Let’s start at the end of practice and work our way back today, since that’s where most of the action was.
For the second straight day the workout was capped with a hurry-up situation (a two-minute drill that was actually just 1:16). Yesterday the first offense beat the first defense and the second defense stopped the second offense. Today it was threes vs. threes. And the third defense won. Twice.
Ryan Nassib completed the first pass of the drill to Larry Donnell, but when he tried to go back to the tight end on the next snap linebacker Kyle Bosworth was there in coverage and managed to bat the ball in the air. It hung there just long enough for Mark Herzlich to run over and roll under it, grabbing it for an interception. What’s Herzlich doing on te field with the third team if he’s competing for a starting job? Well, he’s the third-string middle linebacker in the nickel, that’s why.
Anyway, the drill typically ends with a turnover or a score, but after just two plays I guess they wanted to keep it going to give Nassib and the others more of a taste for it. He threw away the next pass although he was whistled for a sack by the officials, and then he hit Brandon Collins on two straight passes before calling a timeout with seven seconds left. On the final play he tried to hit Collins on the left side, but underthrew the pass just enough for corner Laron Scott to jump in front of Collins and intercept it.
It was a shaky end to another up and down day for Nassib. So much for that theory about him thriving indoors. He overthrew a fade to Jerrel Jernigan in red zone drills, led Kevin Hardy too far inside in 7-on-7s, and put the ball too far out ahead of Keith Carlos (also in 7s). Then there were some plays where he was right on target, like the high pass he threw into the back of the end zone that was caught by Ramses Barden over Cooper Taylor. And of course there were plays where he did some things well but not all of them. I’m thinking of a play in early 11-on-11s where he stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure – a smart move that young quarterbacks sometimes struggle with – and delivered a pass to Chase Clement. It was a little behind the tight end, though, and the ball bounced off his shoulder for an incompletion.
I know I keep writing about it every day, but Prince Amukamara is having an outstanding camp. His best play today came early in the second series of 11-on-11s. Eli Manning tried to hit Louis Murphy on a fade in the left corner of the end zone but Amukamara was there to cover him tightly and had quick enough hands to bat the ball away not just once but twice. The first one tipped the ball into the air and then Prince swatted it like a volleyball to make sure it went out of bounds and no one had a chance to catch it. Smart play coupled with physical ability. It’s hard to ask for anything more from a defensive back. Prince also had Murphy bottled up tight on another fade in 7s that Eli Manning had to throw away.
The other corner who is having a good camp is Trumaine McBride. He did a nice job defending a fade in the corner of the end zone from David Carr for Murphy. McBride also knocked a pass away from Jernigan.
Before we get into the random observations, let’s talk injuries. No new ones today. The four PUP guys were on the sideline (Snee, Kuhn, Hynoski and Thomas) with the fifth (Jason Pierre-Paul) inside resting his back. Corey Webster and Hakeem Nicks were on the exercise bikes. And Justin Pugh was inside recovering from his concussion.
Yesterday Tom Coughlin said that Pugh showed up on Friday morning and complained of a headache, but today he gave a few more details that seem to paint a much more serious injury.
“He didn’t feel well when he got inside (after Thursday’s practice) and coming to the meeting was not an easy thing for him,” Coughlin said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that.”
Coughlin then used the term “couldn’t really function to capacity” to describe Pugh. But, the good news: “He’s getting better. He’s feeling better.”
Coughlin also didn’t seem very worried about Corey Webster (groin) – “He seems to be doing okay, hopefully it’s not going to be long” – and once again noted that the plan is to have Hakeem Nicks on the field for practice on Tuesday.
Ok, some random observations: After all the talk about Mathias Kiwanuka being dedicated to playing defensive end and having his hand on the ground this season, on the third snap of the team portion today he was standing up in a 2-point stance as a linebacker. It may have been just a look, but I thought the timing was interesting … Rueben Randle was wide open on the first play of 11s. It looked like Stevie Brown, who started in the box and then dropped back, should have come up to cover him without giving so much cushion. But the assignment may have been missed by the CB too. Either way, it was one of the few plays we’ve seen in camp so far (the first that I recall) that a receiver was that wide open and there was clearly a defensive breakdown … The team was in shells today after full pads yesterday, but that didn’t stop them from hitting each other a little bit. First Andre Brown ran into Keith Rivers hard enough to knock the linebacker feet over head. Then a few plays later Ryan Torain ran the ball through the line and Dan Connor was there to make the stop but Tyler Sash wound up running into Torain and knocked him down. Sash tried to pull out of the hit and clipped Torain with his hip. He apologized after the play … Justin Trattou is starting to show up a bit more on a regular basis. He had a nice pass rush for a would-be sack in early 11s. We also saw Matt Broha with a would-be sack in 11s, beating Bryant Browning … Jayron Hosley had nice coverage on a fade to Murphy in the corner in 7on-7s, forcing Eli Manning to throw the ball away … Victor Cruz could not come up with a low pass from Manning with Antrel Rolle in coverage. I couldn’t see if it was a catchable ball and thereby a drop or if the pass was too low to give him a chance … Ryan Mundy did a nice physical job breaking up a pass from Curtis Painter for Larry Donnell … I saw the soft hands that Brandon Myers showed in the spring for one of the few times this summer when he ran an out and plucked a pass from Manning with Spender Paysinger in coverage … The Giants were again using a lot of the beefy look with Cullen Jenkins at end, Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers in the middle, and Kiwanuka or Justin Tuck and the other end … One of the early drills had players working on covering punts inside the 10. Two players would come down while the returner got out of the way. Only on one play the returner didn’t get out of the way. David Wilson grabbed the ball and took off. It was fun and a good reminder to the gunners that the ball is live. But if Wilson did that in a game, Coughlin’s head might explode.
And finally, the Giants moved practice inside the field house because the weather seemed threatening early in the day and there was concern about playing on a slick grass field. But it turned out to be a beautiful day. Too bad because it robbed the fans of a chance to see the team. Tomorrow’s practice will be closed to the public also and the players have the day off on Monday, so the next time to see the Giants in action will be Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.
That’s it. Bands!
Or, as I should say since we worked backwards today: Sdnab!