Giants Minicamp Practice Report: Day 1
Just when I think it’s going to be a cut and dried practice report, along comes a move out of left field that leaves us reeling.
I’m, of course, referring to the news today that the New England Patriots claimed injured tight end Jake Ballard off waivers in an eleventh hour move. By grabbing Ballard, the Patriots get a good, young prospect for only $540K, and first right of refusal next year to resign Ballard, who will be a restricted free agent.
The Giants? Well, they’re not exactly in bad shape as they knew they were going to be without Ballard this season. They hope that the trio of Martellus Bennett, Bear Pascoe, and rookie Adrien Robinson can come along quickly enough to replace the production at tight end.
They’re also hoping that, at some point Travis Beckum, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, is able to come back at some point this year as well.
And you thought the off-season was boring?
Now on to the practice report.
Several guys sat out of this practice, including defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, (visa), receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot), cornerback Corey Webster (hamstring), safety Tyler Sash (hamstring), Beckum (knee), and linebacker Clint Sintim (knee).
Defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee) was nowhere to be seen though he wasn’t really expected to be around as his goal is to be ready for training camp. Also defensive end Osi Umenyiora was limited, this because he missed most of the off-season during his contract protest and the team didn’t want him doing too much too soon.
The good news is the Giants were able Bennett (hamstring) and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (elbow) on the field. So too was cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot).
It’s probably too soon to say this is the final field of contestants for the punt return job, but we had four receivers – Domenik Hixon, Ruben Randle, Victor Cruz and Jerrel Jernigan – back fielding punts. Again, more players might be added to the mix, but right now if I had to take a guess about who the leading contenders will be, I’m thinking it will come down to Hixon and Jernigan.
Free agent hopeful Jake Muasau, who had been lining up at linebacker, moved over to safety in this practice, I’m guessing because of the injury to Sash as well as the continued management of Kenny Phillips’s practice reps (knee). Hey, the more a guy can do, the better his chance of sticking on the roster, so certainly the experience can’t hurt Muasau.
Michael Coe was working with the first team defense in place of Corey Webster at cornerback. He was joined by Terrell Thomas.
Funny moment by running back David Wilson. The running backs were off doing some footwork drills to simulate stepping around piles and changing direction, and Wilson, whose footwork was flawless, got so excited by his showing that he spontaneously did a backflip to celebrate.
Speaking of Wilson, he did a nice job of exploiting some creases and darting into the hole. He is really, really quick and on one play, he managed to burst into the second level before the defense even had a chance to react.
Sean Locklear worked with the starters at left tackle. You’ll recall during the OTAs that it was James Brewer who got that nod. Brewer also told us at the last OTA (well, OTA #6 to be precise) that he was alternating with Locklear at left tackle while starter Will Beatty recovers from a strained back.
Michael Boley picked off an Eli Manning pass intended for Cruz. Actually, Manning looked a little off in this practice, misfiring on three other pass attempts. Yeah, I know. Cut him now, right?
Receiver Isaiah Stanback had a nice practice today, catching about three balls thrown in his direction. On one, he beat safety Jojo Nicolas and cornerback Dante Hughes in zone coverage.
Tight end Adrien Robinson, taking the field for the first time, apparently lined up incorrectly as he heard from tight ends coach Mike Pope about it. Robinson has of course missed a lot of classroom time and head coach Tom Coughlin noted, “He has a lot of meeting time to make up.”
Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers took snaps with the first team defense during the goal line drills, working alongside of Linval Joseph.
Bennett, to my eyes at any rate, didn’t look as though he was moving at full speed while running patterns in seven-on-sevens.
Rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley, whom the team envisions for the nickel, did a nice job of covering Cruz in the slot. Hosley might not be the biggest guy on the field, but he certainly showed no fear in going against Cruz.
Receiver Brandon Collins, continued to catch everything thrown his way. He might not have a shot at the 53-man roster given the numbers, but he’s certainly been making a case for a roster spot thus far.
Great play by receiver Dan DePalma to hang on to a pass despite a valiant attempt by linebacker Mark Herzlich to knock it away. DePalma juggled the ball but was able to maintain possession for the completion.
Rueben Randle did a nice job of finding the soft spots in the zone coverage over the middle of the field. He certainly looks comfortable running his routes.
Andre Brown was strung out by Prince Amukamara (who worked fully in the practice) and Keith Rivers on a run to the right. Brown looked like he missed a chance to cut inside of right tackle Brandon Mosley and simply lost the foot race.
Tight end Ryan Purvis did a nice job in gaining separation over the middle to make a catch.
Overall, I thought Randle, Hosley, and Wilson stood out in this practice, the first of three for the Giants. They’ll do it again tomorrow.