I know the evening practice starts soon, so what better time to post my thoughts from the morning practice? Hey, those live chats take a lot of me!
A few new injury situations to talk about. Jay Alford (knee) has been demoted to the one-a-day group (see the post a few below) and late in practice veteran safety Deon Grant had to come off the field with some tightness in his groin. He told me he’ll be back on the field tonight and that he could have continued practicing this morning had the coaches and trainers not noticed the hiccup in his running and forced him to sit out. Tom Coughlin wasn't so sure that Grant would be practicing in the evening, but Grant said “I know, that’s how I like to keep it.”
Mario Manningham (groin) said he would be practicing today, but he didn’t in the morning. We’ll see if he goes in the evening or if his pants are on fire. And Hakeem Nicks is scheduled to participate this evening although he sat out in the morning.
The defense seems to be dominating most of the practices, but that usually evens out. Justin Tuck had what would have been a sack in the 11-on-11 drills. A little later on Nate Collins had one as well, although as a rookie, he sort of flinched when he saw that red quarterbacks jersey and didn’t seem sure of what he was supposed to do. He did a kind of jumping jack. I hope that’s not his sack dance.
Jonathan Goff and the middle linebackers have been blitzing up the middle quite a bit and getting there too. Today he and Phillip Dillard each had plays they reached the red jersey. In fact Goff would have sacked Eli Manning in regular football; instead Manning was able to have time and throw a pass over the head of Scott Chandler that was nearly intercepted by Terrell Thomas. Pushups, dude.
Antrel Rolle had an interception in 7-on-7 drills, picking off a pass from Jim Sorgi for Jake Ballard. It was a pretty bad pass (or maybe a bad route) that sailed far out of Ballard’s reach and was plucked by the safety.
But Rolle was bested by rookie Tim Brown on a short curl route when the two of them dove for a pass from Rhett Bomar and Brown was able to hang on to it. The very next play Brown went deep down the left sideline and Bomar aired it out to him. Brown got his hands on the ball but his feet got tangled up with Aaron Ross’ and he tripped and was unable to hang onto the pass while he fell to the ground.
Oh, and a day after I jabbed Ramses Barden for not making any spectacular catches, he made one. Glad I got my one-liners in on time! He was coming toward the sideline on an out and had to stretch back and twist his body and reach for a pass that was thrown behind him towards the middle of the field. Yesterday he "blamed" the quarterbacks for his lack of acrobatic catches because they have been making such great throws. I hope he shares the credit for this one with Jim Sorgi; without his bad pass the play never would have happened!
The team was in shoulder pads for the first time this training camp – the first time since last January – and they were excited about hitting. The first real pop of camp came when D.J. Ware came through a hole and collided with Dave Tollefson. Gerris Wilkinson also brought some sound effects with his shoulder pads. Tonight the Giants will be in full pads, and many of the players are excited about it. But Tom Coughlin said being in all that equipment doesn’t mean they should be unloading on each other.
“To me, the message is, yes you are in full pads, but we still don’t want them on the ground,” he said. “The pads are the pads. They’re protecting their legs better and you’re a little bit more intense, but you’re still trying to stay up. You don’t tackle, you just thud.”