The Day at Camp: August 1, 2013

Head coach Tom Coughlin is not one to miss a minute of training camp for an optional event. that’s scheduled to take place hundreds of miles away from where his team is training.

But this weekend is going to be a little different, as Coughlin and a group from the team’s front office will board a private jet to Canton, Ohio, the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which on Saturday, will open its doors to one of the Giants’ very own.

That would be Bill Parcells, the Giants head coach from 1983 to 1990, who led the team to its first two Super Bowl victories in franchise history, and Coughlin’s boss and mentor from 1988 to 1990.

“I’ll leave after practice, the coaches will take over the evening meetings and then we’re going to go for the ceremony to honor Bill, be there for him as Giant to Giant, and then we’ll travel back,” Coughlin said of his itinerary.

It’s been 18 years since Coughlin has been in Canton, the last time, of course, being in 1995 when as head coach of the then expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, his team fell to the league’s other expansion franchise, the Carolina Panthers, 20-14.

But this trip is about being there for Parcells, and for Coughlin, who said it will be his first time attending an enshrinement ceremony. He is looking forward to being there to support his friend and mentor with whom he shared so many fond memories that it was impossible for him to pick one that stood out the most when he was asked to do so.

“There’s a lot of moments and big games and exceptional players making great plays and the great enjoyment of being a part of it” Coughlin said. “There were many of those examples.”

This weekend, Coughlin will be able to add another fond memory to his collection as he honors his friend and former boss.

Unfortunately when a young undrafted prospect suffers an injury in training camp, that pretty much signals the end of his stay with the team. And that’s exactly what happened to receiver Jeremy Horne, who near the conclusion of Tuesday’s practice, suffered an undisclosed foot injury that necessitated him being carted off the field.

Horne, out of Massachusetts, was waived/injured. Taking his spot on the roster was another UMass alumnus, receiver Julian Talley, who was with the Giants in camp last year.

Receiver Hakeem Nicks (groin) has gone from being limited to being inactive as he sat out all of today’s indoor practice.

“He’s being treated for a groin; it’s a day-to-day type of thing,” Coughlin said.

When asked if the injury was something to be concerned with, Coughlin shook his head. “I don’t think so. They just want to quiet it down and make sure it heals before he goes back out and continues to maybe make it worse.”

It’s also status quo for the five guys on PUP, cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee), fullback Henry Hynoski (knee), guard Chris Snee (hip) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back).

Interestingly, when Coughlin was asked if any of the PUP guys were close to being activated, he started to offer some information, but then stopped himself, saying he preferred to wait and see in the event anything changed.

Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins was excused from today’s practice due to a death in the family. In his absence, the defensive interior consisted of Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers. Rogers had previously worked with the second-string team.

Rookie first rounder Justin Pugh was given a few snaps with the starters today at right tackle in place of David Diehl. I’ll have more on that, as well as on an interesting formation in which tight end Bear Pascoe was split out wide for one play, in the practice highlights.

For the first time in this camp, the coaches started mixing up the lineups, meaning that you might see the first team offensive backfield playing behind the second team offensive line, who was working against the starting defensive line. It make sense as you never know when the backups will be needed to go into a game, so why not find out what they can do against the starters?

* Cornerback Prince Amukamara continues to have a fine camp, this time coming up with the very first interception of the day in 11-on-11 drills and this one coming on an Eli Manning pass intended for Victor Cruz. I don’t think I’ve seen Amukamara get beat deep once this camp and with each play he makes, his confidence level jumps up yet another notch.

Later on, Webster picked off Manning’s pass intended for Cruz. It was hard to say for sure, but I think in both cases, the picks were on Cruz, who looked like he turned for the ball just a split second too late, something that receivers coach Kevin M. Gilbride spoke about earlier today when he was asked what exactly Coughlin meant when he spoke about Cruz needing to knock the rust off.

* We had a chance to see running back David Wilson pass block and it wasn’t pretty. The good news is that Wilson picked up the correct man. The bad news is that he didn’t set his base and was bent backwards, barely holding up his man (who didn’t look like he was charging at full speed anyway). If that play had been full speed, I guarantee you that Wilson would have been knocked on his rear end and the quarterback would have been hit.

* Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins made a nice stop on a run headed up the gut. He was quick off the snap and his blocker barely got a hand on him.

* I said it in an earlier report, but I need to say it again. Tight end Adrien Robinson is having a very, very strong camp. I don’t think I’ve seen him drop a single pass and he uses his big body exceptionally well to shield himself and the ball against defenders. He had a nice reception against linebacker Aaron Curry, who trailed him in coverage by a step or two, and Robinson managed to separate once he turned up field.

Robinson also came all the way across the field to come up with a gorgeous catch on a ball thrown slightly in front of him. He kept his balance and turned up field for some extra yardage.

Today we also got a chance to see him do a little blocking and he put forth a very encouraging showing as far as exploding into his man and sealing off the edge for a Da’Rel Scott outside run.

Coughlin has obviously noticed Robinson as well. “He keeps making steady progress. Today I thought he practiced well, made some plays. More importantly, it looked like from an assignment standpoint, he did well. We look forward to having him continue that way.”

