If I may, I’d like to digress a bit from my usual football musings and speak form the heart.
Since I was named Editor of Inside Football back in 1997, I’ve had the pleasure of working with interns who have grown in this field and gone on to do bigger and better things.
Such is the case with Sean Folger, who starting next week, is moving on to CBS Sports. Sean has been invaluable all through the spring and summer and so with me needing to miss practice today to tend to some unexpected personal business, I handed Sean the keys to the car, so to speak, and asked him to write the PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS section of this report.
He did an outstanding job, showing that he’s going to be successful in whatever responsibilities he takes on with CBS Sports. So I want to thank Sean for all his hard work and wish him well in his new gig. I’m proud to have had a chance to work with such a fine young journalism student.
If you missed it, receiver Hakeem Nicks (groin) finally came out to speak with the media today, and said that he figured he’s still a few days away from returning to the field, which would probably put him back at practice on Wednesday, when the team returns from a day off. You can read more about what Nicks had to say right here.
Joining Nicks on the sideline was cornerback Corey Webster, who seemed to tweak his groin in yesterday’s workout. Also rookie offensive lineman Justin Pugh wasn’t even out on the field today after suffering a concussion on Thursday. Pugh will be out until he can pass the concussion protocol tests.
Still nothing new 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).
My gut feeling is there won’t be any movement on any of the PUP guys until after this weekend, so stay tuned.
In terms of other new injuries to come out of practice, reserve offensive lineman Michael Jasper got an ankle rolled up on during a 9-on-7 running drill. We’ll see if his is serious enough to knock him off the roster, as was the case with receiver Jeremy Horne, who earlier in the week was waived/injured after suffering a foot injury. (Horne was since added to the injured reserve list after clearing waivers).
Although Corey Webster wasn’t on the practice field today, one thing that we were able to get out of our media session with the cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta and safeties coach David Merritt, is that this year, the Giants are no longer going to have a #1 and #2 cornerback, as has been the case in the past. Rather, they’re going to assign their defensive back personnel according to the receivers being faced.
That means that Prince Amukamara, wh0 despite his strong showing this year, is still considered the #2 cornerback on the team, could very well start seeing time against the opponent’s number one receiver. Further, Giunta said that they want their cornerbacks to be interchangeable based don the situation, much in the same way that the safeties are interchangeable.
I say it’s about time they started thinking that way. We all know what kind of season Webster had last year and while I do think he’ll rebound from that, with Amukamara being an up-and-comer, I think it’s about time that he be considered for duty against some of the league’s top receivers.
Speaking of the defensive backfield, I wrote this article about how safety Stevie Brown wants to do a lot more this year, be more of a complete safety. Well, according to safeties position coach David Merritt, Brown is going to get that opportunity.
“One of the things you guys will probably see is Stevie Brown in the box a bit more this year,” Merritt said. “So we’re excited to get him down and he’s starting to understand what I’m looking for as far as block protection and block destruction.”
Again, I’ll point you to my article in which Brown talked about picking Antrel Rolle’s brain about various techniques and approaches that have helped Rolle be successful down in the box.
This section was written by Sean Folger.
* The first day of pads started with some loud collisions in the special teams blocking drills. First, Tyler Sash exploded into Ryan Mundy, causing a stir from the crowd right away. Mundy was able to hold his block, but back a few feet by Sash at the point of contact. Then Jayron Hosley ran over LaRon Scott, sending Scott to the ground in a heap.
* In the offensive red zone drills, tight end Adrien Robinson has trouble with quarterback Eli Manning’s cadence. Without the defense on the field, Robinson committed a false start twice on Manning hard counts.
* Robinson was not the only offensive player to struggle with the snap counts today. Receiver Jerrel Jernigan committed two false starts on the same play during 11-11’s, and offensive lineman Brandon Mosley committed a false start during the 11-on-11’s. As a note, the referees do not stop play on the motion penalties, they just drop the flag, and everyone plays.
* Tight end Brandon Myers and Manning were unable to connect on several seam routes. On back-to-back plays, Manning looked for Myers and was unsuccessful. The first play was a miscommunication between the two. Manning threw a deep seam down the right hash, but Myers either cut his route off or stop running for some reason. Manning threw his arms up in disgust after the play.
* Linebacker Spencer Paysinger gets credit for the second play off the Manning-Myers failure. Myers again ran a deep seem, but this time Eli hit him right in the hands. Myers was able to gain possession, but was not able to bring his arms down over Paysinger, who was able to punch the ball out at the last second.
