The Day at Camp: August 7, 2013

Training camp is only about a month long, and let’s face it, it can become monotonous at times. So I guess when a story such as Eli and Payton Manning’s video “Football on Your Phone” (F.O.Y.P.), a commercial they did for DirecTV that has since gone viral, comes along, I can understand why it might be the topic of the day.

I watched it a couple of times and it was one of those pieces of work that is so bad it’s good (though personally I thought their first commercial, “Football Cops” was much better.

It’s been interesting to see the reactions to the latest video. Many people seem to love it. Some think it’s a waste of time (the video, for those wondering, was shot back in the spring).

“It got some laughs… got some heat for it as well,” said Eli Manning, one of the co-stars of “F.O.Y.P.” video.

I think the video can actually be a boost to a team that yesterday got a little intense at practice. It’s been said that if you laugh, you can relieve tension, and let’s face it… with starting jobs on the line, with roster spots up for grabs, sometimes a little harmless distraction that breaks that tension can be a good thing.

And if you disagree, then I would argue that it’s better than watching something like this (Warning: may contain adult language).

INJURY REPORT
Defensive end Justin Tuck (back) was added to the injury list with some tightness. Tuck was not on the practice field, as the team held him out as a precautionary. Head coach Tom Coughlin said that if Tuck improves, he’ll play on Saturday.

Tackle Justin Pugh (concussion) is still not cleared to practice; he started out on the bike area and ended up a spectator. Coughlin said he thinks that Pugh, who won’t play against the Steelers, should be good to go next week.

OL James Brewer., who was dinged in a 9-on-7 drill yesterday, did not practice, nor did safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring). Coughlin said that the doctors were optimistic about Taylor’s recovery.

Tight end Larry Donnell (ankle) returned to the practice field and had a touchdown reception. I didn’t see running back Ryan Torain, who was leveled by a linebacker yesterday.

LINEUPS
Coughlin said he expects to let his starters take about 10-15 snaps on Saturday against the Steelers.

Chris Snee is still slowly working his way back into the lineup. With James Brewer and Justin Pugh not expected to play on Saturday, look for second-year man Brandon Mosley to get the start at right guard, in place of Chris Snee, who is also not expected to play on Saturday.

With Tuck out nursing a back problem, Cullen Jenkins moved outside to defensive end with the starters, and Shaun Rogers moved into Jenkins’ spot at defensive tackle. Later in the practice, we also saw Adrian Tracy and Damontre Moore each get some work at defensive end with the starters.

Cornerback Terrell Thomas got some snaps in the nickel package during individual drills. Thomas seems to be moving well when on the field so any butterflies he might have had when stepping put there for the first time this summer yesterday seem to have dissipated.

On the kickoff team, Adrien Robinson, Johnathan Hankins, and Damontre Moore are all getting a chance to work with the first team.

PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS
*I’ve been really impressed with offensive lineman Brandon Mosley, who as I mentioned in the Lineups section, has been given some snaps at right guard with the starters while Chris Snee works his way back into game shape. Mosley squared off against Mathias Kiwanuka on one play and held his round, staying with Kiwanuka until the whistle blew, showing some feistiness in the process.

I did notice that Mosley takes a slight half step before exploding into his block – this on a running play by Andre Brown — but those little extra steps didn’t hurt the play. It’s something though to watch on Saturday as sometimes those little shuffle steps can delay a lineman from getting into his block.

I asked Coughlin what he has thought about Mosley, who seems to have moved ahead of James Brewer on the depth chart, so far. “He’s had some very good practices,” Coughlin said. “He occasionally suffers from a lack of experience when something new confronts him, but he’s been impressive. He’s  tough kid and he’s battling.”

* Another kid who seems to battle well is fullback Ryan D’Imperio. D’Imperio has a little feistiness in him in that he’ll wrestle with his man to the end in the middle of the scrum until the whistle blows.  I saw a couple of blocks where he did  a nice job of squaring up his man, getting the proper leverage and moving the linebacker out of the hole. He did, however, whiff on an Adrian Tracy charge, as Tracy was in the backfield to disrupt the play.

* In the receivers vs. defensive backs drills, cornerback Trumaine McBride got his hands up in receiver Victor Cruz’s face, not that it mattered as Cruz still managed to separate and come down with the reception, much to the delight of the crowd.

* In 11-on-11s, Eli “Easy E” Manning’s pass intended for Rueben Randle bounced off the receiver’s hands. Even if Randle had caught it, he had Keith Rivers all over him and in position to knock the ball away.

