OTA #6 Practice Report

One of the reasons why I love it when the Giants hold practice in the field house is because with one field, there’s a better opportunity to see a lot more.

Such was the case today for the team’s OTA workout. Rainy conditions during the morning forced practice indoor, but fortunately the enthusiasm of the players wasn’t dampened by the weather.

Here we go. 

Injury/Attendance Report

Guard Chris Snee didn’t work today, but that was planned. Snee’s snaps are being managed since he is coming off dual hip surgeries from last year.

Receiver Odell Beckham Jr also didn’t work with the 11-on-11s today.

“It’s just soreness in my hamstring,” he told reporters. “Just running around; (my) back being tight.”

It also sounds like it might not be a one-day precautionary thing either, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

“He may be longer than (one day), I don’t know,” Coughlin said. “You’re talking about a skilled athlete with a little twinge so he may be longer than that.

Beckham said he believes he could have practiced tomorrow, he’d be able to (the team is off on Friday. So we’ll see when he does get back—certainly with a new offense being installed and with him being a rookie, it’s not in Beckham’s best interest to sit on the sideline nursing any kind of ailments.

Cornerback Trumaine McBride also wasn’t working. McBride has had issues with his groin in the past, though it’s not known if that was the reason why he was on the side.

Receiver Jerrel Jernigan was absent from practice due to a death in the family. Running back David Wilson did what he could in drills, even returning a kickoff, though he remains out of the 11-on-11 drills.

Offensive linemen Will Beatty (leg), John Jerry (knee), and Eric Herman (hip) remain on the sideline working on agility drills. Receiver Mario Manningham remains sidelined as well; don’t expect either of them until training camp at the soonest.

So to fill in the depth charts for today’s OTAs, Brandon Mosley filled in for Snee at right guard (Snee, by the way, did not have a setback; this was a scheduled day off). Marcus Harris worked with the ones at receiver. Charles Brown worked at left tackle.


Practice Observations

Eli Manning doesn’t look like a man who had ankle surgery several weeks ago. He’s moving well, executing rollouts for example, and has shown no sign of having any physical difficulty. In an interesting drill, Manning took the snap, lunged forward and then would hand the ball off between his legs. A little trickery perhaps?

I thought Ryan Nassib didn’t have a solid practice. It’s not that he doesn’t know what to do—he does. His issue seems to be with making some throws.

He continues to be off target with the majority of his receivers and on one drill in which there was no defense on the field, he whipped a short pass over the middle at a receiver who didn’t appear to be fully turned around and hence had the ball hit him in the hands and fall to the ground. Nassib was also almost intercepted by Jayron Hosley, who dropped the ball.

I’m not sure why people seem to think fullback John Conner can’t catch the ball. I saw him take a couple of passes and not only did he catch the ball, he showed that he had soft hands on the receptions.

He also did a nice job of catching the ball in stride on one, looking very natural in space, even though he didn’t have a defender about to bear down on him.

Henry Hynoski doesn’t appear to have any issues with his knee or shoulder—he was able to extend his arms for passes and moved well during drills. While it needs to be said that there’s no contact this spring, just judging by the movement, Hynoski seems to be okay.

We haven’t yet really seen the fullbacks block and it’s early, but right now this competition behind Hynoski and Conner is paper thin—and no, I do not think they’ll keep both.

I took an interest in a tackling drill going on with the linebackers that was right in front of the media. The drill necessitated lunging at a tackling dummy and driving it off the ground and backward.

Of the group, I thought Jon Beason was the most successful, getting low, picking the weighted dummy up and driving it backward. That’s significant because last year Beason often spoke about how he didn’t think he scratched the surface of what he could do what with having to spend two years rehabbing injuries.

This offseason, Beason was finally able to train the way he feels he needs to and so far, he seems to be faster and stronger than he was a year ago.

Rookie linebacker Dan Fox, who last week flashed some ability, was the opposite. First, he did not get low enough, bending more at the waist than at the knees, thus losing leverage. Then it looked like he didn’t have the strength to drive the dummy back, though that could have been a result of him not getting into proper position.

Speaking of Fox, Rueben Randle did a nice job on a comeback route, running the rookie linebacker off the ball to create some space and then coming back for the reception. Fox was off-balance and struggled to make up for the lost ground.

