already been more vocal. I just feel like he’s got more of a huddle presence, a little more command of everything that’s going on. His progression has been perfect. Because we’ve got (all the offensive starters) back, we’re going to get so much more done because we won’t have to backtrack at all.”

Jul 282006
 
July 28, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

The air-horn had just sounded to begin the opening of the summer’s first Giants practice. Within the next five seconds, as Coach Coughlin was walking past him, LB LaVar Arrington gives Tom a friendly smack on the tush – a very loud and very exuberant smack on the tush – as if to say, “OK boss, let’s get this show started.”

I couldn’t believe it and I don’t think Coughlin could either. He didn’t know whether to smile or yell at the huge linebacker. If LaVar were any bigger, he’d have tusks. I couldn’t hear what was said, but Coughlin’s body language screamed, “Mr. Arrington, if you EVER do that again, it had better be immediately after the Giants win the Super Bowl!”

The Giants were on an upper practice field wearing helmets, shells, and shorts. There was no hitting, but a number of players did their share of grabbing. The day was muggy and overcast and most of the practice took place in a light rain. There was a bit of wind that must have made it a bit more bearable for the players, yet it did not have any apparent effect on the throwing accuracy of the quarterbacks that was quite good.

Generally, everyone looked in pretty good shape and did pretty well. This is a significant statement because in prior years there were players (OL Deterding comes to mind) that you could just look at and say, “This guy is too fat, too slow, too untalented to make the team.”

The only player that seemed to have a bit of trouble was QB Rob Johnson. He held onto the ball a bit too long and even had to throw one pass away. As he had never seen the playbook before this year, I will give him some slack in that regard. Otherwise, his arm strength seemed as good as the other QBs. The quarterback order is Eli, Hasselbeck, Johnson, and then Lorenzen.

New Players:

LB LaVar Arrington practiced. He did not look slow or uncomfortable. He did grab a great handful of TE Visanthe Shiancoe’s, but otherwise he looked good. Whether he will practice in the afternoon remains to be seen.

WR Sinorice Moss is fast, but at least on one play in the 11-on-11’s, CB Sam Madison had no trouble covering him. Along with HB Chad Morton (who looked fast and agile) and a few others, Sinorice returned punts that were kicked by second stringer Travis Dorsch. Dorsch is not a threat to replace Jeff Feagles, who did not punt today.

The punt to Moss was into the wind and that held it up. The Giants, who may have some speed on special teams this year, had formed an impenetrable wall in front of Moss and would have killed him. Then two defenders graciously lifted up their arms as one does in “London Bridges” so that Sinorice could slip through underneath and run it back. We all laughed. Clearly, with experience, Sinorice will learn to fair catch those punts.

The one play on which Moss really shined was an end-around with what appeared to be a nifty, no-look, behind the back hand-off from Eli. Eli is so good at disguising a hand-off that it makes me want him to do it at least once every possession.

LB Gerris Wilkinson looks big and strong. He nearly picked off a pass. He leapt and it went through his outstretched arms.

CB Sam Madison was notably explaining the finer points of defensive play to CB Corey Webster, the other starter at cornerback. That’s another benefit that Madison brings to the Giants.

CB R.W. McQuarters has braids that stick out from under his helmet and go halfway down his back. It is very Preditoresque. So is the way he plays cornerback. He may get a lot of calls against him. CB Frank Walker made the only notable pass defense. Unfortunately, it was about 50-50 whether he interfered with the receiver. CB Curtis DeLoatch also knocked down a pass.

FS Will Demps practiced and did not appear to be limited in any way. The same for LB Carlos Emmons, who blocked a pass.

They may not have a chance to make the squad, but they looked good: RB Little John Flowers, who finally got a jersey number (30), got onto the field and looked good running and catching a pass. The same can be said for RB James Sims, who has some speed and wiggle in his run.

Linebackers Chase Blackburn and Antonio Pierce played with no apparent discomfort. OG Lewis Kelly did not dress and watched from the sidelines. FS James Butler was not dressed and left early.

OC Grey Ruegamer and OG Rich Seubert spent a lot of time swapping center and guard positions.

Stars of the Practice:

TE Visanthe Shiancoe caught at least half a dozen passes – everything thrown his way. Unlike last year, he was not awkward or uncomfortable. He was impressive. I was very surprised. Maybe he is feeling some pressure from Boo Williams. It is too early to tell whether this good play will continue. We have to wait and see.

WR Tim Carter. He looked fast and flexible catching a bunch of passes, including an over-the-shoulder sideline pass of about 20-25 yards that was well-defended. We will see if he plays in the afternoon.

The starting tackles on defense are William Joseph and – drum- roll – Fred Robbins.

The first sign that Eli and his receivers might not be on the same page was one of the first plays in the 11-on-11 drills. Eli Manning threw the ball to TE Jeremy Shockey, who did not turn around for it. It hit the ground several yards behind him and it was clear that Shockey was upset about that. On the very next play, Manning threw the ball to Shockey again. This time Shockey caught it and threw the ball straight up in the air in celebration.

Jul 282006
 
July 28, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor daveab424

It was an absolute downpour for about half the practice. However, there were really only a few dropped balls and misthrown passes.

