The Giants were in full pads as promised today, and while they ran some 9-on-7 running plays that were close to live (no full tackling) and were doing some good hitting in 11-on-11s, the team did not engage in any goal-line plays. It’s usually the most exciting aspect of any camp, when the guys get down in the trenches and square off. But Tom Coughlin does not like to run those in training camp.
“The last time we ran a goal-line I lost a linebacker and a running back on three plays,” Coughlin said. “We’ve been practicing. We’ve been short yardage and goal-line since the spring. But the live part of it we haven’t done as of yet. If we’re going to.”
So no one was hurt in goal-line plays this time, Coughlin made sure of that. But there are some injury issues that are affecting the team. Let’s get into them.
Corey Webster sat out practice with what Coughlin called a strained groin. You may remember yesterday that I mentioned he was grabbing at it and stretching it a bit on the sideline. “He says he feels pretty good,” Coughlin said. “They’re going to do what they have to do to not turn that into something difficult so he’s got some down time to rehab.” Also absent was rookie first-round pick Justin Pugh, who suffered a concussion in practice yesterday. He reported to work with a headache this morning, Coughlin said, and will have to go through the NFL protocols before returning to the field. Matt McCants took Pugh’s spot at right tackle with the second team.
The good news is that Coughlin said the doctors believe Hakeem Nicks will be ready to return to practice by Tuesday, which is following a day off on Monday. Nicks spoke today about being cautions with his groin.
The five guys on PUP remain there. No movement from them yet.
Ok, back to practice. It didn’t take long for the first big hit of the day to take place. In special teams drills in which players retreated to a spot and tried to block an oncoming opponent as they would on a kickoff return, one of the littlest Giants delivered the biggest crunch. While some players juked and tried to avoid the blocker, Jayron Hosley decided to run right over Laron Scott. Now, Hosley is 5-10 and 178 pounds. There aren’t many players on the field smaller than he is. But he found one in Scott (5-9, 184) and obviously decided to use his height advantage while he could. A few other big hits in that drill were Ryan Mundy and Tyler Sash banging into each other (maybe the winner gets to be the third safety?) and Matt Broha bowling over Jake Muasau in a bit of a mismatch between a DE and an LB.
A scary moment on the first snap of the 9-on-7 drill. David Wilson was on the ground and someone nearly fell on him. Normally that would not be an issue. But it was 350-pound Shaun Rogers who was the anvil to Wilson’s Wile E. Coyote. Luckily Wilson has more roadrunner in him that coyote and he was able to avoid the splat. Phew!
The best crunch of the 9-on-7 was on the first play when Mark Hezlich blitzed and was picked up by Bear Pascoe and the two met in the hole. It was a good pop from both players. Rogers, besides nearly squishing Wilson, beat Brandon Mosley to blow up a running play by Andre Brown. Michael Cox made a nice move on Frank Okam (he’s 6-5 and 350, so it obviously didn’t have to be all that quick), but on the same play we had the first pancake of the year from Eric Herman. He managed to push Muasau over for the pin. You may remember that when Herman was drafted this spring one of his big stats was the number of pancakes that were kept track of at the University of Ohio. Well, he’s up to one so far here in training camp. On the last play of the 9-on-7, Ryan Torain ran the ball and Michael Jasper was rolled up on and limped off with an ankle injury. I don’t believe he returned.
Here’s a bright spot for those looking for one: In 11-on-11s, Eli Manning completed a pass to Bear Pascoe with Justin Tuck in coverage. No, that’s not the good news. David Wilson seemed to do a decent job of picking up a blitzing Keith Rivers on the play! Now, that’s not enough to anoint Wilson as Eli Manning’s personal Kevin Costner-type bodyguard, but I thought it was a good play.
I liked what I saw from the two rookie defensive linemen. We always say “Wait until they get pads on” to see what they can do, and this may be why. Johnathan Hankins was pretty dominant. On one play he tackled Da’rel Scott to the ground without actually tackling him. He just knocked him down with a body bump. And he did it while an offensive player (it may have been Herman I think) was tugging at his jersey from behind, so much so that his number disappeared on the front of his shirt and swung around to the side. And Damontre Moore managed to blow up a running play by the same Da’rel Scott a few snaps earlier when he drove through fullback Ryan D’Imperio and drove him into the play. Two really nice flashes up front.
