August 2, 2007 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Morning Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

The weather for training camp has been mild so far, but with temperatures expected in the mid-90s, today I’m sure the Giants are grateful to be starting at 8:40 AM and wearing shorts and shells. The second practice will begin at 6:10 PM and should for the most part, avoid the midday heat. Good planning by Coach Coughlin. (Well somebody had to say something nice about the guy – the press won’t!)

There is a lot to say about this practice and very little to smile about. TE Jeremy Shockey did not dress. I don’t know why. He did not appear to be limping, nor did he appear to be taped up. Plaxico did not dress either, but he is on a one practice a day schedule. Amani Toomer did play, he seems to be running fine and made a catch or two, but nothing spectacular.

Maybe the defense was doing a great job, or maybe it was because Shockey and Burress did not play, but for whatever reason, QB Eli Manning looked very ordinary this morning. He only threw the ball deep a few times. The only completion was a very deep well timed pass to WR Michael Jennings, but that was in the 7-on-7 drill, rather than the 11-on-11s. SS James Butler easily intercepted another deep pass from Eli in the 11-on-11s. The best that you can say about Eli’s performance is that the other QBs were worse.

Jared Lorenzen did not have much success on passes more than 10 yards down field and made some poor throws, used poor judgment, and held the ball too long. In the 11-on-11s, QB Anthony Wright fumbled one center snap that I saw, and I’m told that in drills he also fumbled other snaps. Tim Hasselbeck did not have much of a chance to play. I’d guess he got fewer than 8 snaps with the
11- on-11s.

It looked like C Shaun O’Hara got a finger in the eye, but he was back after two plays. Second team MLB Chase Blackburn also got nicked up. He came out of the game and looked like he had his upper thigh iced up. I did not see him participate after that. LB James Davis filled in for Chase on the second team.

With LS Ryan Kuehl injured, LB Zak DeOssie and C/G Grey Ruegamer did the long snapping for punts. Zak and Grey were on the field 20 minutes before practice started working on long snaps. It was obvious (and understandable) that, neither of them is at Kuehl’s high level. Before I comment on how well they are doing, I think that it is only fair to give them a few more practices. In tennis the mantra for new players is “consistency, then accuracy, then power.” I would say that both Grey and Zak are still at the consistency and accuracy stages of development.

If Ryan Kuehl, misses only a game or two, maybe Zak and Grey are enough for the team. One benefit would be that on punt coverage, Zak DeOssie should make more tackles than Kuehl (or Ruegamer).

I guess P Jeff Feagles is not a morning person. He has not appeared at a single morning practice. However, he more than makes up for it with booming and accurate punts in the afternoons.

It’s funny how life imitates art. Grey Ruegamer is the only Giant player with gray hair. The only blonde on the team is Shockey. I don’t think he was having much fun this morning. Rookie DT Jay Alford, who played with both the second and third-team defenses, can also long snap. Most likely he will snap for field goals.
The wide receivers stood about ten yards from the ball machine and caught passes. Even Plaxico participated. Amani and Plaxico not only caught the balls while facing square to the machine, they also stood with their right and then left shoulders to the machine. This is tougher to do, but makes a lot of sense.

The second team offensive line consists of T Guy Wimper, G Matt Lentz, C Grey Ruegamer, G Zach Piller, and T Jonathan Dunn. DE William Joseph continues to start with Michael Strahan out. Cornerbacks R.W. McQuarters and Sam Madison are the starters with Corey Webster not dressed this morning. CB Gerrick McPherson seems to be on the second team where he made an excellent pass defense in the 7-on-7s of a Jared Lorenzen pass to WR David Tyree. CB E.J. Underwood appears to be on the third team.

The QBs were throwing the ball at stationary target nets again, to the delight of the crowd. If the QB got the ball into the target pouch, the crowd would cheer and the QB would raise his arms or fist in mock triumph.

The tight ends were also going through drills with Coach Mike Pope. Pope was showing them the proper technique for fighting off the defensive player by knocking his arms away and then the proper technique for a fire-out run block. There was a blocking sled drill, but with Shockey not participating it was hard to judge how well they were doing. Charles Davis was the only TE who seemed to need more specific instructions from Pope about the sled.

Charles Davis had a good day catching passes. He caught at least three and I did not see any drops. Charles has a rather lumbering gait as compared with TE Kevin Boss who looks very light on his feet. It appears that the QBs have confidence in Boss, because they throw him passes where he has to jump or fight for the ball. Today he caught a ball thrown behind him, showing good hands. Even when he does not catch the ball, he looks like a throughly professional receiver.

Big TE Michael Matthews had the most catches of any receiver today. He caught at least four. He has decent speed for a 270 pounder, is not awkward catching the ball, and seem to be able to find an open spot on the field. TE Darcy Johnson had the best catch by a TE. It was Eli’s second best throw. It was in the 11-on-11s and Johnson ran a crossing pattern with Eli hitting him in full stride for a TD, about two paces before Johnson went out of bounds.

I continue to be impressed by RB Ahmad Bradshaw’s ability to cut both as a runner and as a receiver. He is quick and was also returning kick offs (from a machine) this morning. On another play he showed very good balance. He cut and nearly fell, but put a hand on the turf and regained his balance while his legs continued to churn.

Speaking of quick. Brandon Jacobs ran around end quite a few times showing excellent speed. On one play, DE Osi Umenyiora, from the opposite side of the field, ran after him for about 40 yards, came up behind him and attempted to punch the ball out of Jacob’s grasp. I don’t think that this was part of the play, just sheer bravado on Osi’s part. Take that, Simeon Rice!

In the 7-on-7 drills, MLB Chase Blackburn made a sparkling play to bat a pass intended for Kevin Boss up into the air. Boss showed good field awareness and nearly caught it on the rebound, but rookie CB Aaron Ross got there first and scampered into the end zone with the interception. Also in the 7-on-7s, not only was a pass thrown to TE Darcy Johnson de-fensed, but Darcy was also de-pantsed. Since is a family board, I will not go into the details.

The most impressive catch of the day was a leaping catch by WR Marco Thomas of an Anthony Wright pass. Thomas was met in mid-air with a hard tackle from, I think, CB Travonti Johnson, but Thomas hung on to the ball.