Tom was happy today.
While this morning it was raining and it looked like the day might be a washout, it started to clear up around 11:30 and by the time the Giants were ready to practice at 1:30 it was a beautiful day. First one in Albany. I noted early on that it finally felt like training camp, and Coughlin agreed. He noted the blue skies and lush green grass of practice, not to mention the ability to move people around on multiple fields. “We advanced a little as a team today,” Coughlin said afterwards.
So far the score for 2013 camp is: Timex 2, Albany 1.
As for practice there was a lot to talk about from a guy doing a salsa (not Victor Cruz) to a guy catching a football (not a player) to a guy taking his shirt off (not Tebow).
But first we start with the injuries. The four guys on PUP obviously sat out. They were joined by Da’Rel Scott (ankle), Michael Boley (hamstring) and Keith Rivers (hamstring). Having those two veteran linebackers out left Spencer Paysinger playing with the first unit and second-team middle linebacker Mark Herzlich playing outside linebacker with the third unit. Coughlin said they both had “little hamstrings” and should miss a few days but it’s nothing serious at this point. Trattou was in a walking boot after spraining his ankle yesterday. He said x-rays were negative so nothing is broken but he was being sent back to New York for an MRI.
One other quasi-injury to talk about: Terrell Thomas sat out the second half of practice with an ice pack on his knee. He slipped early in the workout and came up ok while doing one-on-one coverage against Domenik Hixon (they need to stop putting those two ACL cases against each other!, it makes me very nervous!), but he then went off to the side and by the time the team was done with 7-on-7 drills Thomas was being iced. After practice he had the ice removed and was doing some ball-catching drills. Coughlin said that could be the routine for Thomas for a while, having to be very cautious with his knee.
Oh, one other thing before we go ahead: Coughlin said that the team would be in heavier pads with more contact tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if guys like Thomas and Will Beatty participate in those drills.
Ok, back to today’s workout.
The day really started with some one-on-one drills between the receivers and the defensive backs. I won’t go over every matchup but some highlights included: Isaiah Stanback forcing Bruce Johnson to slip in coverage … Brandon Bing just missing an interception on a Carr pass to David Douglas … Stevie Brown made a nice play breaking up a pass to Adrien Robinson … Thomas slipped (as noted earlier) while Hixon caught the pass … Ramses Barden snapped up a high pass over Michael Coe … Rueben Randle looked confused on the final route of the drill and was tangled up with Antwaun Molden. Randle seemed to give up when the route busted even though the pass came zipping to him.
In offense and defensive drills, the catch of the day that drew the most applause was by Osi Umenyiora. He was playing a receiver on a scout team and ran a red zone route and caught a TD. Afterwards he celebrated by jumping up against his fellow receiver, Jason Pierre-Paul, with a hip bump. The crowd went wild.
Here are the highlights of the first series of 11-on-11 snaps: D.J. Ware got the start on the first snap but Manning threw to Cruz who was covered by Kenny Phillips … Pierre-Paul batted down a pass from Manning … Paysinger seemed to do a nice job stepping in to stop a run by Ware … Randle caught a pass from Manning with Coe playing off in his coverage … Herzlich was there to make a potential stop on Andre Brown’s run … Tyler Sash had his first pick of the summer when he dove and lifted a pass from Carr off the ground. The pass was intended for Brandon Collins but thrown behind him … Randle caught a nice slant with Hosley covering him closely … Brown was upended by Muasau, who was upended by Chris White, who slipped on the play. None of the coaches were happy that three players lost their footing … The defense adjusted and stuffed an Andre Brown run which prompted Perry Fewell to scream his congratulations to Jojo Nicolas for making the right call … Douglas made a nice catch on a pass that sailed just over the jump of Janzen Jackson.
