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Practice Report: Crowd loves Cruz, but Coughlin more impressed by defense

13. VICTOR CRUZ (Giants) Cruz was one the

13. VICTOR CRUZ (Giants)
Cruz was one the best values in 2011 as he exploded on to the scene with 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine TDs. He averaged 18.7 yards per catch, and if Nicks misses early games, he’ll be heavily covered by opposing defenses.
Credit: Jim McIsaac

We were at our computers in the media room here at training camp this morning when Ohm Youngmisuk from ESPN turned to me and asked: “What is this, Day Two?” Yes, it’s that easy to lose track of the days at camp. But it was Day Two of practice and here is your report.

Most of the workout took place without rain, although they team had to scramble to set up on the artificial turf of the lacrosse stadium at the University at Albany to avoid the wet grass. It was only the last few minutes of practice that the rains came, making for a wet final few snaps in red zone situations. Each raindrop in Albany seems to tip the scales towards a return to the Timex Performance Center in Albany for next year’s training camp as Tom Coughlin’s frustrations and anxieties about the weather have been evident in the last few days.

The four guys on PUP didn’t practice: Hakeem Nicks, Chris Canty, Travis Beckum and Clint Sintim. Da’Rel Scott sat out the practice after twisting his ankle yesterday. Michael Boley appeared to sit out most of the practice and it looked like he was having his leg or ankle looked at at one point. Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers took his spot in the first unit. Couglin said he was unaware of any injuries to Boley so there may not have been anything to it. There was certainly something to Justin Trattou, who had to be taken off the field after he injured his ankle after taking on a block from James Brewer. Coughlin said he was “hobbled” pretty good and would have to go for X-rays. Of course, is the Giants had to have one defensive end carted off the field they would much rather it be Trattou than Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP went down hard and stayed down for about five silent seconds, shaken up on a running play in 11-on-11 snaps. He then popped up, had his legs looked at by trainers, and came back in to take a few more reps.

Two guys whose injuries we’re watching did in fact practice. Will Beatty (back) went for a second straight day and Terrell Thomas (back) finished his first practice in almost a year after he was unable to complete yesterday’s workout. Thomas was lining up with the starters on defense. At one point it looked like Thomas was playing a deep centerfield safety while Kenny Phillips was down closer to the line in a cornerback-type position, but that might have just been a little experimentation because they didn’t line up that way in any of the 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.

Coughlin said he was more impressed with the defense today that the offense. Apparently he was discounting Victor Cruz, who is having a strong camp as the Giants’ only sure starting receiver. Cruz made a one-handed catch along the sidelines early in practice (against no defender) and the crowd went gonzo. He made a few other nice grabs, including one on a deep ball (again no defense) and a touchdown against the ferocious defensive back, Dan DePalma. The crowd went nuts each time. One guy kept yelling for Cruz to dance. Don’t expect that. Cruz said earlier in the day that he would not be salsa-ing during training camp.

I didn’t get a chance to note the depth on the offensive line yesterday, so here goes. Obviously the first unit is (l to r) Beatty, Booth, Baas, Snee and Diehl. Second unit was (l to r) Locklear, Capers, Cordle, Petrus, Brewer. Third unit was (l to r) McCants, Mosley, White, Goodin, Reinders.

Here are some highlights from the first series of 11-on-11 snaps: Justin Tuck would have had a sack of Eli Manning on the first play. The quarterback never had a chance to even throw it away … Thomas did a nice job of sticking his head in on a run by DJ Ware. He was aggressively trying to strip the ball from the RB … Tuck beat Pascoe to make what would have been a TFL against Bradshaw … Manning hit Pascoe on a short pass on a bootleg to his right. He wanted to go deeper on the play but Kenny Phillips did a really nice job of reading the play and filling in the open area … Manning hit Cruz over the middle (Cruuuuuz!!!) … Manning also hit Jernigan on a pass where Antrel Rolle took out the hand towel that was tucked in his shorts and jumped in the air with it to try to bat it down … Trattou looked good sliding down and making a tackle on Brown … Mark Herzlich had good coverage on Christian Hopkins over the middle on a pass from Carr, forcing an incompletion … Jacquain Williams string out a run by Brown all the way to the sideline … Carr ran the bootleg right just like Eli did, but this time Carr pump-faked Trattou and ran with it himself … Kuhn and Broha did a nice job stuffing a run by Brown up the middle … Wilson ran up the middle but was tripped up when he bumped into fullback Joe Martinek … Ryan Perrilloux had to throw a pass away out of bounds due to coverage but the guy who was working the sticks on the sideline made a nice one-handed grab. The crowd appreciated it … Martinek ran left and beat Muasau in a footrace to the sideline.

The Giants were on the lacrosse field, as we noted, so there were no goalposts. That didn’t stop them from working on field goals, although it was odd to see Lawrence Tynes kicking into a big net and not through any big yellow poles. On one of the snaps holder Steve Weatherford called “fire” meaning there was no kick and took off running.

In 7-on-7 drills: Manning hit Domenik Hixon on a slant … Jernigan beat Corey Webster, but Webster slipped on the play … Jernigan then caught a deep ball over Webster’s coverage down the right sideline … Manning threw a beautiful outside shoulder pass to Cruz along the sideline that Justin Tryon had no chance of defending … Ramses Barden has gotten better at catching balls in traffic and snatched one away from Michael Coe … Hopkins made a catch on a pass from Carr in a crowd as well … Carr threw a deep incompletion that was for either Adrien Robinson or Dan DePalma. It was hard to tell because both players cut in and neither continued deep for the ball … Isaiah Stanback, who is having a good camp so far, made a leaping catch … Brandon Collins nearly made a leaping catch too but the ball tipped off his fingers … Janzen Jackson had a nice pass defense, knocking the ball away from David Douglas on a pass that Perrilloux probably shouldn’t have thrown … Wilson made a nice grab on a high pass from Perrilloux as a checkdown, the second time in two practices he’s shown good hands on a high pass.

Here are some highlights from the second series of 11-on-11 snaps: Manning didn’t have any receivers to throw to and had to eat the ball. This was also the play where Pierre-Paul went down and scared the bejesus out of everyone … Justin Tuck batted down a short pass from Manning for Hynoski, causing Perry Fewell to sprint out on the field and congratulate him … Rueben Randle made a nice catch on a pass from Carr with Prince Amukamara on his back … Adrien Tracy was leveled on a downfield block from Ryan Purvis on a screen pass to Andre Brown. The block happened about 30 yards away from the line of scrimmage. It didn’t look like Tracy appreciated that … Trattou was injured … Broha have Martinek a good thud hit in the hole on a run … Craig Marshall and Kuhn rode Brown out of bounds on a run to the right side.

Here are some highlights from the third series of 11-on-11 snaps, which were in the red zone and played in a steady rain: Manning hit Cruz for a touchdown … Martellus Bennett nearly made a one-handed jumping catch on a pass from Manning at the pylon but didn’t come down with it … Carr threw similar a pass to that right pylon also, intended for Robinson. The TE tipped the ball in the air and Herzlich made an interception as he went out of bounds … Wilson had his first muff of the preseason, fumbling a pitchout to the left and then trying to dive on it to cover it up. It would be easy to blame that on the rain, but Wilson looked confused presnap as well … Martinek dropped a pass from Perrilloux … Greg Jones looked like he had a chance to make a tackle on Wilson at the line of scrimmage … Kuhn batted down a pass from Perrilloux … Adewale Ojomo and Muasau came up to make a stop on Martinek.

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