Victor Cruz, second from right, runs into the end zone...

Victor Cruz, second from right, runs into the end zone during training camp in East Rutherford, N.J., Thursday, July 24, 2014. Credit: AP

It’s expected to be the most dynamic combination the Giants will have this season, and it took three days for it to finally show up. I speak, of course, of the Eli Manning pass to Victor Cruz. For the first two practices that connection had been non-existent (at least in 11-on-11 team drills). But today, it finally appeared.

Manning hit Cruz on a slant on the right side early in the no-huddle portion of the practice, then connected with him again on a short pass in goal-line plays later in the same segment. He also hit Cruz on a slant early on in 7-on-7s. Three passes may not sound like a lot, but it was just starting to get noticeable that the two were not hooking up with – or even attempting to hook up with -- the same regularity that they have in the past.

So now that THAT’s out of the way, let’s get to the rest of the abbreviated practice which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes and was capped by an unorthodox half-hour stretching session in the fieldhouse.

The no-huddle segment was not as fast as it has been in previous days. I didn’t time it today, but it was clearly slower. That may be by design. Tom Coughlin said earlier in the week that there are different tempos depending on what the Giants want to accomplish. One thing I did notice was Manning directing the players with some hand signals. At one point he used a signal that clearly changed a route for two receivers on his left as they changed positions at the line of scrimmage.

Here are a few plays of note:

Manning still hasn’t completed a deep pass in this camp, but he attempted one to Jerrel Jernigan in the no-huddle portion. It was overthrown … Robert Ayers Jr. was very active as a pass-rusher today, beating Charles Brown several times … Ryan Nassib had one pass batted down at the line when he was under pressure (from Ayers). The ball was batted by Damontre Moore, but I think he thinks he probably should have caught it. Those plays are tough … Nassib, who hasn’t exactly been a shining star in his second training camp, also threw a short underneath pass to Kellen David even though Mario Manningham was wide open down the left sideline and Nassib was rolling in that direction. Manningham was even waving his arms to indicate how open he was. Nassib either didn’t see him or didn’t think he could reach him on the run … Not to keep picking on Nassib, but even when he does something right on paper it seems a bit off. Example: Later in practice he hit Jerrel Jernigan for a pass on the right side. The problem was he held onto the ball way too long and the play was slow developing. In a real game Nassib never would have had the time he had to go through his reads and finally settle on Jernigan … Zack Bowman had a nice PD on a pass from Nassib to Preston Parker … Andre Williams dropped a short pass in goal-line plays. Good thing I wrote about his improved catching ability yesterday! Williams did later make a really sharp cut at the line of scrimmage, planting and juking to his left. I wrote about that yesterday too, so I’m hitting .500 … Manning threw a fade to the right corner of the end zone where Jerrel Jernigan apparently made the catch over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie … The no-huddle segment ended with a bit of a dustup between the linemen. All in good fun, but these guys need to get into pads. They will wear shoulder pads on Friday and be in full pads on Sunday … Josh Brown missed the first field goal of training camp when his kick bounced off the top of the right upright. Advantage: McManus? … Kiwanuka made a nice play batting down a Manning pass … Preston Parker dropped a pass from Manning … Lots of short passes in the 7-on-7 drills. Walter Thurmond came up to make the tackle on one of them from Manning to Julian Talley … A Nassib pass went through the hands of Larry Donnell, although everyone’s favorite rookie linebacker Devon Kennard was in tight coverage and may have gotten a piece of the ball to alter its trajectory … Manning led Rueben Randle a bit too much on a slant in the final 11-on-11 segment … The Giants had the first deep completion of training camp and of course it was a pass from Curtis Painter to Corey Washington. What, you were expecting someone else?

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