Also in that series, Justin Trattou did a nice job of reaching around a blocker to grab Michael Cox in the backfield.
Here were your pairings on kickoff returns: David Wilson went first with Andre Brown as lead blocker. Then it was Rueben Randle with Da’rel Scott in front. Followed by Michael Cox with Ryan Torain blocking. And finally Jerrel Jernigan with Brown there again.
In 7-on-7s, Eli Manning aired it out early to his new favorite target, Rueben Randle, who jumped up and over Prince Amukamara to make a really nice catch. Too bad he was out of bounds, so it was just, as Corey Webster likes to say, a long foul ball.
Manning threw two incompletions in a row to Brandon Myers, which was a little concerning. The first was a miscommunication with Eli leading him too much on an inside route. The second was a seam route that Myers couldn’t turn his body towards because of the coverage by Spencer Paysinger. Myers nearly made a juggling catch, but it fell incomplete. Also in 7-on-7s, Jacquian Williams dove and had a nice PD on a short pass from David Carr, Carr missed Ramses Barden on a deep post, and Curtis Painter threw behind Kris Adams on a ball that was dropped. Barden came back and made a nice catch on a pass with Terrence Frederick on his back.
Then Ryan Nassib took his snaps in 7-on-7 and, well, things did not go well. He was 0-for-4 in the drill. Two of the passes were knocked away – Junior Merile stuck a hand in behind Keith Carlos to poke the ball away on one and Will Hill made it over to the sideline to break up a pass for Kevin Hardy – while another was nearly intercepted (Charles James dropped a pick that was right in his hands). After looking sharp yesterday, Nassib wasn’t so much today.
The team went back to 11-on-11s and Manning and Myers seemed to get back on the same page on the first pass. Then Eli went deep for Louis Murphy but Prince Amukamara was there to defend it and Stevie Brown was coming over anyway. Cullen Jenkins did a nice job stopping a run by Andre Brown. Eli and Murphy were off on a pass as the quarterback was expecting a break to the inside and threw it there while Murphy ran straight down the field. Not that it mattered since Brandon Mosley had jumped offsides on the play anyway. Carr hit Da’rel Scott on a screen but he wasn’t going anywhere as Frederick was in position to stop him for a loss. Hankins stuffed another run, again by Da’rel Scott. Tyler Sash did a nice job coming up to stop Ryan Torain on a handoff. Nassib continued to be off on a deep ball for Jerrel Jernigan that was broken up by Mertile and another incompletion intended for Hardy over the middle. But on the last snap of the series he found Julian Talley deep down the right sideline over Mertile for the long completion that ended his streak of seven straight incompletions.
Practice ended with a pair of two-minute drills. In ones vs. ones, Eli Manning completed four of five passes and the only incompletion was to spike the ball and stop the clock. He hit Bear Pascoe, Rueben Randle, Andre Brown, Ramses Barden and Victor Cruz to march the offense down the field against the defense (although the defense was in position to make a few plays that they didn’t make because they did not hit on every down). In the twos vs. the twos, it was the defense’s turn to win. David Carr threw an incomplete pass to Barden, who tried to stretch for the ball but couldn’t catch it. Carr completed short passes to Kris Adams, Jernigan and Barden, but then he was sacked (it was a coverage sack and whistled dead). A pass he threw to Keith Carlos was as close to a completion as you can get, right in Carlos’ hands, until Trumaine McBride knocked it out from behind. It was ruled an incomplete but I’d like to see a replay to know if he actually had possession and McBride forced a fumble. Anyway, on the last snap Carr hit Hardy but time expired before the offense could get another snap off.
Hey, don’t forget: If you plan on coming to practice tomorrow, it starts about 15 minutes earlier than originally scheduled. That’s 1:15 p.m. Also, it looks like it might rain, so check ahead before you make the schlep out to the complex. If it rains and the team has to practice indoors, the workout will be closed to the public.
Also, on a parallel note to that, Sunday’s practice is closed to the public. Fear not, I and my cohorts will be on hand to chronicle it as usual. Then the team is off on Monday and returns on Tuesday. They have three days of practice next week and then it’s off to Pittsburgh for the preseason opener!