After a week of training camp, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur probably has a pretty good idea of the type of players he has on his roster. He’s trying hard not to let that influence him.
Shurmur said he’d like to let the evaluation process play itself out before coming to any rash conclusions regarding depth charts, roster spots or other decisions a head coach must take on.
“I think we tend to judge as coaches and we fight being instant evaluators,” he said. “We need to see guys playing football and the true game of football which happens after the pads [come on]. There’s some guys that are timed really fast and they’re fast in shorts and then when the pads go on they look very different. We will constantly evaluate the players, but really, the final evaluation on all the players doesn’t come until we hit the 53 [man roster].”
Shurmur also cautioned that drills don’t always tell the whole story of a player.
“I think you have to be really, really careful,” he said. “I know there are a lot of evaluators that will say, ‘Boy, he did a great job in one-on-one.’ Well, we play the game 11-on-11. The drill work is one thing, but that’s why it’s so critical to see the 11-on-11 drills, the preseason games, and when we scheme it up and play real football.”
Davis Webb is facing a new Giants defense in practices, but he does have one advantage. Last year it was his job to pre-scout the upcoming opponents and keep a notebook on tendencies and schemes, so before training camp he pulled out the files from the Cardinals game in December. New Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher was the defensive coordinator in that game. Webb said it’s given him at least an idea of what the Giants will be showing him in practice rather than going in blind.
It seems to be paying off, too.
“What’s good about our practice sessions is we get a lot of different blitz combinations and concepts,” Shurmur said. “It’s the real mental gymnastics that quarterbacks need to go through and I thought [Eli Manning and Webb] did a good job of sometimes knowing if they were blocked properly, if there was an extra guy, or making adjustments necessary to fix a problem.”
At the risk of ignoring Shurmur’s rule against early evaluations, a few under-the-radar players who have stood out so far in training camp: Wide receivers Amba Etta-Tawo and Kalif Raymond, defensive tackle A.J. Francis, cornerbacks Kenneth Durden and Grant Haley … The Giants return to practice on Wednesday after a day off on Tuesday.