At one point this morning, while standing outside the gate of Hoboken High School with other reporters, I was asked for my guess on how many Giants players would show up for today’s workout, the last formal one (if formal can even describe the situation) of Eli Manning’s passing camp. I put the over/under at 6.5.
Shoulda bet the under.
Exactly a half dozen players showed up to run routes, throw passes and take part in some conditioning and agility drills with the offensive captain. Surely not the kind of turnout that will help the Giants win any games if and when the season begins this fall. In fact there were only two participants today who have a decent chance of even being on the field for the opener against the Redskins: Manning and Kevin Boss. The others were reserve receiver Michael Clayton, practice squad receiver Sam Giguere, undrafted free agent Dan DePalma from Westchester (Pa.) University, and backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels. (By the way, if push came to shove and another player had shown up, I might have had to insist that DePalma not count against my 6.5 prediction since he's technically not a Giant, nor is he technically even an NFL player yet. But not one did, so he counts.)
“I think you guys are making it more of a big deal than it is,” Kevin Boss said when asked what he was able to get out of the six workouts over two weeks, especially since he’s one of the four who have been to every one of them. “We’re just out here throwing the ball around.”
In fact it seemed a good chunk of the time today was spent teaching DePalma how to break out of his routes efficiently. Giguere was the main tutor for that lesson. Giguere. I’m sure those skills will come in handy when DePalma catches three TD passes for the Redskins against the Giants in the opener.
Not exactly the turnout pther teams are experiencing around the country. Most get at least a dozen or so players to their makeshift workouts, some as many as 40. The Giants didn't even have a running back on the field this week.
Anyway, with reporters outnumbering players by a 2-to-1 ratio, unimpressed preschoolers pressing against the locked gate that keeps them off the property, stroller-pushing moms grousing about not being able to walk around the track, and one pair of fans who drove 100 miles to meet the players but had to settle for posed snapshots with Mike Garafolo and Bruce Beck, the camp has ended.
Clayton said there will be some players who will get together early next week, probably on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, to throw the ball around. It won’t be anything as organized or formal as the past six workouts were, the players said. Although it’s hard to believe anything could be less.