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Practice report: Five picks, Sash's exploits, and some red zone trickery

Tyler Sash intercepts a pass intended for wide

Tyler Sash intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Ramses Barden at minicamp. (May 12, 2013) Credit: Newsday Joe Epstein

Picks aplenty at training camp today!

There were five of them, which was good news for the defense. And the good news for the offense? None of them were thrown by Eli Manning.

We’ll break down all of those interceptions plus a few other plays, but first the injury report. The five guys on PUP remained there. Chris Snee (hip), Henry Hynoski (knee), Markus Kuhn (knee) and Terrell Thomas (knee) were all out on the field doing drills and on the bikes off to the side. The only guy I didn’t see with them was Jason Pierre-Paul (back), but he may have been floating around. There didn’t seem to be any other injured players, unless you count Hakeem Nicks who was limited. You can read more about him and the big day for his replacement here.

It was a very active day for Tyler Sash. First he was used on a fake punt and had the ball snapped directly to him. Then, in a drill with the safeties, he was booted out of his role as a quarterback. The players were working on their drops and cuts and while position coach Dave Merritt directed them in various positions another player had to throw the ball and have the safety break on it and catch it. Sash’s first throw was so bad that he was immediately kicked out and replaced by Antrel Rolle. Rolle’s not exactly Aaron Rodgers, but he was much better than Sash. Even the fans who were at the practice gave Sash a hard time about his throwing. To combine the two elements, if Sash is in on a fake punt and the ball is snapped to him, he’ll be running with it and not throwing it.

Sash wound up making one of the five interceptions later in practice, but even that one had a twist to it. Literally. Sash made a catch on a low pass from Curtis Painter and tumbled over himself, his helmet sticking into the ground and his body spinning 180 degrees while made the summersault. It was such a contortion that when Sash got up to run with the ball, he took a step in the wrong direction and started heading towards the offensive endzone. He quickly realized that no one was in front of him and reversed course, but it was a funny little moment off a very nice play.

Sash left practice three snaps early yesterday with leg cramps, but obviously was out there today. For a guy who most thought would be an afterthought at safety, he's been pretty conspicuous so far in camp. Not always for good things, but conspicuous nonetheless.

And his beard is very impressive.

Here’s the scoop on the rest of the picks while we’re talking about them:

Jayron Hosley, who’d been pretty quiet through the first two practices, did a nice job of jumping in front of a receiver (it may have been Adrien Robinson, but not sure) and grabbing a pass from Painter in 7-on-7s. A few snaps later Laron Scott grabbed a ball that was tipped by receiver Keith Carlos from Ryan Nassib. It was the second pick in two days for Nassib. That left David Carr as the only Giants quarterback in camp without an interception. For a few minutes, anyway. Because later in 11-on-11 snaps Carr was picked off by Aaron Ross on a pass intended for Louis Murphy. Ross, as I said after the first practice, has been playing at a very high level. Yes, he’s going against second-teamers. But it’s veterans like Carr and Murphy that he’s facing so it’s not like he’s picking on rooks. (Ross later in practice did a nice job at nickel coming down and spooking Victor Cruz into dropping an easy pass). The last interception of the day was another one from Nassib, who was trying to find Murphy in the endzone during red zone snaps. Junior Mertile came down with that one.

“They were in the right spot and they made a nice play and hopefully we can grow with that, we can get better because of that,” Coughlin said of the younger players (with the exception of Ross) making the picks. “It’s a good thing to see the people make plays.”

Besides the five interceptions, two passes were batted down by Jacquian Williams in pass coverage. The first was in 7-on-7s when he jumped up and batted away a pass from Manning to Kris Adams. Later, in the red zone 11-on-11 snaps, he did the same thing but to Curtis Painter on a pass intended for Brandon Collins. It’s good to see that because the Giants can certainly use his athleticism in their underneath coverage. They missed that last year while he was injured.

A few other notes and observations: Randle looks smooth fielding punts. He may not be as shifty as traditional punt returners, but he’s got great hands and good vision. Randle has been leading off the punt return drills followed by Jerrel Jernigan, David Wilson, Victor Cruz and Aaron Ross … Kris Adams made a juggling catch on the sideline and his injured hand seems to still be an issue for him catching the ball cleanly. Coughlin said his finger “popped out” the other day but they put it back in … I haven’t zoomed in my attention on every snap, but the first guy I saw block Damontre Moore cleanly was Larry Donnell who stood the rookie up on a run with Ryan Torain zipping past them. Moore continues to haunt Chris DeGeare with that inside move and he did a nice job chasing Carr out of the pocket and forcing him to throw a pass away later … Justin Pugh lost his footing on a run to his side by Da’Rel Scott … Ryan D’Imperio had a nice block on Dan Connor, who had to tug the fullback’s facemask to swim over him on a run by Torain … The Giants ran a trick play in the red zone when the had Murphy take an end-around handoff and throw it up to Randle in the end zone. Corey Webster was there to break it up … Aaron Curry and Ryan Mundy were both in the backfield to greet Torain on a run … Jernigan ran an end-around too, but he never looked to pass. Remember when we thought Jernigan might be a Wildcat player for the Giants? That seems like an awful long time ago. Anyway, on that play Kyle Bosworth did a nice job of pushing Jernigan towards the sideline for a short gain … Matt McCants did a nice job pulling out from guard and throwing a block for Jeremy Horne on a quick screen pass from Nassib … The last play of the practice was a checkdown pass from Nassib to Da’Rel Scott. He dropped it. Scott is the Giants’ longest-tenured running back believe it or not (assuming you don’t count Andre Brown’s service as continuous). That tenure may not be for much longer if he keeps dropping passes like that.

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