HB Chad Morton clearly has the punt return job locked up – he showed blazingly speed today and looked really smooth and comfortable even in the rain. Others competing for the punt return spot were CB R.W. McQuarters, WR Sinorice Moss, and WR Michael Jennings. All three clearly did not have a step on Morton and Jennings looks like he will have to make the squad with his receiving abilities (he was the only one to drop a punt and he dropped A LOT last year). Chad Morton’s special teams abilities also makes WR Willie Ponder expendable, and it looks he too will have to make it with his receiving skills.

Early on, before the rain, QB Eli Manning threw a nice deep ball to WR Plaxico Burress who outran Madison, and he then threw a nice one to Moss that was just out of his reach. Sinorice only had a step on R.W., so he may not be as fast as some think (maybe its the rain?). QB Rob Johnson, just like the morning practice, had a few misthrown balls, and QB Jared Lorenzen, who still is clearly not in great shape, threw a nice corner endzone pass to Jennings.

DT Damane Duckett is an absolute beast – he’s clearly the biggest player on the field. He’s currently on second-string defensive line, and yes, DT Fred Robbins is first string. Our 4th round pick, DT Barry Cofield, is also on second-string defensive line. DT Jonas Seawright is on third string.

TE Jeremy Shockey, Burress, and WR Amani Toomer all looked really good today, even with the rain. No dropped passes and Shockey had a few nice stretches. Right now, our offense is clearly outperforming out defense.

LB LaVar Arrington played for about half the practice and then was replaced by LB Reggie Torbor on first string. Our linebacker depth is really good this year – Torbor, Chase Blackburn, and Brandon Short all look they could start. FS Will Demps also had a nice deflection on one-on-one drills against Hasselbeck. He probably could have caught it. Right now, it’s obvious that our cornerbacks are our weakest position on the field. Corey Webster did not grab any attention and Sam Madison got beat and slipped (rain?) a few times. The depth is fairly good with R.W. and Curtis Deloatch though.

One more note, HB Brandon Jacobs is practicing with the second-string offense right now (Derrick Ward is third string). And WR Tim Carter also looked really good today (even with the injury?). No dropped balls and it appears like he could really give Moss a good run for that third receiver spot.

Jul 282006
 
July 28, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany

Practice was on the lower fields and anyone without an umbrella got soaked, including the players who played for the last hour in a downpour. Tom Coughlin mercifully ended the practice 30 minutes early. I’m guessing that the abbreviated session will result in a longer one tomorrow, when the weather should clear up. As in the morning, the afternoon practice was in helmets and shells.

The best news of the day is that both LB LaVar Arrington and WR Tim Carter participated in both practices despite the slick conditions. Arrington was going hard enough that on one play he went diving on the ground and did an athletic forward roll which brought him to his feet. Clearly, he is not going through the motions. Tim Carter also participated and made at least one catch. I think the next best news is that TE Visanthe Shiancoe appears to be catching the ball very well – a continuation of this morning’s good play.

First round draft pick DE Mathias Kiwanuka practiced with the punt coverage team, was in the wrong lane, and got yelled at. Let me be the first to say it: when Kiwi sacks a quarterback, sports writers will say that Kiwi “Nuked” the quarterback. Let’s hope they say it a lot during the coming years.

In a three-man drill where the quarterback gets the ball and throws to a receiver who is single covered, the receiver just about always caught the ball. That is the way that it should be. It means that the QB and receiver understand the play and are doing the basics well. On one such pass, WR Amani Toomer truly abused CB Corey Webster. The 11-on-11’s are a different matter. Catches are tougher. Playing with the fourth string, QB Jared Lorenzen threw a beautiful TD to Willie Ponder. At first, the pass looked overthrown, but Willie turned on the jets and caught it in stride for what would have been a TD.

Everybody on the Giants carries the ball like Tiki. Everybody.

Anthony Mix is a big tall WR with broad shoulders. He is now number 89. He was physically intimidating the cornerbacks who were defending him. He caught the one pass that I saw thrown to him and seems to have some moves after the catch. On the only ball I saw thrown to FB Tony Jackson, he made a catch and then slipped on the wet grass as he tried to cut and turn down field. FB Greg Hanoian was not so lucky. He missed the only ball that I saw go his way.

Jeff Feagles punted the ball in mid-season form – mostly to HB Chad Morton, but WR Sinorice Moss and CB R.W. McQuarters also got a chance. Chad looked faster than I remembered. Did I mention that Moss is very fast and has really quick acceleration. He made a leaping sideline catch this afternoon.

One of the defensive drills this afternoon, and I think one of the best, was the strip drill. A player would be running with the ball and a lineman or linebacker would run up behind him and strip the ball from him (mugging him when necessary). A second player would scoop the ball up and run upfield with it with the stripper as his lead blocker.

Seventh-round pick CB Gerrick McPhearson has very muscular arms and legs. CB R.W. McQuarters also has a set of guns on him. It’s nice to see powerful cornerbacks. It should help them on run defense.

I think that CB Sam Madison is going to show us something. He nearly made two interceptions and he seems to be very smart in coverage.