Getting back to the tackling dummy exercise, the defensive linemen took their turn, followed by the defensive backs. I thought Damontre Moore, who later in the practice jumped offside on an 11-on-11 drill, was too high, as did undrafted free agent defensive end Jordan Stanton is another player who went too high at the blocking dummy.

As I noted, Charles Brown took his turn at the spot—he’s been rotating with James Brewer. I did spot some pressure being given up on the left side of the line on a couple of plays. I am not sure if it was a miscommunication or what, but hopefully for Manning’s sake, that is cleared up before camp.

Hosley, who will continue to work with the team despite his looming four-game suspension, had a mental blip on a play in which he was supposed to come up to the line and show blitz. Instead, he stayed back until he was reminded to come up to the line and set his feet to show blitz.

Another cornerback, Charles James, continues to have a good spring based on the two practices I’ve seen so far. James had a pick-six in the open OTA last week. This week, he very nearly came up with another interception. He looks like he’s become a lot more patient with things when he’s out there and seems determined to take advantage of this opportunity. James is also in the nix as a punt returner.

Rookie Devon Kennard, working at middle linebacker, made a perfect read of a running play, knifing into the backfield to blow it up. A couple of plays later though on an outside run, he found himself getting lost in the wash, as he seems to lose track of the ball carrier.

Tight end Kellen Davis came up with a reception down the seam. The tight ends are certainly getting a lot of work in this offense and not just from the traditional spots. You almost get the impression that they could be featured just as much as the receivers could if someone emerges as a reliable receiver.

In the nickel defense, Jacquian Williams lined up with Jon Beason and cornerback Walter Thurmond. Sorry to say, but Williams, who last year was indecisive and hence inconsistent a little too often, still looks to be inconsistent in coverage.

Good to see safety Cooper Taylor get a few reps with the starters. Taylor needs to rebound from last year’s injury-filled season in a big way if he’s going to find a place at a unit where the competition consists of Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Quintin Demps, and Nat Berhe.

I didn’t see Taylor looking lost or out of place. He’s running well—the hamstring that ended his season last year seems fully healed.

Taylor recognizes the opportunity he has, even though he sheepishly admitted that it was probably a result of the coaches wanting to manage Stevie Brown’s reps. “It’s definitely an opportunity. It’s an opportunity I’ve been given so you’ve got to make the most out of it.”

Interestingly, Taylor, with his size (6’4”, 228 pounds) is probably going to get some opportunities to match up against the tight ends, a battle for which he believes he should have an advantage.

“I definitely think that’s one of my advantage as a safety,” he said. “I’m not one the smaller guys. I’m taller. I’m able to match up with those guys who are 6-6, 6-7, guys who are running down the field as receivers now. So I think that’s definitely and advantage I have being a little bit taller than the normal sized defensive back.”

So far so good for Adrien Robinson. He’s definitely playing faster, looks more confident, and has shown flashes of his athleticism. Same for Larry Donnell, who like Robinson, drew praise from head coach Tom Coughlin.

“I think (Robinson) has done a really good job in terms of just learning. Again, not many mental errors. I’ve been really impressed with that. Donnell (is) the same way. Guys learning it; they’ve picked it up. They’re out there, they seem to be much more natural, not a lot of plodding. It seems like they have grasped what we want done and let’s just hope they keep going.”

I’ve really liked what I’ve seen of running backs Peyton Hillis and of rookie Andre Williams, who, if there was a depth chart, appear to be No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.

I’ll start with Hillis, who has slimmed down and become much more chiseled than he was last year. He’s looking much more spry, especially as a receiver out of the backfield, where I don’t think I saw him drop any passes.

He’s hitting holes with a suddenness that also wasn’t there last year and he just seems to be playing with that zeal tht he had in 2010 when he top the 1000-yard rushing mark as a member of the Browns.

Hillis also looks like he’s the smoothest receiving option out of the backfield so far. He extends for the ball and does a nice job to secure it.

Williams, on the other hand, still needs some work as a receiver. On the one reception I saw him make, it looked like he had to use his body to secure it.

As a runner, though, he’s a sight to behold—he picks out the creases and hits them with a nice burst of speed. I’m really looking forward to seeing how well he does when hitting is allowed as he appears to have power in his legs, which I’m curious to see if he can drive guys backwards and pick up the extra yard or two.

That’s a wrap on this week’s OTA. The next report will be next Thursday.

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