Giants OTA#1: Practice Report
The Giants moved into the final part of their off-season workouts today, kicking off their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) with a practice featuring no shells. Here are a few notes, observations, and quotes from the practice.First, let’s get the attendance out of the way. Everyone was present and accounted for, with the exception of tight end Jake Ballard (knee), DT Chris Canty (knee), defensive end Osi Umenyiora (contract) , and rookie tight end Adrien Robinson (school).
As far as the injured, I didn’t see Will Beatty (eye) doing anything other than individuals. Somewhat of a pleasant surprise was the fact that running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and receiver Domenik Hixon (knee) were out there doing work.
Initially Bradshaw indicated that he might not do much this spring, but he apparently felt good enough to take his turn with a couple of runs from scrimmage. Hixon, meanwhile, was out there catching passes and returning punts.
Cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) was also out there doing some limited work in individuals. He said he hopes to be able to go full go in 7-on-7 in training camp, but he doesn’t anticipate taking part in the full contact drills. Meanwhile cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot) didn’t do much in this practice.
I noticed receiver Dan DePalma running sprints off on the field where the specialists were working instead of running patterns with the rest of the offense. According to a couple of colleagues who spoke with DePalma, the receiver underwent hip surgery in the off-season.
Tight end Travis Beckum (knee) was on the bike – he’s obviously not going to do anything this spring and summer. Meanwhile Martellus Bennett had to leave practice early with a sore hamstring.
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph was off doing agility drills under the watchful eye of a trainer while the defensive linemen were working on unit drills. Joseph, I believe, is recovering from an ankle injury.
This practice also saw a couple of new injuries pop up, both at cornerback. Brian Witherspoon, who had been trying to come back from a torn ACL suffered last year, apparently reinjured the same ACL according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Witherspoon was carted off the field early in the practice.
Also needing to be carted off the field wascornerback Antwaun Molden, who came up lame after defending a pass that I think was intended for receiver Domenik Hixon. On the play, Molden grabbed the back of his left leg and immediately hobbled off to the side where he was worked on by the trainers. He was eventually carted off and was scheduled to undergo further evaluation. Molden has since tweeted that he’s all right, so it doesn’t sound like his ailment is serious.
The starting offensive line consisted of Matt McCants/James Brewer, Kevin Boothe, David Baas, Chris Snee, and David Diehl. Will Beatty (eye) didn’t take part on the team part of practice).
Over at linebacker, Mathias Kiwanuka, Chase Blackburn, and Michael Boley were at the one’s.
Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, the team’s seventh round draft pick, took part in the practice after having to miss the rookie camp with a laceration on his leg. Kuhn showed nice quickness off the ball. He knocked down a pass attempt by Ryan Perrilloux on a play in which Kuhn was up out of his stance almost at the same instance the ball was snapped. Great timing by the rookie.
Fullback Henry Hynoski appeared to have a very productive practice, catching several swing passes on the move and picking out the right men to “block” on running plays. I’ll have some more about Hynoski later on, including a look at his potentially expanded role on offense.
Linebacker Greg Jones did a good job in coverage on a pass intended for David Wilson. Jones stuck his hand in there and knocked it away.
In seven-on-seven drills, cornerback Justin Tryon made a nice play to knock a pass away from Victor Cruz on a ball thrown by Eli Manning.
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka did a nice job of shedding a block to” tag” running back DJ Ware, who hesitated in hitting the hole.
Quarterback Ryan Perrilloux has looked really good with his deep passes. He threw one on a rope intended for receiver Brandon Collins, who dropped the ball.
Receiver Jerrel Jernigan showed a nice little burst of speed in finding a soft spot between two defenders to make a reception along the near sideline. Jernigan told me that he’s been working hard on his punt returns, and that he hopes to get an opportunity to erase the early memories of his rookie season when he was struggling with fielding punts and making decisions with the ball in his hands. He said he feels much more comfortable in that role, and is ready for the competition that will also include Domenik Hixon, Ruben Randle, and Victor Cruz.
Speaking of Hixon, he said he’s feeling great. He told me that unlike his first knee injury, which was torn all the way, his second and most recent one, was only a partial tear. He said that he tries not to think about it when he’s out there, but at the same time, if something doesn’t look right to the trainers, he told them he wants to know.
Head coach Tom Coughlin confirmed that the Giants will be paying a visit to the White House the first week of June.
Punter Steve Weatherford, who dazzled onlookers with his colorful ring ceremony outfit, and his wife Laura are expecting their third child this summer. Weatherford said he would leave training camp in late August to fly home to California where his wife, who is carrying a girl, will be induced.
Head coach Tom Coughlin, on the U.S. Army’s “Outstanding Civilian Service Award” that he’ll be receiving this evening in Virginia: “ I think it’s a tremendous honor. I’m very humbled in receiving this honor, and I look forward to spending an evening with General [Raymond T.] Odierno and the other people being honored.
“I have learned a little more what this honor is over the last week or so. Like I said, it’s very humbling. It’s an honor to be in that company and to realize the historical significance of where we will be once this takes place tonight… where all the chiefs of staff who lived and going way back to the 1800’s and what this represents in terms of our support for the military, our men and women who serve our country. If you think back going all the way to back to 9-11 and how that changed the way, I hope, all Americans feel about our armed forces, the changing of the way in which war is conducted… what they do for us on a daily basis, so we can work in this great National Football League and all Americans can sleep under the blanket of freedom. It is a very, very humbling experience that I’m looking forward to.”