Practice report: Fingers, fakes and the rise of DaMonster
Day two and so far no serious injuries. That seems to put the Giants ahead of about half the teams in the NFL.
Of course the Giants’ main medical worries came into camp that way, so maybe they’re just ahead of the curve. Jason Pierre-Paul (back), Henry Hynoski (knee), Chris Snee (hip), Terrell Thomas (knee) and Markus Kuhn (knee) remain on PUP and were rehabbing on the side during practice.
And of course there was Hakeem Nicks, who, if you read this blog or follow me on Twitter, you know by now spent the second half of practice on the sideline with tightness in his groin. Could be nothing, could be something. We’ll keep you posted.
Also, Tyler Sash missed the last two snaps of practice with what looked like cramps in his legs. He collapsed in a heap while covering on a special teams drill and the trainers came over and stretched him out on the field. He was eventually carted off, but didn’t seem to be too depressed about getting the ride to the locker room.
Another injury that we could learn more about tomorrow and Kris Adams’. He dropped a pass from Eli Manning in 7-on-7s and immediately grabbed one hand with the other. He had it looked at, returned to the field, and a few snaps later he dropped another and again grabbed at his hands. It could be a dislocated or jammed finger or something like that. I remember two years ago Devin Thomas suffered a fractured pinkie trying to catch a pass in training camp. He said he took off his glove and the skin was peeled off the bone. It looked like the scraps plate at a Buffalo Wild Wings. Not sure Adams’ injury rises to that level (or maybe it does), but he’d been getting some solid reps so far in camp and looked to be competing for a job as WR depth.
Ok, enough doom and gloom. Let’s get into the football.
We had the same starting units as yesterday on both offense and defense (minus Nicks, natch). There were a few times that Kevin Boothe moved over to center to give David Baas a break and Selvish Capers moved up to play guard with the ones. The second offensive line included Justin Pugh at left tackle followed across by Brandon Mosley, Jim Cordle, Capers and Chris DeGeare.
The first action of practice was in one-on-one drills that featured WRs vs. DBs on one field and RBs and TEs vs. LBs on another. I watched the wide receivers and saw Rueben Randle make a nice catch on a deep pass from David Carr over Terrence Frederick. Brandon Collins caught a deep one from Carr, too, as did Nicks (pre-groin tightness) who accelerated on a go route to get past Corey Webster. The best route of the drill, though, was a double move from Chase Clement that had safety Cooper Taylor spinning. (I was told that Adrien Robinson made a pair of impressive grabs over on the other field.)
In the first series of 11-on-11 snaps Carr made a nice throw rolling to his left and hitting Jerrel Jernigan. Jacquian Williams flashed for the first time in camp when he came in and stuffed a run by Ryan Torain. And David Caldwell had a really nice pass breakup when he batted a ball out of the hands of Kevin Hardy on a deep post pass from Ryan Nassib. That series was also the first time that Damontre Moore jumped out at me on the day – he had to be held by DeGeare on an inside move – but more on him a bit later.
Next came kickoff returns. David Wilson seems to be the primary player the Giants want back there (for now) but Jernigan, Michael Cox and Da’rel Scott were also getting reps. Pugh, by the way, was working with the first return unit as an upfront blocker for Wilson.
After that it was time for Josh Brown’s first field goal attempts of the summer. He was good from 20, 27 and 33 yards. But on the attempt from 38 the Giants ran a fake. Holder Steve Weatherford rolled out to his right and lofted a pass to Adrien Robinson that was tipped by Mathias Kiwanuka but ultimately caught for a touchdown (or at least a few yards if the defense was interested in tackling anyone). Funny moment: At Coughlin’s presser after practice Jeff Feagles who is now a Giants broadcaster asked Coughlin why he never ran fakes like that when he was the holder. “There are a lot of reasons,” Coughlin chuckled. “(Weatherford) can get to the edge, maybe. He didn’t throw it as well as you did, though.”
With kicking (and Weatherford’s glory) in the books, it was back to 7-on-7s. Carr connected on a deep pass to Victor Cruz with Sash and Trumaine McBride in the area (but not making contact with Cruz due to training camp rules). Jernigan caught a pass from Curtis Painter on a nice double move. And Jake Muasau intercepted a pass from Ryan Nassib that was intended for Jeremy Horne, stepping in front of the receiver for the pick and returning it to the end zone with Perry Fewell galloping alongside.
Back to 11-on-11s. The Giants opened with a two-tight end formation that included Brandon Myers and Adrien Robinson (three TEs if you include Bear Pascoe at fullback) and Rueben Randle as the lone receiver. They ran a toss to David Wilson out of the formation in case any of the other 31 teams in the league are interested. On the next snap, though, they went with three wide and had Cruz, Randle and Louis Murphy running routes (Nicks was sidelined by then). Manning wound up throwing to Andre Brown on a checkdown.
A few other plays that stood out in that series were the play-action rollouot pass from Manning to Pascoe, a pass for Myers that was broken up by Mark Herzlich, and a 50-yard floater of a deep ball from Manning towards Cruz that was broken up by Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown. When the second team came out I really focused in on Damontre Moore and was not disappointed. In a series of three straight snaps he beat DeGeare with an inside move to put pressure on Carr, then lined up on the other side and beat Robinson to stuff a run by Torain, and then stayed on that side to draw what would have been a holding penalty against Pugh. He beat DeGeare again later in the drills but slipped and lost his footing. Later on, though, he was able to recreate that inside move against poor DeGeare and put pressure on Painter that helped break up the timing on a deep pass for Hardy. Aaron Ross was there to nearly intercept it. A very impressive series from Damontre Moore. If he can come in for two or three series a game and play like that this year, the Giants will be tickled.
The offense/defense part of practice then shifted to some red zone plays. Cruz beat Amukamara early. Manning threw away his only other pass in the drill when he ran out of time and chucked it into the back of the end zone. Dan Connor and Aaron Curry would have destroyed David Carr had it been an actual game as the two linebackers both blitzed and came through cleanly. And in one of the more subtle but impressive plays of his short career so far, Ryan Nassib saw that he did not have any open receivers and he threw the ball away rather than try to force it. Good decision making for the rookie. Kyle Bosworth and Muasau each had nice plays on run stops (theoretically since there is no tackling).
Finally, there were a few hurry-up snaps. Manning completed passes to Myers and Pascoe and Wilson took a handoff to march the first offense down the field.
Practice ended with some special teams drills, but there were only a handful of reps. Maybe because Sash was lying in the middle of the field being treated for his cramps while players tried to run around him.