The Day at Camp: July 29, 2012
Wait a minute. What just happened out there at practice today? The sky was blue, the sun was out and the team was able to move to the grass fields to do the work the way they prefer.
Yes, the rain that soaked the Albany area this morning went away. Now let’s hope it stays away because enough’s enough.
* I’m really not sure what’s up with QB David Carr, but he hasn’t looked very sharp thus far this camp. In one-on-one drills, he seemed to have some trouble with accuracy, overthrowing TE Bear Pascoe. He then threw a dart to TE Adrien Robinson, who apparently was caught off guard by the velocity of the pass to the point where he fought the ball and lost the battle. Maybe it’s rust – who knows? But it will be interesting to see how he does moving forward.
* TE Martellus Bennett then had to deal with a high, but catchable ball from Eli Manning that had Bennett fully extended, he would have had. That pass, though also fell incomplete. Bennett did come back later in the practice with a nice back shoulder catch from Manning that was spot on and on which Bennett had no trouble coming down with the ball.
What they haven’t been able to tell yet about Bennett is how well he’ll fare as a blocker in live competition because they have yet to don pads. But Coughlin is confident.
“He’s a big strong kid though. He’s got long arms. He can get in position,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s shown me nothing to make me think otherwise. Let’s just say we got ways to go.”
* RB/FB Joe Martinek had a better showing today. The one thing I think people will appreciate about him is that he doesn’t make the same mistakes twice, which is a good thing. He’s also a very intense who when he steps out there on the field means business. Today’s highlights featured two runs, both as the single back. On the first, Martinek had nowhere to run as it looked like the left side of the offensive line didn’t get their men blocked up. On the second run, which ended practice, Martinek took the handoff, and darted around the formation and up the sideline for a nice gain. Martinek has twice now been the last man to touch the ball in practice.
* CB Prince Amukamara is starting to show some aggression in his play. He refused to let Victor Cruz bully him on an 11-on-11 pass along the near sideline, and had the drill been live, Amukamara might very well have creamed Cruz. The cornerback trotted back to the sideline to a round of high fives and ‘atta boys’ from his teammates and coaches.
* RG Chris Snee, who’s healthy again, had no trouble handling Rocky Bernard on a couple of running plays. Snee’s effort was part of an impressive push that allowed Ahmad Bradshaw enough room to pick up a nice gain,
*Good job by Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaun Rogers to apply pressure. Rogers actually collapsed the pocket while Pierre-Paul managed to get a hand on an Eli Manning pass to knock it away. He then later clogged up a lane that DJ Ware was seeking to exploit, resulting in Perry Fewell loudly voicing his delight at Rogers’ accomplishment.
*I watched DT Marvin Austin a bit today and the times I zeroed in on him, he looked like he was getting stonewalled at the point of attack. Austin does have a quick burst, and while I couldn’t quite see as clearly as I wanted, it did look on one play that Austin’s arm was hooked by an offensive lineman where on the other, he was just stopped cold in his tracks. I’ll be looking again in the coming days to see how he does.
* Good job by S Tyler Sash in making a read on an underthrown pass by David Carr intended for Brandon Collins, and diving for the pick. Sash adjusted quickly, getting himself into a position to make a play on the ball. He really showed patience on that play.
* DT Markus Kuhn managed to get some inside pressure against QB Ryan Perrilloux and his offensive line, but the quarterback got the pass away to WR Rueben Randle, who was being covered by CB Jayron Hosley. I think Kuhn might have had a sack had the play been full speed.
*WR Isaiah Stanback has had a good couple of days, catching almost everything thrown his way. Stanback looked especially good during comeback routes, where he’d quickly turn his hips and dart past a defender.
* LB Mark Herzlich continues to look VERY good, especially in coverage. He might not be the starting middle linebacker on opening day (or maybe he will be – too soon to say), but if he keeps this up, it won’t be long before he unseats veteran Chase Blackburn in that role.
“He moves, he’s moving well, he’s focused and physical. He was that last year,” Coughlin said of Herzlich. “You could never get him off the field, practice or anything else. He doesn’t appear to have any issue other than wanting to have more time on the field.”
