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.
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.
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 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.
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.