August 15, 2006 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

The Giants were in shells, shorts, and helmets and the good news is that WR Amani Toomer, MLB Antonio Pierce, LT Luke Petitgout, and DE Osi Umenyiora all practiced. CB Sam Madison did not practice. It looks like the talented, but penalty prone, CB Frank Walker is getting a chance to play with the first team in Madison’s absence. I did not spot WR Sinorice Moss on the field today.

When the Giants stretch and warm up, the linemen do it in a separate group from the rest of the team. The warm-up often includes about twenty yards of skipping. Yes skipping. I’m sure that there is a very good reason for the skipping, but it looks unmanly. I wonder if the players get embarrassed.

RB/Returner Chad Morton has shown a lot of speed when returning kicks. He got some special practice catching the ball this afternoon. The ball was not kicked by PK Jay Feely or shot from the ball machine. It was shot from the arm of QB Jared Lorenzen. Jared was heaving the ball to Morton about 70 or more yards in the air and with tremendous height – perhaps 40 feet or more. Morton was fielding these throws as if they were kicks. The trajectory and distance of the throws very closely resembled a kickoff. The ball did not spin like a kick, but spiraled more like a punt. I saw about 10 throws. I was a bit surprised that the coaches let Lorenzen throw the ball like that. I wonder if he was risking injury to his arm and to the egos of the other Giants quarterbacks.

Chad Morton and CB R.W. McQuarters also returned punts from P Jeff Feagles who continues to look like he is in mid-season form, despite rehabbing his off-season surgery.

With linebackers Antonio Pierce and Carlos Emmons practicing today, this might be the first time that the entire group of Giants linebackers has been able to get on the field at the same time to practice.

With WR David Tyree out, WR Willie Ponder caught a bunch of passes. Likewise, with RB Derrick Ward out, RB Mike Jemison got a large number of carries. Running backs Little John Flowers and James Sims also got chances to run with the ball. In my opinion, the three running backs are still neck-and-neck for a spot on the team. They all have some speed and can catch the ball. The deciding factor may come in Thursday’s game against the Chiefs.

For about half of the practice the individual squads practiced drills amongst themselves. When the 11-on-11s started, it began with an unusual end-around. The usual suspects are wide receivers Tim Carter, Willie Ponder, or Michael Jennings. This time it was Plaxico Burress. Somehow, I don’t expect to see this in an actual game. William Joseph and Fred Robbins are still the starting defensive tackles.

I thought that QB Eli Manning looked sharp today and to a lesser extent, the other quarterbacks. Manning and RB Brandon Jacobs did manage to mess up the mesh on what looked like an inside hand-off. Brandon held on, but in a game it could have been knock away for a fumble.

Jared Lorenzen continues to look better than QB Rob Johnson and continues to connect on deeper passes than Johnson throws. One of Johnson’s throws was tipped by the defense or bounced off a receiver and intercepted by S Claudius Osei. That is the first play that I have seen Claudius make. Somebody told me that as an undergraduate Claudius played for the College of Cardinals in Rome, but I do not believe it.

Jay Feely had an interesting practice drill. He put footballs at 10 yard intervals down the center of the field. The last ball was perhaps 50 yards from the goal posts. He and a snapper then worked their way down the field towards the goal line. It looked like Feely was getting tremendous distance and good direction on his kicks.

I have not mentioned TE Darcy Johnson. He is big and quick and he caught several balls in the 11-on-11s. Again, I believe it will be the Chiefs game which will determine which tight end can block and which tight end can get open enough to have the ball thrown to him.