Tom Coughlin spoke about not being able to find any tight ends the other day.
“Do you know how many teams in the league are looking for tight ends?” he asked when the subject of bringing in new blood for the position was broached. “Seriously, you saw when Dallas got just about wiped out the other night. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not novel. That idea has been used way earlier. But the search goes on and to be honest with you, it’s not a real fertile position when trying to find players that are out there.”
Apparently it went from an outward search to an inward one, because there were a few defensive players who pitched in on scout teams tonight to play tight end. Dave Tollefson is probably the most recognizable name in the bunch (you remember Dave, right?) but the list also included LB Adrian Tracy, DE Tommie Hill and safeties Michael Greco and John Busing, both of whom also lined up as WRs at some points. They all pulled white pinnies over their blue defensive jerseys and jumped in.
There was some sideline discussion about what to call the white pinnies. Some writers had never heard of the term "pinny." In case you haven't either, it's a short, sleeveless, loose-fitting mesh jersey that fits over whatever uniform you are wearing. It's actually derived from the word "pinafore," which is a kind of smock or apron. But now I'm probably delving too deep into things that are non-football related. It did, however, allow me the opportunity to embed a Gilbert & Sullivan clip, so worthwhile I believe. If only Tollefson were an Englishman.
Who held their own? Well, Tracy wound up catching a nice over-the-shoulder pass from Rhett Bomar late in practice. Tollefson looked good coming off the line of scrimmage, especially when he was in the slot. And Busing made a nice grab as you would expect a player from the defensive secondary might.
Clearly, though, Tracy had the best time doing it. He said afterwards that it reminded him of high school when he actually played tight end. As for the catch he made?
“It was a little sail pattern that I had drawn up,” Tracy said. “I was just really trying to make sure I executed how it was on the notebook, so I wouldn’t get yelled at. A couple plays before I actually had a vertical up the seam, and I thought I was open so I wanted to let Rhett know that he should throw me the ball next time. He did, and I went up and made the catch.”
Besides the excitement of seeing who was running routes for the first time, it was a pretty dry practice. The team was using cards to work on scout team stuff and start preparing for the Giants, and once they start doing that training camp loses a lot of its oomph. But there were a few notable plays including a deep pass from Eli Manning to Ramses Barden early in 11-on-11s (against a scout defense) and a nice pass breakup by Bruce Johnson against Duke Calhoun on a long ball from Bomar.
The kickers both took some whacks today. Matt Dodge was a little more consistent but lacking in the spectacular. It looked like he was trying to get a little more direction in his punts, which averaged 43.2 yards with a 3.83 second hangtime. Here are his numbers:
* I sneezed just as Dodge punted this last one so the time might be off by just a few fractions of a second.
And then Lawrence Tynes came on and kicked four field goals, one from PAT distance and then 34-, 43- and 49-yarders. He's 36-for-39 in camp, his longest still being the 50-yarder he kicked the other day.
The biggest news that will affect Monday’s game was probably who was playing and who wasn’t. Once again the Giants lined up their offensive line with Beatty at left tackle, Diehl and left guard, O’Hara at center, Guy Whimper at right guard and Kareem McKenzie at right tackle. As I mentioned earlier, with Chris Snee and Rich Seubert not playing on Monday, that’s probably the most stout line they can put out there to protect Manning.
We saw a little progress from some of the injured players. Corey Webster, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Scott Chandler were all doing some running on a side field. But Michael Johnson did not practice for the second straight day due to a back issue (he had said earlier that he was good to go; when will I stop listening to these guys?) and Mario Manningham was also sidelined with an injury.
Last practice tomorrow before the game on Monday.