When it comes time to practice, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin likes to see good energy from his players.
But there’s a fine line between putting forth good energy and being over aggressive, and after watching the linebackers be a little too aggressive against the running backs in 11-on-11 drills, Coughlin had seen enough.
He called defensive coordinator Perry Fewell over and had an animated discussion – well, more like Coughlin was doing the talking and Fewell was doing the listening.
“I told him a couple of times but there wasn’t anything discussion. We just said, ‘What are we doing knocking people down?’ We’ll get
it under control.”
The two plays in question saw running back running back Ryan Torain, who is supposed to see some significant playing time Saturday night as the third running back, slow to rise from a hit delivered by safety Ryan Mundy after earlier taking an equally big hit from Jacquian Williams. Meanwhile linebacker Jake Muasau popped Michael Cox.
“We don’t want them on the ground. There was too much of that today,” Coughlin said.
With just four days until the Giants get to start hitting guys in live drills – they’ll face the Steelers on Saturday night – you can see that the players are starting to get a little antsy. But at the same time, they need to be smart in their quest to impress the coaches especially when working against their own teammates.
As expected, receiver Hakeem Nicks who had been sidelined with a strained groin, was back at practice, albeit limited. Same goes for cornerback Corey Webster (groin), who is working his way back into the flow.
Second, there was some movement on the PUP front. I wrote on Sunday that I thought right guard Chris Snee would be activated off PUP as soon as today. Well today on WFAN, general manager Jerry Reese confirmed that Snee was ready to return to practice during a radio spot on WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton Show.”
The surprising news, though, is that Reese also revealed that cornerback Terrell Thomas, who has worked to come back from his third ACL, will also be coming off PUP. Thomas will likely be limited for a few days until he gets acclimated again, but from what we did see, he moved well when running and I doubt we’ll see him in the first two or three preseason games, but the news that he’s coming off PUP is a very encouraging sign in his rehab.
Although there has no official movement (yet) on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is on PUP as he recovers from back surgery, Reese did tell Boomer and Carton that he believes JPP will be ready to return to the field for opening day.
Whether that means the practice field or the playing field is up for interpretation, but again, I’ve long believed that the Giants would carry JPP on the 53-man roster to start the season, even if he wasn’t quite ready for the first week or two for the season.
Sincere we’re on the subject of PUP guys, there’s nothing new to report on defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee) or fullback Henry Hynoski (knee). Kuhn has been able to do some running on the grass field and has looked like he’s moving with no trouble.
Hynoski, meanwhile, hasn’t yet reached the point in his rehab where he’s ready to start running on solid ground, though I’ve heard that this phase in his rehab isn’t too far away. In fact, Hynoski looked to be wearing a large wrap on his knee instead of the brace he’s been sporting since the start of camp.
Because all the guys on PUP already counted against the 90-man training camp roster, the Giants do not need to make any corresponding moves to “add” Snee and Thomas back to the roster.
Later in practice, the Giants accumulated a few bumps and bruises, none of which seem to be serious at this time, though a couple were still being evaluated to decide the extent of the injuries. Tight end Larry Donnell had his ankle rolled up on, and was sidelined. OL James Brewer got dinged in 9-on-7 drills in the practice and is being tested for a possible concussion. Rookie safety Cooper Taylor strained his hamstring and running back Ryan Torain, who was leveled by a linebacker, was also dinged, the extent of his issue not know.
With Chris Snee still working his way back on the field, Brandon Mosley saw some snaps at right guard, alternating with James Brewer until Brewer suffered his head injury.
* The practice opened up with punt return drills, and I don’t know how serious of a candidate receiver Victor Cruz is for a punt returner, but he’s been back there fielding a couple each practice. Today he dropped one, though drawing either a mixture of “Cruuuuuz” or “Booos” from the crowd.
* Defensive end Adewale Ojomo gave left tackle Chris DeGeare some fits when the two went against each other in 11-on-11s. Meanwhile Selvish Capers, at left guard, did a nice job to peel off his man and help DeGeare with Ojomo on one play .
* Tight end Adrien Robinson managed to get a nice block against Damontre Moore. Actually is was a pretty block in that Robinson led with his shoulder, moved Moore out of the way, and yet still managed to get into his passing pattern in a 9-on-7 drill.
* Receiver Kevin Hardy made a pretty catch on a high pass through by David Carr. Charles James tried to knock the ball away, by Hardy quickly snatched it from the air and tucked it away.
* Ryan Torain did a nice job of blocking a punt by Steve Weatherford. I didn’t see who he blew past, but he was into the backfield and on the ball in a snap.
* Ryan D’Imperio and Mark Herzlich had a brief scuffle on special teams drills that was over as quickly as it began.
* Louis Murphy broke up an Eli Manning pass that Aaron Ross nearly picked off. Yes, you read that correctly. Murphy slipped out of his break and Ross managed to get into better position to make the play that Murphy had to play defender.
* Ryan Nassib missed Brandon Collins, who got his feet tangled up with Terence Frederick’s feet. Collins also had a dropped pass from Nassib that was right in his hands.
* Nassib had a shaky end to his practice. First he was nearly picked off by Junior Mertile, except the ball went through Mertile’s hands. Then Nassib threw another pick, this time to defensive back Laron Scott in the end zone, which ended practice.
* It looked like André Brown missed a blitzing linebacker than split the gap between the center and guard.
* Charles James came up with an interception on a deep pass by Ryan Nassib.
* Nice job by linebacker Aaron Curry to fight off a block and force a fumble by Da’Rel Scott. The loose ball was recovered by Johnathan Hankins.
* Terrell Thomas, working at corner, did well to keep up with Victor Cruz, but the receiver still managed to come up with the ball.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
I almost get the impression that the coaches are still holding their breath about the pass blocking they’re going to get from projected starter David Wilson this year.
I give you running back coach Jerald Ingram’s response to the question about how much he’s looking forward to seeing Wilson’s growth as a pass blocker.
“The preseason, you’re actually excited about playing these games. So it’s going to be a great test for us right now. A lot of it is ‘want to.’ There are many examples of guys that have done it. (Danny) Woodhead has done a great job for his size, so you’re showing players and Ray Rice and a lot of different players that have done a great job of being complete running backs. That’s where I have to do a better job of showing David and creating that ‘want to’ and that technique and the more he actually gets a chance to actually hit somebody, the better he’ll get.”
I asked Ingram if he thought the ‘want to’ is there for Wilson.
“I think the ‘want to’ is there,” he said. “Like any young running back through every year in the NFL, there’s two things a young running back has to do in the NFL and it’s protect the quarterback and take care of the ball. That’s what he has to do. When he was in high school and in college in some places… All they had to do was run.
“You come into the NFL and you’re not just a runner. You’re everything. You’re accountable to everyone and it’s a stepping stone for a lot of runners over the years and it’s just one area that he’s got to learn to get better at, but I won’t say he’s afraid to in any way. Not at all. The guy has courage. He just has to learn how to.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s going to be something I’m very interested to see when the Giants open up their preseason this weekend against the Steelers, which is a very good defensive team. And while Wilson thus far looks like he knows what to do, the technique hasn’t always been sharp, so we’ll see if within the next few days that changes.
“They don’t really need me out there right now. I’m just going to focus on my recovery. Everything will be alright.” – Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who tapped the brakes on the enthusiasm generated about his possible return for week one by general manager Jerry Reese’s morning interview with WFAN.
The Giants will continue practice this week through Thursday. Weather permitting, all practices will be open to the public and will begin at 1:30 p.m.