August 6, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Jay in Toronto

Some caveats. It is really hard to analyze running plays with no real hitting and blocking. The only thing that is clear is when something is stuffed. Second I’m a fan, not an X’s and O’s expert.

Some General Observations: It seems like there is a lot of focusing. Guys on the sidelines are paying attention. Every minute is accounted for. Except for water breaks, it’s all military-style. Very impressive! WR Sinorice Moss, HB Brandon Jacobs, LB Carlos Emmons, and LB LaVar Arrington were in drills, but not in the more serious stuff. I spoke to LaVar’s wife and she said he was “sore.”

Now for some stream of consciousness serial observations:

Kickoff Return Drills: WR Willie Ponder, WR Michael Jennings, and WR Triandos Luke. Jennings is going full speed all of the time. He seems to be the most elusive.

During drills, I watched the secondary. Defensive Backs Coach Peter Giunta clearly is in charge. He is very, very active, high energy. Constantly correcting, teaching. Defensive Coordinator Tim Lewis is also involved (with safeties) and is much more laid back. The emphasis is on reps and technique (e.g. correcting SS Gibril Wilson’s backpedaling). CB Gerrick McPhearson looked like he got some special attention – it also looked like he needed it the most.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin seemed to be confabbing with DE Osi Umenyiora, LaVar, and MLB Antonio Pierce at various times. The body language seemed to be more collegial than anything else.

QB/Receiver Drills: QB Eli Manning looked really sharp the whole day. It seems he locks on one receiver and always throws it there (90% completions, I would say). Several times he would put it where only the receiver could get it. He made an arching, middle-distance throw that TE Jeremy Shockey went up and got that brought the first loud cheer.

QB Tim Hasselbeck was next. This was the pattern all day, by the way. HB Chad Morton dropped a catchable ball (more later). HB Derrick Ward was #2 in the depth chart and looked very powerful up the middle.

QB Rob Johnson was next. Most of the day (with a couple of exceptions), he was not impressive. Eli completed a dump off to Morton who looked shifty and explosive after the catch – what you would expect from a punt returner. An exception for Johnson early was a nice completion to WR Tim Carter who totally faked out CB Curtis Deloatch. QB Jared Lorenzen finally got in (not as many reps early). There was a nice draw to Morton, then bad throws for incompletions. He was extremely inconsistent, often with an almost baseball-like wind up. He does put a lot of zip on the ball.

More Kickoff Return Practice: All three returners did nice jobs of finding seams and accelerating, but see my caveat on running plays.

7-on-7 Drills: A better test. Eli was very sharp. There were nice completions to Shockey and TE Boo Williams. Also, there was a nice longer one to Carter who did a good job of beating CB Corey Webster. Then there were completions to TE Wade Fletcher and Ponder. Eli looks very impressive. Carter clearly is special, and I wonder how WR Plaxico Burress feels about it – it seems Plaxico barely got any receptions. I do believe he was out there, but maybe I missed something.

Hasselbeck threw short to WR David Tyree over the middle on what looked like totally blown coverage. There was a quick slant to Morton – I wonder if that will be a Moss special. Then there was a nice soft toss to Shockey over some linebackers which he juggled a bit but held on. Fletcher made a nice grab. There were a couple of bad incompletions.

Lorenzen threw a nice, quick line of scrimmage sideline pass to Boo, then a short out to WR Anthony Mix. Another pass to Mix that was very slow to develop, but Mix ran a really nice route. I saw this several times – I think he is the surprise of the morning practice for me. There was a medium completion to Ponder. This was Lorenzen’s best series.

Eli made a nice completion to Boo and a terrific one to Tiki coming across and going up the sidelines. Hasselbeck threw a beautiful pass to Carter up the seam that, in the words of Cosell, he could have gone all the way. There was a nice run by HB James Sims on a dump off.

Lorenzen threw a nice pass to Fletcher, putting it on his hip. Then there were some incompletions – pretty inconsistent.

Red Zone Drills: Eli hit WR Amani Toomer over the middle for a touchdown. Johnson couldn’t do anything in three plays (one run), but the defense looked good on that series. Eli handed off on misdirection to HB Tiki Barber but it looked to me that LB Brandon Short had that stopped. Eli then hit Carter nicely over the middle.

Hasselbeck then came onto the field. There was a nice hole for Ward. Ponder made a nice adjustment on a comeback completion. Lorenzen threw for Jennings in the corner but it was well covered. Lewis was behind the endzone, giving S Charlie Peprah some special tutelage. Peprah was very active. On one throw by Eli, there was a beautiful adjustment by Amani to pull one in. CB R.W. McQuarters looked very active in this series. Lewis had a confab with Pierce, looked like they were reviewing some plays. Johnson threw a nice completion to Boo up the middle. Hasselbeck made a beautiful completion to Fletcher who was well-covered.

I am sorry for the choppiness. Parting thoughts: Eli is unstoppable when he has time. How will he be under fire when he has to make his reads? Mix was a nice surprise. No one stood out positively or negatively on defense. DT William Joseph looks like he has almost a new body and new attitude.