For the first time all training camp, 72 wasn’t the first number I was looking for when I hit the field. Tonight, it was 20.
Yes, Prince Amukamara, the first-round draft pick and potential shutdown cornerback, signed his contract with the team this afternoon and was able to practice with them for the first time ever. Although he didn’t get many reps and he had to be directed around rather awkwardly during stretching and on special teams, he came out unscathed. I’m sure for a first practice against a team that has been playing for a week it was very awkward for him, but he did get a few snaps in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. The Giants, he said, told him to take it easy. No sense in having him blow a hammy on his first day. But they need to get him up to speed quickly now. The season begins five weeks from Sunday.
As for the other guy, yes, Osi Umenyiora was still on the bike. The good news is that he was the only non-PUP player there. Ramses Barden and Adam Koets (sporting a new high-and-tight haircut after losing the summer shag) were riding the bike too. Domenik Hixon returned to practice after missing yesterday and so did Devin Thomas, although he wound up leaving early with a dislocated finger. DB Cary Harris also left early with a shoulder injury and LB Spencer Paysinger couldn’t finish with a groin issue.
Practice began with some special teams work and the guys doing the kickoff returns were Jerrel Jernigan, D.J. Ware, Devin Thomas and Darius Reynaud.
The team then went to 1-on-1 drills with receivers against defensive backs. Victor Cruz made a sweet catch over Michael Coe (who for now is the second string CB replacing Bruce Johnson but really holding the spot for Amukamara) on a deep ball down the left sideline. But later in the drills he dropped a pass on a short out route. Jake Ballard made a move on Kenny Phillips that caused the safety to slip, but I doubt that makes anyone feel better about the loss of Kevin Boss. Woodny Turenne and Joe Burnett each made nice pass breakups if you discount the penalties they would have drawn for pulling at the jerseys of the receivers they were covering. And Devin Thomas, before he got hurt, made a tumbling over-the-shoulder catch on a deep ball down the left sideline, showing nice speed to get past Terrell Thomas.
A few highlights from the first series of 11-on-11s:
First the positions. The first snap had Bear Pascoe at tight end, Henry Hynoski at fullback and Mathias Kiwanuka at linebacker … It looked like Giants were going to try to run a flea-flicker with Jacobs and Manning but Tuck was there to disrupt the play so Jacobs just held onto the ball … Rosenfels threw a high pass to Victor Cruz that went through his hands … Tyler Sash and I spoke this afternoon about how he’ll be used in the box quite a bit, so naturally he was about 50 yards downfield tonight intercepting a deep post from Rosenfels intended for Jernigan. Perry Fewell liked the play … Craig Marshall was in the backfield to flush Perrilloux out of the pocket.
Lawrence Tynes was 5-for-5 on field goal attempts from 28, 34, 38, 40 and 42 yards. He also kicked an extra point.
A few highlights from the second series of 11-on-11s:
Manning his Manningham on a pass despite close coverage by Terrell Thomas and a leap by Michael Boley that nearly batted the pass away … Kenny Igram came off a block nicely and slid to his right to meet ballcarrier Charles Scott for what would have been a short gain … Phillip Dillard did a good job stringing out Da’Rel Scott on a run to the sideline … Adrian Tracy, who has been dropped to third string with Kiwanuka’s return at linebacker, came through the line untouched on a blitz but Perrilloux managed to get the short screen pass off to Andre Brown. Brown then made a nifty cut to find room, a play the offensive players were howling over.
A few highlights from the third series of 11-on-11s:
There was one botched snap when Baas seemed to send a shotgun snap past Manning when he wasn’t ready for it … Boley made two good plays in a row, first intercepting a pass intended for Hakeem Nicks and then, after Travis Beckum appeared to make a juggling catch over the middle, stripping the ball away from him … Brain Jackson was slow getting over to the sideline to cover Michael Clayton on an out … Another high pass from Rosenfels to Cruz, but this time Cruz made a nice catch … Amukamara got beaten by Todd Watkins on a deep slant (although we’ll chalk this one up to Prince not going full speed to protect his wheels) … Turenne broke up a pass for Duke Calhoun … Craig Marshall tipped a screen pass that was deflected up into the air and intercepted by Mark Herzlich who returned it for a touchdown.
Practice ended with a 2-minute drill. Actually it was a 1:28 drill from the Giants’ own 26. Defensively the Giants had a front line with Pierre-Paul, Canty, Tuck and Kiwanuka and a nickel backfield with Ross. Manning’s first pass was inclomplete under pressure from Tuck. On second-and-10 Manning his Beckum for a short gain even though he was pressured by Kiwanuka. On third-and-6 Manning hit Cruz on an out and he was able to get the first down and get out of bounds with 59 seconds remaining. Manning then hit Beckum for a gain of about 12 yards to midfield and tried to go deep for Hixon but was incomplete down the left sideline. He tried Hixon again – and again Tuck put pressure on Manning – for a gain of about 15 yards with 21 seconds left and called a timeout. The final play was a deep post pass for Reynaud who split Aaron Ross and safety Antrel Rolle for a touchdown. Nice play by Reynaud on the cath as he had to turn his body all the way around to find the ball and grab it. Oh, not that it would have really mattered. Jason Pierre-Paul was standing next to Manning when he threw it and would have had a sack in a real game.
The Giants are expected to practice in full pads on Saturday and practice will be open to the public from 6-8 p.m. Get here early because the Hambletonian is taking place across the parking lot in one direction and there is a weekly flea market here in the other direction so the crowds should be larger than they have been.
Finally, I’ve been asked to include the following announcements:
The Giants have instituted a phone hotline for fans seeking information about training camp practices. Fans may call 201-935-8111, extension 9385 to learn about practices times and other camp info.
Timex, the official training partner of the Giants, is providing 20 lucky fans and their guests a VIP experience hosted by Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson at the Timex Performance Center on Friday, August 19. Fans can enter by visiting Giants.com/Timex through Friday, Aug. 12.