I mentioned the grind of camp this morning, and it was definitely on display with the practice we saw. There were quite a few extra shoves and jabs between the players as the plays ended. You can definitely sense a little scuffle in the air. Will Beatty and Dave Tollefson probably came the closest to locking horns, but they stepped away. Pretty soon the heat and the exhaustion and the pressure will get to these guys and they’ll snap. It might even happen this afternoon.
As for practice, the morning session was the one in which the players who are one-a-says sat out. In the past Tom Coughlin has mixed things up a bit – some guys were morning and rest in the afternoon, others the opposite – but so far this camp he’s give people mornings off and worked them later in the day.
There were eight players in the rehab area this morning, including two mew additions. Kenny Phillips and Kevin Boothe obviously, along with Shaun O’Hara (ankle), Keith Bulluck (knee), Kevin Boss (ankle) and Hakeem Nicks (toe). The new additions were Mario Manningham (groin) and Travis Beckum (hamstring). Osi Umenyiora did not practice (hip) but he was not in the rehab area. And it looked like Zak DeOssie was not wearing his pads under his jersey, but Coughlin said he did his special teams work.
The usual starting defense lined up, although there were times when Jason Pierre-Paul would sub in for Justin Tuck at left defensive end, the first time the rookie has done that. And when the Giants went nickel, they brought in Aaron Ross as opposed to yesterday when they had Bruce Johnson.
On offense, Bear Pascoe was the starting tight end in place of Boss and with Nicks and Manningham sidelined Sinorice Moss got to run with the starters at wide receiver.
A few plays of note: Michael Greco made a nice interception, jumping high to grab a ball from Rhett Bomar that was intended for Derek Hagan. This after Bomar had a pretty sharp day yesterday. I guess that’s what Coughlin was talking about when he said Bomar tends to take one step forward and then one and a half steps back … Ramses Barden has not flashed nearly as much as he did at this point last year when he was the Darling of Labnay. In fact he’s looked poor on a few occasions, like when he dropped a pass this morning or when he went deep down the right sideline for a pass from Jim Sorgi and appeared to flinch at the last minute and not make the catch. I don’t know if it was the sun in his eyes or the feeling that safety John Busing was coming over, but something caused a hiccup. Maybe it was an actual hiccup … Bruce Johnson is playing really well attacking the ball. He had a nice play breaking up a pass for Hagan that the receiver nearly caught but Johnson was able to get his arms tangled in among Hagan’s and cause the ball to pop out. He also made an interception down the right sideline on another pass from Bomar … I still haven’t found out if it means anything, but once again Ahmad Bradshaw was taking the very first reps with the first offensive unit.
Now the two plays that took everyone’s breath away, one good and one almost bad. The first was an interception by Michael Boley who fell back into coverage and then lunged against his momentum to dive for a pass from Eli Manning over the middle.
The second was on a deep ball from Manning to Steve Smith. Smith went up and made a great play to catch it, but that was overshadowed by the sight of Corey Webster down on the ground after they went up to battle for the ball. For a minute it looked like Webster had really hurt himself. But in just a few seconds safeties coach Dave Merritt was giving the team a thumbs up and pointing to his calf and Webster was back up on his feet trotting off the field. It was just a cramp.