August 17, 2007 New York Giants Training Camp Report (Afternoon Practice)

by Contributor Marty in Albany

The Giants were in helmets, shorts, and shoulder pads this afternoon. WR Plaxico Burress was not dressed. Nevertheless, his shoulders without shoulder pads, are as broad as WR Sinorice Moss’s with shoulder pads. Although dressed, I did not see Sinorice actually practice. Also attending practice was LB Gerris Wilkinson. He was wearing a sweatshirt and shorts. Neither of his legs was wrapped and he appeared to be walking without effort. Other linebackers of note today were Mathias Kiwanuka, Zak DeOssie, and Reggie Torbor.

Reggie and Kiwi were called aside by a coach to work on a pass blocking drill. Basically, the players take turns blitzing the coach who throws a pass aimed over their head. The players jump and block the pass. (Yes, I know, this is traditionally the play where as soon as the Giant leaves his feet, the QB double pumps, eludes the LB and either scrambles into the end zone or passes for a TD. Nevertheless, the players were asked to do this drill.) They both blocked the first pass.

On the next pass, Reggie Torbor actually caught the ball for what would have been an interception. Kiwi, not wanting to be outdone, intercepted the next pass too. Torbor then wiffs on the next pass, but that is not the point. The point is that Kiwi is a fast learner. Later on in the 11-on-11s, Kiwi used perfect technique in an attempt to block a pass. The ball was out of his reach, but clearly, he is learning.

LB Zak DeOssie was long snapping for punts by P Cory Ohnesorge. The snaps were better than C Grey Ruegamer’s whose snaps were inconsistent in height and wobbly. Cory kicked some good and some poor punts. He is no threat to take P Jeff Feagles’ job. Zak was also well positioned to intercept a pass thrown by QB Eli Manning to WR Amani Toomer. Zak’s positioning prevented the catch. Had he turned his head and actually looked for the ball, he might have intercepted.

Speaking of P Jeff Feagles, he is the holder for kicks. There were several field goals attempts. K Lawrence Tynes and K Josh Huston both might have made a 40 yarder or two, but I was not in a good position to see. Either by design, or because of a bad snap from DT Jay Alford, Jeff Feagles yelled “Fire” which is the Giants signal for Feagles to attempt a pass on a botched FG. To the consternation of the coaching staff, it appeared that most of the Giants had no clue about what to do. The were given explicit or shall I say, “expletive” instructions.

Presumably, because QB Tim Hasselbeck will play extensively in the upcoming game against the Ravens, Tim got a lot of reps today. As usual, Tim blew hot and cold, and had bad luck too. He made some good completions, threw his patented “nothing but turf” pass, and had at least one ball bounce off the receivers numbers.

QB Anthony Wright, who will NOT be playing against the Ravens got almost as many chances as Hasselbeck. Anthony and Tim were often leading the second- or third-team offense against the first-team defense. I don’t really understand why Eli Manning and Jared Lorenzen did not get more passing opportunities. Both of them were far from perfect and a number of Eli’s passes were wobbly.

The most memorable part of camp took place when the players were doing their stretching exercises. By the way, I am proud to announce that neither of the new and huge defensive linemen, Tui Alailefaleula and Manny Wright can get any closer to their toes than I can – about mid-shin. On the other hand, S Will Demps is really flexible. He must have tightened up during the practice so a coach was helping him stretch. Demps was lying supine on the grass and the coach stretched each of his legs in turn to the point where each ankle was about 10 inches from Demps’ nose. If Demps were upright, he would look like a Radio City Music Hall Rockette doing a high kick. Sorry, that was not the memorable part.

As I was watching the players stretch, there was a shout to my right, “It’s Michael Strahan!” I turned to see number 92 walking with DE Justin Tuck and greeting other players. The fans were whooping and applauding. I turned to tell the guy next to me that Strahan is back and when I looked back at Strahan, he had taken off his helmet and I realized that it was an imposter. DT William Joseph had put on one of Strahan’s jerseys. He was now taking it off and replacing it with his own 94 jersey. He tossed Strahan’s jersey on the ground (but he did not step on it. No symbolism here.) It was a great joke by Joseph, but somehow I did not feel the urge to laugh.

Since I don’t think that irony is part of William Joseph’s makeup, perhaps his decision to make light of Strahan’s absence is because he is not worried about it. Perhaps he thinks that Strahan will soon return.

There was a great deal of shifting of players around and rather than try to examine the significance of individual plays, let me make a few generalizations. There were a lot of passes dropped that should have been caught and there were a lot of passes that were imperfectly thrown today. Perhaps it was because of the shifting of personnel, perhaps because Eli Manning and Jared Lorenzen did not get many reps and needed them, or perhaps because shoulder pads were worn rather than shells.

TE Charlie Davis caught more passes than anyone (about 6) and continues to impress me. TE Michael Matthews made a good catch and dropped another. Kevin McMahon had several good catches and several drops. TE Kevin Boss, had several chances but failed to make a catch.