* Safety Tyler Sash nearly had another interception today when quarterback Curtis Painter overshot receiver Brandon Collins deep. However, Sash himself was a little too deep in coverage, and by the time he started to adjust to where the ball was going, the pigskin had landed.

* Running back Ryan Torain showed a nice little burst of quickness when after taking the handoff, he quickly saw the crease had closed up. So he cut things back against the grain and made something out of nothing.

* Nice job by guard Brandon Mosley to hold back blitzing linebacker Jake Muasau who tried to shoot a gap. Also a nice job by Mosley to pick up a blitzing Jayron Hosley on a corner blitz. Not so nice of a job by Mosley, though, against defensive end Justin Trattou, who knifed inside of him and “sacked” Ryan Nassib. And a poor job by Mosley when he resorted to  holding to stop defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins from wreaking havoc.

* Running back Michael Cox spotted a hole in between the tackles and quickly hit it, picking up some nice yardage in the process. Thus far in this camp, Cox hasn’t really done well between the tackles, so this was encouraging to see.

* Cox and Trattou did mix it up just a little later in the practice. Trattou, by the way, wears number 69, which was noted training camp brawler Rich Seubert’s jersey number. The magic apparently lives on, I guess.

* I mentioned that the officials were at practice today for the first time. Well, that wasn’t a good thing for safety Cooper Taylor on punt coverage drills because twice, Taylor was caught being pushed out of bounds. The rookie needs to hold his ground a little better and be aware of where the sideline is moving forward.

* After looking unsure in seven-on-seven drills – there were at least three coverage sacks in this sequence because he held the ball too long, Nassib began thrown some real pretty deep passes. I’ll even go so far as to say that I thought this was his best practice of camp so far, as he just seemed to settle down, go through his reads and connect with his receivers.

* I mentioned earlier that tight end Bear Pascoe was split out wide and that he made the reception against Prince Amukamara, of all people. Pascoe also had  nice day blocking from the tight end spot, particularly when he threw a textbook seal block to spring David Wilson around the edge.

* Wilson also benefits from a good block by Justin Pugh, who was given some first-team snaps at right tackle in place of David Diehl. Pugh squared up his man, safety Antrel Rolle, beautifully and Wilson took advantage of the distraction to squirt through the line for a decent gain.

* Matt McCants has taken snaps at center in this cap and he had a botched exchange with Curtis Painter. I couldn’t see who was at fault, but I did see the ball on the ground and I did hear the coaches yelling about it.

* It looked like defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka got the better of right tackle  David Diehl, who pushed Kiwi down. On the other side of the line on that same play, it was a rare whiff by left tackle Will Beatty, who was by Justin Tuck.

* The Giants ended practice with some red zone drills and thanks to the line of players blocking our view, I couldn’t’ see all of what was happening. I did, however, see 5-9 cornerback Laron Scott pick off a pass intended for 6-6 receiver Ramses Barden.

I truly feel for the fans that get just a single month all year to watch the Giants in training camp practice. There are people who the pilgrimage from hundreds of miles away, a trip that often time requires advance scheduling of time off from work and orchestrating the kids for the long ride, only to be at the mercy of the weather when the big day comes.

That’s unfortunately what happened today as due to rain, the Giants practice was moved inside to the field house, which is not set up to receive the public.

I’m sure there were more than a few folks who intended to come to practice today, only to be discouraged by the weather which forced the Giants to make a “game-time” decision whether to move practice inside.

I also know it’s probably no consolation to those who used to enjoy the fields and access to the players at Albany, but the sad fact is that under the current CBA, if a practice is lost due to inclement weather, it can’t be made up.

Since there are so few precious practices allowed by the CBA, isn’t it better that the team find a way to take advantage of the time afford to it under the CBA for practice than to risk having even a single practice wiped out due to inclement weather?

I know it stinks, but hopefully if the Giants are in the post season in January, the disappointment felt by anyone who hoped to come to practice on a day it was forced inside due to the weather will be replaced by euphoria.

* * *

I put this story up on Yahoo! Sports’ page, but I want to make sure I mention it here because it’s definitely worth the read. It’s about linebacker Mark Herzlich’s aspirations to make a difference in the lives of others. If you want to see a whole other side of the third-year linebacker, be sure to check this story out.

How many times have we heard veteran players who miss time for whatever the reason shrug it off as though it’s no big deal, say that they can get caught up because they have been in the system for a while and know what they’re doing so they can get back on track quickly.

Too many, as I recall, most recently Hakeem Nicks, who wasn’t worried about missing practice time when he last spoke to the media in the spring (Nicks has been ducking us so far in training camp, so we’ll try again tomorrow to see what he has to say.)

Anyway, receivers coach Kevin M. Gilbride thinks that’s a misguided opinion to have.

“He needs to practice and he knows it,” Gilbride said. “He and I talk about it all the time. In order for you to be ready for the season, you need to have done it, and done it over and over, and done it wrong and made the adjustment and have to become part of what you do, the correct way to do it.

“He’s not there yet. He needs to continue to improve and he knows that. In order for him to produce the way that he wants to produce, and the way we need him to produce, he needs to get ready for that.”

The Giants are planning to be in full pads on Friday, with practice scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The preliminary weather report, as I write this, promises to be more favorable that today’s rainy conditions.

Sean Folger contributed to this report.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *