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Dodge hangs 'em, Barden is (maybe too) spectacular, and the defense keeps finding new linebackers

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, right, watches rookie

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, right, watches rookie Matt Dodge punt the ball on the first day of training camp in Albany, N.Y. (Aug. 1, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Here’s your evening update from tonight’s practice, which ended just a little while ago and just a few minutes before it started raining here in Albany:

It was the first practice with officials on the field, although not all of them were NFL officials. Those who sat out were: Rich Seubert, Kevin Boothe, Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, Kevin Boss, Kenny Phillips and Travis Beckum.

We decided to have some fun and chart the distance and hang time of Matt Dodge’s punts this evening. I was in charge of the clock, Garafolo was in charge of the distances, and DiTrani was the secretary who recorded all of the numbers. Here’s what we came up with:

PUNT  YARDS   HANG
1             60          4.46
2             42          3.14
3             57          4.59
4             36          2.89
5             65          3.95
6             43          2.95
7             57          4.77
8             44          3.57
9             47          3.56
10           48          3.18
11           56          4.33
12           60          4.52
13           64          4.62
14           47          3.16
15           48          3.18
16           53          4.47

That averages out to 51.7 yards per punt with an average hangtime of 3.83 seconds. And yes, we sometimes have a lot of time on our hands while watching practice.

Just to stick with the kicking for a moment, Lawrence Tynes took a whack at some field goals tonight as well. He connected on a PAT and was good from 36, 39, 42, 45 and 47 yards. But he missed from 30 and 33 yards, both times wide left. So he was 6-for-8 on the day and 26-for-29 in the camp.

Guess who made the most amazing catch of the practice? Yup, Ramses Barden. He jumped over Aaron Ross to grab the ball, and when the two came down Barden was on top of Ross, who sort of kicked him into the air the way a circus bear juggles a big ball. Barden held onto it. Quite an athletic move.

Unfortunately later in practice he wasn’t quite as dynamic. In fact, it was a case where simpler would have been better. He ran a 9 route down the right sideline and had Terrell Thomas beat on a long pass from Eli Manning. But he seemed to slow down and try to make a one-handed grab when he should have kept running and stuck it with two hands.

The defense had plenty of new wrinkles tonight, including a look with Tuck, Kiwanuka, Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora all rushing the passer from a two-point stance. Later, they had a scheme with Tuck and Osi both dropping into coverage. Not sure I think that’ll work, but I guess now is the time to see how things look on the field and not just on paper.

Aaron Ross made a nice interception on the sideline, making a one-handed grab on a pass from Jim Sorgi to Victor Cruz. Seth Williams also had an interception in 7-on-7s, fighting Tim Brown for the ball all the way to the ground and while the two were on the ground as well. Safeties coach Dave Merritt had to come over and help Williams get the ball away from Brown, who refused to let go.

Things got a little prickly at the end of practice. Nyan Boateng and Courtney Brown got into a fight that was broken up way too quickly, perhaps because Boateng was on the ground and Brown was standing over him. The next play the two were lined up across from each other with Brown showing press coverage, but he fell back into a zone before anything could be settled at the line of scrimmage. Boateng wound up catching the pass on that play too. There was no fight between them, but after that play there was some shouting from behind the action as Deon Grant and Brandon Jacobs starting woofing at each other. Osi Umenyiora had to take Grant aside and calm him down.

The practice ended with some red zone plays – Barden caught a touchdown, as did Manningham on a slant – and then a two-minute drill. The offense had the ball at the minus-45 with 1:06 remaining. They converted a fourth-and-2 with a slant from Manning to Manningham and then, with 13 seconds left at the snap, Manning hit Nicks for a gain of about 20 yards to put the ball at the 17 with :07 remaining. That was good enough for field goal range and Tom Coughlin ended practice right there.
 

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