* Offensive guard Stephen Goodin did a good job of blocking linebacker Kyle Bosworth as the running back ran right around them. A few plays later though, Goodin looked confused when Jayron Hosley came on a  cornerback blitz. Goodin decided to try to block Hosley at the last minute, but it was too late and Hosley came up with the sack. Goodin was also late in trying to block Adewale Ojomo on a running play.

* Tight end Larry Donnell, balky ankle and all, put forth a text-book style seal block on a defensive end,  that enabled Michael Cox to get around the edge for a nice gain. Later on, Donnell did a nice job to slip behind the defensive coverage and into the middle of the field in a  seven-on-seven drill to make the catch.

* Offensive lineman Bryant Browning’s footwork is clunky – it seems that he spends a lot of extra movement just to get into a block and then when he does, there isn’t as much power or force behind it, probably a matter of the angle taken.

* Nice job by Da’Rel Scott on a blitz pickup of defensive end Justin Trattou. Scott did well to hold Trattou long enough for the ball to be released.

* Michael Cox is really starting to show something as a kickoff returner. In fact, I’d say he seems to have become more comfortable in that role since the spring. Cox has nice vision – he can spot the open creases and sowed he can anticipate how the blocking is going to develop. Moreover, he has shown to have decent acceleration to hit the creases before they close up. He still looks like he jukes just a little too much out there, which slows him down a tad, but he’s definitely looking much more comfortable in that role.

* Victor Cruz was the easy winner in a matchup against the duo of Corey Webster and Stevie Brown, as on one play,  Cruz did what he does best: separate, catch the ball and gain yards after the catch.

*I’m not sure if David Wilson was joking or had a mental lapse, but after catching a swing pass he started to run up field and them looked to square his man and lower his head. There was no collision, but the reason I bring that us is because  it’s now illegal for a running back to square up against his man and lower the crown of his helmet as if he was going to ram him.

* André Brown really went after Aaron Ross on a pass blocking situation. Ross was coming in on a blitz and Brown just wasn’t giving up any ground to the defender. Brown later made a spectacular one-handed catch  on a pass thrown off balance by Curtis Painter.

* Safety Junior Mertile had a chance for a pick on a pass by Curtis Painter to Louis Murphy, but Mertile failed to adjust on the ball. No mater though as Mertile did eventually get his third interception of camp, this one on a poorly thrown pass by Ryan Nassib.

* Safety Tyler Sash very nearly came up with another pick for the defense on an Eli Manning pass intended for Louis Murphy. Sash, however, collided with Antrel Rolle, but give him credit for breaking up the play.

* Adrien Robinson looked good blocking linebacker Aaron Curry. Robinson has done a better job of getting low and setting his base, and that has helped him win some of those blocking battles against linebackers.

* Coughlin wasn’t kidding when he said that defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins was a load to handle. In the two-minute drill, Jenkins, lined up inside, gave Kevin Boothe a bit of trouble, nearly getting his big hand up on a pass to knock it down.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
When the Giants take the field on Saturday for their first preseason game, Eli Manning will once again have a new receiving tight end to work with, that being Brandon Myers, the former Raider who had his breakout season last year with 79 receptions.

So how has it been for Manning to work with fourth new tight end in the last four seasons?

“He is smart. He is kind of learning this offense that is completely different from what he’s been used to. There are a few things, there’s some teaching points, but he’s starting to understand it,” Manning said.

“He’s starting to comprehend everything and he’s doing a good job of getting open. He is athletic. He runs good routes. He catches the ball well, so hopefully he can be a big part of this offense and get us a bunch of catches.”

Myers, who’s not much of a talker, said that his progression in the offense has been coming along.

“It’s complex but it’s good once you start to get things down, get on the same page, like I said, learn all the calls, but it’s been good.”

It also helps that he’s working with a quarterback who has been through this before as far as breaking in new tight ends.

“It’s been great.  He’s a proven winner, he has great command of the offense,” said Myers. “ Any time you can do what you’re supposed to do and be in the right position and be on the same page as Eli, he’s going to find you.  He’s great about that, so it’s been good.”

SAY WHAT?
“I think it’s a consensus that Peyton is a little more outgoing, a little more outspoken, but I thought Eli stole the show there.” – Punter Steve Weatherford, offering his critique of the Manning brothers’ “Football on Your Phone” commercial for DirectTV.

 UP NEXT
The Giants conclude practice for this week tomorrow, weather permitting. Practice is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

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