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Practice report: Donnell goes down, good news on JPP, and a fight on the last play

Giants tight end Larry Donnell practices during team

Giants tight end Larry Donnell practices during team training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Aug. 16, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

Well, I don’t think THAT was scripted on the scouting cards.

Most of practice was played off of the diagrams that the coaches make up to prepare for the upcoming opponent, so there was very little in the way of live action. Guys were playing hard and there were some interesting things to note, but most of it was just working on fits and placements in shells.

Until …

Practice ended with a hurry-up drill engineered by Ryan Nassib and the rest of the second- and third-stringers. We’ll get to the details of that drive in a bit, but the most significant part of it was after it was over when two Giants players – Adewale Ojomo and we believe Selvish Capers – started fighting. Soon a whole bunch of other players were in the middle of the pile trying to break it up (and probably get a few hits in before they face the Colts).

“A defensive end and a tackle,” Tom Coughlin said. “I didn’t see it. I’m sure it was some kind of a rush. They just lost it. Suddenly they lost it. Somebody jumped in between them and they shake hands and keep going.

“Of course I’m not happy,” Coughlin said of the dust-up. “Why would I be happy about that? You can get somebody hurt under those circumstances.”

Ojomo should know that more than most. He missed the 2009 college football season at Miami after he broke his jaw in a locker room fight with a teammate. It didn’t seem as if anything that serious happened this time, though.

One serious injury did take place before we get into actual football stuff. Larry Donnell, who was having a nice camp at tight end and dabbling at fullback and had a good chance to make the 53-man roster, appeared to injure his left knee. Coughlin said he would have the usual battery of tests and he had to be carted off the field. Later he left the building on crutches, presumably for a date with an MRI machine.

No speculation, but you can draw your own three-lettered conclusion from this description if you follow enough football (especially this preseason): Donnell was running across the field and leaped in the air to catch a high pass from David Carr. Alonzo Tweedy buzzed in front of him but the two did not appear to make contact. Donnell came down on his left foot and the knee just gave out. He immediately crumpled to the ground and was moved to the sideline where trainers rushed over to examine the joint and a cart was summoned. As he was driving off the field, a trainer gave a gentle pat to the left knee which was being held down and immobilized.

Anyway, back on the field because even with Donnell being examined on the sideline practice went on. The train waits for no man. Well, maybe Tom Brady. But few men, let’s put it that way.

That hurry-up drill. Nassib looked very impressive in it. He had the ball at his own 40 with 1:02 remaining and a time out. He wound up driving the team into field goal range with :03 left by completing 5 of 6 passes, the only incompletion a spike to stop the clock. First his hit Julian Talley for a first down and then Talley again on the right side for a short gain of about 3 yards (Talley, remember, caught Nassib’s pass in the preseason game to get the team into field goal range). On second down Nassib hit Jamie Childers for a first down and called a timeout. His next pass went to Kevin Hardy and the offense rushed up to spike the ball with :07 just outside the 20. Nassib went back to Talley on the left sideline for a first down and Talley went out of bounds with :03 left. That’s when Coughlin called for the bands in the middle of the fight.

A few interesting personnel notes since there wasn’t much in the way of actual action. First, it looks like Dan Connor will start at middle linebacker for the Giants on Sunday against the Colts. He was with the starters for just about every drill, including the important work against the cards … James Brewer saw his first decent action on the field and was playing right tackle with the second unit. Justin Pugh was playing left tackle with that group. Look for them to be in those spots on Sunday … Terrell Thomas was very active as the nickel and even took some reps as an outside cornerback. But Coughlin said that the Giants will give Thomas another week of practicing before he takes the field against an opponent. He won’t play Sunday. That should open up an opportunity for Jayron Hosley, the next DB up in the nickel if Aaron Ross has to play outside in place of Corey Webster as he has for most of this week. Webster practiced on Wednesday but was back on the sideline today. Coughlin called him day-to-day.

The rest of the injury report: Antrel Rolle strolled out to the field midway through the workout. His sprained ankle was still taped up but he was not wearing the protective boot (which, as you know, is for a wimp) … Da’rel Scott (shoulder) returned to practice, as did Jerrel Jernigan (soreness) … Brandon Collins (hamstring) was not on the field … Damontre Moore (shoulder) has not practiced since his preseason debut against the Steelers a week ago tomorrow … Chris DeGeare (ankle) was also still on the sideline … S Cooper Taylor (hamstring) stretched with the team and looks like he’s close, but he’s still not practicing. Perhaps next week for him. That’d be my guess.

A few plays of note just to put them on the record even though they were not fully contested at all times: Aaron Ross had a nice interception on a scout team pass from Ryan Nassib to Kevin Hardy … Victor Cruz accelerated and made a fingertip grab on a deep post pass from David Carr … Coughlin was not happy with a few aspects of practice, including the way the scout defense was run. At one point they were missing a third-string nickel. “Let’s go, get ‘em out here!” he yelled. Junior Mertile had to slink onto the field in shame. Later he was unhappy with something that fullback Ben Guidugli did. “Come on, fullback!” Coughlin shouted. Maybe Coughlin just has a beef with players wearing number 49. Both Mertile and Guidugli wear it.

By the way, it’s interesting that Nassib was running the scout team against the starting defense for most of the day. If the Giants keep only two quarterbacks – Nassib and Manning, in other words – that will be a big part of his job requirement.

And finally, some good news on Jason Pierre-Paul. Coughlin said that the DE who is coming off back surgery and is still on PUP had an “outstanding day” on Thursday when the rest of the players were off. “He worked well yesterday, he was right out here,” Coughlin said, pointing to the practice field. “He ran well, he worked in the weight room.” Pierre-Paul was not on the field today, though, due to soreness from that workout. “They just held him back today,” Coughlin said. “In other words he’s not ready to come out two days in a row and do today what he did yesterday. But I’m encouraged by what he did.”

Bands!

Tags: Tom Coughlin , Adewale Ojomo , Ryan Nassib , Dan Connor , Terrell Thomas , Corey Webster , Victor Cruz , Antrel Rolle , Larry Donnell , Giants , training camp

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