* With Webster out, Jayron Hosley was the starting cornerback outside opposite Prince Amukamara. Hosley had been practicing strictly behind Aaron Ross as the nickel, but it was Hosley, and not Ross, who got the call with Webster out.
The offense had only two exciting plays, and both of them most likely would not have counted in a real game. On the first play of 11-on-11s, Manning hit Rueben Randle streaking down the left sideline. Randle did come down with the ball in an ever-so-common battle with Amukamara, who was draped all over him. However, it appeared that Randle landed out of bounds.
The second big play came from an unexpected source, as Ryan Nassib threw a perfect deep ball to newly signed receiver Julian Talley for a touchdown. Talley gained a few steps of separation from defensive back Junior Mertile and Nassib dropped the ball in over his shoulder.
Unfortunately for the duo, Adewale Ojomo beat right tackle Matt McCants badly on the play, forcing McCants to drag him down in the backfield, drawing a would-be holding call.
* Johnathan Hankins had another disruptive day in the middle for the second team. He started by laying a big hit on Da’Rel Scott on a running play up the middle. Hankins tore into the ‘A’ gap and the impact of the collision sent Scott straight to the ground.
On several other plays, Hankins anchored down the middle of the line and, although he would not have gotten credit for any tackles, he disrupted the flow of a few running plays. He was also able to put a nice rip move on McCants one play, pressuring Manning and forcing him to dump the ball off to Adrien Robinson.
* Michael Cox continues to look extremely quick. He tends to cut back on too many plays a little too soon, but when he does it in non-tackle drills, it looks good.
With that said, Coach Coughlin praised the rookie’s versatility today. “Yeah, (Cox) has done a few things,” Coughlin said. “He’s done some nice things on special teams, he’s done some pretty good things on kick returns, and today in 9-on-7 he had a couple nice runs.”
Cox was also third in line today returning kicks, behind David Wilson and Rueben Randle.
* Damontre Moore abused each of the second team offensive tackles. He first tossed Chris DeGeare out of his way to may a run stop against Da’Rel Scott, then put a nasty swim move on DeGeare to get penetration on a pass play.
When Moore switched over to the left side, he used his speed to evade Matt McCants and get some pressure on Ryan Nassib.
* The defense dropped several easy interceptions, which has been rare so far in camp. Ryan Nassib threw a short pass directly to cornerback Charles James on the left side. James let it slip through his hands and immediately went to the ground and started the customary ten pushups that the cornerbacks do when they drop an interception.
* Jacquian Williams should have had an interception of a David Carr pass, but he dropped a throw that was more difficult to bring in than the one James dropped. Williams read Carr’s eyes and got in to position to make the interception, but he did not bring his hands up in time and was only able to knock it down.
After a nice practice yesterday inside the field house, Nassib struggled today. Along with the dropped interception, it took a great pass breakup by receiver Jernigan on an under thrown deep ball that safety Junior Mertile had gotten his hands on. Credit Jernigan’s ball skills on that one.
The rookie quarterback was erratic, over throwing Da’Rel Scott in the right flat and having several short passes broken by defenders who were blanketing their man. Though each of the quarterbacks struggled to some degree today, Nassib seemed to have the most trouble.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Think head coach Tom Coughlin is a little superstitious? Despite having his team in full pads, the Giants didn’t run goal line drills today.
“Have you been watching us the last few years? Last time we ran a goal line, I lost a linebacker and a running back. We’ve been practicing short yardage and goal line, really since the spring. But the live part of it we haven’t done yet, if we’re going to,” he said.
At some point the Giants will work on their goal line package, though if you look back to last year, a big part of any success they had down at the goal line is currently sitting on PUP. That would be fullback Henry Hynoski, who last year helped spring running backs for 15 of the team’s 18 rushing touchdowns.
“I think the jury is still out. For a young guy, he’s physically gifted, he’s very talented, he pays attention and he’s got that drive and that fire. You see him flying around on the field. For a young guy like that it’s about staying in tune with the material because he’s got all the physical gifts and he’s got to stay healthy, but the sky’s the limit for him.”
–Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka on rookie defensive end Damontre Moore, who has been the toast of the young players so far this summer.
The Giants are planning to be in full pads again on Saturday. However, note that there has been a slight change to the practice schedule. Practice will run from 1:15 p.m. until 3 PM. On Sunday, the practice is closed to the public and on Monday, the players are off. The team will resume training camp practices on Tuesday.