I just want to drop this observation in here. We’ve all been very impressed with the speed of David Wilson, and he’s shown a remarkable ability to slam on the breaks and cut on a penny (which is 10 times harder to do than cut on a dime!). But one of these times it may result in a collision. In training camp practices defenders do not hit offensive players. They simply run past them. The trouble is that when Wilson sees them coming, he instinctively stops and cuts. Defenders expect the offensive player to keep running in the same direction and they’ll miss him. When Wilson cuts, he might actually find himself cutting right into a defender’s path. That would be dangerous. It almost happened today when Wilson stopped short against Stevie Brown.
Anyway, back to the practice.
The team then worked on special teams. Weatherford punted to returners Jerrel Jernigan, Randle, and Hosley. Justin Tryon did a nice job as the gunner on the first punt.
Lawrence Tynes finally got a chance to kick through some uprights. He was 5-for-5 with two PATs, two from 29 yards and a 34-yarder. The second kick was caught by cameraman Carmen Pizzano up in the tower behind the end zone. That’s always a crowd favorite.
Next up was 7-on-7 drills: Cruz caught the first pass from Manning, but then tried to beat Corey Webster down the right sideline. Webster tipped the ball to himself and made an interception. Kenny Phillips came over to playfully pull Cruz off of Webster. Then, in honor of the play, Antrel Rolle came running over and performed a salsa dance for Cruz … Jerrel Jernigan caught a deep pass down the left sideline over Thomas (who came out after that one to ice his knee) … On a pass to Bennett on the other side of the field, Domenik Hixon went down hard but came up OK … On the next play Hixon left the field yapping at cornerback Justin Tryon in what was a little more intense talk than what you’d call friendly chatter … Jernigan did a nice job separating from the press coverage of Tryon and running a sharp in route to catch a pass from Manning … Randle slowed his route on a deep pass down the left sideline from Carr. Had he kept running he might have been able to make the catch … Greg Jones had good coverage on Dan DePalma for an incompletion … Stanback made a nice catch with Amukamara jumping on his back … Herzlich broke up a pass from Carr to Bear Pascoe … Perrilloux was left holding the ball when no receiver could get open. “Yeah baby! That’s what I’m talking about!” screamed an excited Perry Fewell as he ran onto the field.
Here are some highlights from the second series of 11-on-11 snaps: Manning’s first pass was high and incomplete for Cruz … Paysinger was again in good position to make a run stop, this time against Bradshaw … Justin Tuck was in the backfield to blow up a shotgun draw to Ware and on the next play batted down a screen pass from Eli Manning … Barden made another nice catch with a defender on him, this time Bruce Johnson climbing on his back. Rocky Bernard was in the backfield for a potential sack on the play, though … Mitch Petrus was pulled out of the drills and replaced by Steve Goodin with the second team … Jacquain Williams has his helmet fly off as he took a block from James Brewer. On that same play Jones sent Hynoski to the ground with a little extra pop after the fullback caught a short pass … Adrian Tracy has looked good at DE and beat Adrien Robinson to get in the backfield against Carr. Carr scrambled and was chased down by Jones … Marvin Austin finally showed up in a play and tipped a screen pass. Carr’s throw still managed to reach David Wilson … Perrilloux’s pass for Christian Hopkins was high because he had to throw it over a charging Adewele Ojomo … Ryan Purvis made a nice tip and catch on a high pass … Randle tapped out of the drills and took his pads off as he looked overheated during this time. Coughlin later said the WR just “ran out of gas.”
In the third series of 11-on-11 snaps, which were red zone snaps: The Giants tried an end around pass option play that went nowhere … Manning overthrew Hixon while rolling out to his right … Tuck was in the backfield again to stop Bradshaw, beating Pascoe’s block … Bennett caught a nice TD from Manning, reaching up over the tight coverage of Phillips … Tracy was in the backfield again, but this time Carr hit Collins with a short pass … Stanback, who had been having a fantastic day, dropped a pass from Carr … David Douglas caught a TD from Perrilloux, but Perrilloux’s final pass was a low one incomplete to Stanback. Joe Martinek had the final carry of practice for the third straight day.