Practice report: Debut of new O-line, Eli hits Randle twice, Rolle coming along
There wasn’t much in the way of live action at today’s practice as most of it was done off cards. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t news.
For instance, we saw the new shape of the Giants’ offensive line for the first time. With David Baas out for a few weeks, the team decided to make three moves to replace him. They shifted Kevin Boothe from left guard to center, moved David Diehl from right tackle to left guard, and inserted rookie Justin Pugh at right tackle.
“It’s the best way for us to play right now,” Tom Coughlin said. “We’re trying to get the group on the field now that can work together hopefully and prepare for the regular season.”
That makes it sound as if Coughlin is not convinced that Baas will be back for the opener, which is in 19 days if you are counting. And Coughlin certainly is.
A few thoughts on that new look: Coughlin said he likes having experienced Chris Snee stationed next to Pugh on the right side. He also said that Diehl’s hand injury had little to do with the move. And Coughlin reiterated the faith the Giants have in Pugh. “Obviously we have a lot of confidence in him or he wouldn’t be here where he was picked,” he said of the first-rounder. “Certainly he has plenty to work on, he’s a young kid.”
Meanwhile, over on the defensive side of the ball, the Giants seem to have settled in on their base defense starters and Dan Connor was back with the ones at middle linebacker. Not really much of a surprise there.
Some injury notes:
Antrel Rolle did not practice but we saw him working for the first time since spraining his ankle last week. And working is a good word for it because he was busting it through agility drills that had him running short sprints and making sideways runs in either direction before backpedaling. There was no noticeable limp in his run and he had only a small wrap on his right ankle. Coughlin said yesterday that Rolle is projected to return to practice this week and it sure looks that way.
Justin Tuck was practicing after suffering a slight hamstring strain in the game on Sunday. A few other players also returned to practice after missing time: Cooper Taylor (hamstring), Jerrel Jernigan (soreness) and Brandon Collins (hamstring).
Corey Webster (groin) missed another practice. He’d returned for a workout last week but then went back on the shelf. He was running some agility drills with Antrel. Damontre Moore (shoulder contusion) also missed practiced again.
Add these two guys to the injury list coming out of Sunday’s game against the Colts: Ramses Barden (knee) and Louis Murphy (leg).
Add these two guys to the former Giants list: WR Keith Carlos and T Chris DeGeare were both waived/injured.
And finally, DE Adrian Tracy had to be carted off the field late in practice. Coughlin said it looked like he had hydration issues.
As I said, most of practice was off cards as the Giants prepare for the Jets so we didn’t see much live stuff with starters vs. starters. But there was some action. In fact, the scout defense had a few plays against the first string offense. Charles James did a nice job breaking up a long pass from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks that was a little underthrown and Kyle Bosworth jumped up and batted down an Eli pass at the line of scrimmage … Kevin Hardy caught a deep pass from Curtis Painter … Both Brandon Collins and Jerrel Jernigan had dropped passes in their first practices back … One of Manning’s passes was batted down by assistant offensive line coach Lunda Wells, who was delivering the play cards to the defense and floating in the middle of the field like an umpire … The Giants are preparing to see some wildcat from the Jets on Saturday as they had Ryan Nassib split out wide and ran a direct snap to Ryan Torain against the starting defense.
Of course not all passes were batted down by players (or coaches). The offensive highlights were a pair of deep mirror-image connections between Manning and Rueben Randle. First he ran down the right sideline to make a catch over Terrence Frederick, then a few moments later he went down the left sideline to catch it over Charles James. Two very nice catches.
The only time we saw starters vs. starters was in 7-on-7s. The signature play of that series was when David Wilson ran in motion from the backfield and set up split wide on the left of the offense with Prince Amukamara covering him. Prince had to respect Wilson’s speed and gave him a buffer, which Wilson took advantage of by driving Prince deep and then cutting off his route and curling around to catch a pass from Manning. The offense definitely got a kick out of that play, especially Andre Brown … Julian Talley caught a pass over Aaron Ross … Chase Clement tried to make a one-handed grab while being covered by Etienne Sabino … Interestingly the quarterback order in the 7-on-7s went Eli first (natch!) followed by Ryan Nassib, Curtis Painter and David Carr who had only two snaps and both were incomplete. It makes me wonder if Nassib is moving up. This is supposed to be Painter’s week to compete with the twos and try to become the backup, but the Giants may want to take more of a look at Nassib.
Hey, tomorrow is the last day of training camp that is open to the public. And it’s supposed to be a full pads practice, so there won’t be a better time to come down and see the fellas hammering away on each other. Practice starts at 1:30 and it’s free and open to the public.