Of course today’s big story is Osi Umenyiora, the Giants’ decision to rescind their permission for him to seek a trade on his own, and whether or not that means the disgruntled defensive end will resume his holdout. We’ll be monitoring that for the rest of the day … likely the next few days.
Meanwhile, there were lots of other things to talk about at training camp today that probably won’t get as much attention. I’ll try to run down a few of them here:
The other day Justin Tuck casually slipped into one of his answers that Terrell Thomas was going to the Pro Bowl this season, and today Thomas did not flinch at that. He said if he was Pro Bowler last year then the Giants would have made the playoffs. Of course being a Pro Bowler is sometimes as much a publicity contest as a football award, and cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta said he thinks Thomas needs to make a few more highlight-reel plays to get to Hawaii. And while Thomas is focused on the Pro Bowl and “bringing my game up to the next level,” it’s not lost on him that this is also his contract year.
Giunta and safeties coach Dave Merritt both said they hope first-round pick Prince Amukamara is in training camp sooner rather than later, but Merritt did say that because of the nature of the position, cornerback is probably the easiest position for a player to come into without much of a camp and perform. That position has a lot more to do with techniques and skills that need to be refined by coaches than memorizing complex playbooks. Basically his assignment will be pretty clear on every snap: to cover the guy in front him.
Merritt also said that he’s looking forward to tonight’s practice, the first in pads for the Giants, and he wants to see how physical safety Tyler sash looks. So far he’s been pleased, but he said that the rookie needs to work more on his angles of attack. Merritt did say that he expects Sash to have his tongue hanging out in the first preseason game and that he’ll probably play about three and a half quarters of it.
Mathias Kiwanuka said it was a very real possibility that his career could have ended with the bulging disc in his neck that cost him most of the 2010 season. He also said that he’s happy to be back with the Giants and will play whatever role they want him to – he was a hybrid defensive end/linebacker at the start of last season and, as he pointed out, that seemed to work pretty well – but admitted that if Osi Umenyiora is not on the field the team will need him more at defensive end and he’s ready to assume that role.
Kiwanuka also said that his situation is a good example of the kind of thing Umenyiora railed about in his email, that a player’s career can be over on any snap and their contracts do not offer them much protection against getting cut or released when that happens.
As for Osi, Eli Manning said he hopes that whatever happens it happens quickly. “Any time there’s something like this hanging over, you want it to get settled. But we can’t make it a distraction. Everybody’s got to keep working and guys who are on the field keep getting better. Obviously there are different things and numbers and signing other guys and getting everything figured out, so hopefully it gets solved soon.”