*Another second-year linebacker who’s looked sharp so far is Greg Jones, who moved from the middle to the outside. Jones just looks more comfortable at the strong side, and has done a good job so far in diagnosing runs. He has already blown up a couple of plays in the practices thus far and I haven’t spotted him losing any of his battles in the last couple of days. This versatility can only help Jones when roster spots are handed out.
*LB Jake Muasau showed veteran-like patience in coming up to fill a gap that David Wilson was looking to exploit. Wilson tried to cut back to the outside, but wasn’t successful as there were defenders converging.
* WR David Douglas smoked S Janzen Jackson, leaving Jackson to suck wind. Douglas has a nice little hip turn that he used there to fool Jackson into thinking he was going inside when in fact he went outside. Douglas had an impressive showing in camp today.
* DE Adrian Tracy, taking advantage of Justin Trattou’s absence, managed to get a sack on David Carr when he burst into the backfield almost untouched. Meanwhile, another young defensive end hopeful, Adewale Ojomo had his way on one play against Brandon Mosley, beating him with an inside move for a sack against Perrilloux.
“Most of the things I’m working on are: decision-making, eliminating turnovers, and being more accurate. Just continuing to try to work on my skills. Making sure you don’t have any missed opportunities. That when guys are open, I’m hitting them.” – QB Eli Manning on what aspects of his game he’s trying to improve this year.
“I don’t think that it’s anything to worry about. But to get back in football shape, you gotta be playing football and getting these reps. So, when I get back out there, I might be a little breath taken. It’s nothing I can’t handle.” – WR Hakeem Nicks on his concerns about his conditioning due to his inactivity.
“It definitely let me know that I’m able to play at this level, and that I’m able to succeed and play well at this level. I think that playing in those two games was a great experience and confidence builder for me because everybody tells you that game speed is a lot faster than practice speed. Just going out there and knowing what it was like to play in a big game and on a big stage, you get confidence that builds up for the next year.” – LB Mark Herzlich on his brief stint as a starter last year before suffering a broken ankle.
“I had two good practices so far. I just got to continue what I’m doing and just keep going out there and catching passes and learning the offense.” – WR Jerrel Jernigan, who actually recorded his third solid practice today (this quote came before today’s practice.).
LBs Michael Boley and Keith Rivers will be sidelined a few days with minor hamstring issues. Spencer Paysinger moved into Boley’s weak side spot with the starters.
WR Rueben Randle was seen taking his jersey and pads off with about a half hour left to go in practice. Head coach Tom Coughlin said that Randle became winded during the practice.
CB Terrell Thomas left practice early to ice his knee as a precautionary step. I saw Thomas slip on the slick grass at the start of practice, but he didn’t take himself out until after he got the bulk of his reps in.
RB Da’Rel Scott (ankle), DE Justin Trattou (ankle) and the PUP guys – DT Chris Canty (knee), TE Travis Beckum (knee), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot) and LB Clint Sintim (knee) – remain out. Trattou was to return to New York this afternoon for an MRI on his left ankle, which he said was sprained when someone rolled up on it. Trattou was seen in a walking boot.
Wondering about your offensive and defensive lines? Wonder no more.
The starting offensive line, from left to right, is Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, David Baas, Chris Snee and David Diehl. When Beatty doesn’t go, Sean Locklear normally steps in for him. The second line, from left to right, is James Brewer, Mitch Petrus, Jim Cordle, Selvish Capers, and Locklear/Brandon Mosley. The third line is Joel Reinders, Stephen Goodin, Chris White, Mosley, and Matt McCants.
On defense, Shaun Rogers and Rocky Bernard havetaken turns fillin in for Chris Canty, with Osi Umenyiora rotating in for Tuck, at times. The second team defensive line, from left to right, is Adrian Tracy, Marvin Austin, Dwayne Hendricks, and Craig Marshall.
While I’m talking about units and positions, your punt returners today included Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle, and Jayron Hosley. The gunners included safety Steve Brown, and cornerbacks Dante Hughes, Prince Amukamara, and Michael Coe. The gunner protectors included Brandon Bing and Bruce Johnson.
Although the team has been in shorts and shells for the first three days of practice (which I found out was mandated by the new CBA), I think the offense, which started out slowly, is finally starting to catch up to the defense. Of course the real test will come when the players put the pads on, which they will be doing tomorrow for the first time. And once the pads do go on, the speed of the workouts will increase, so it will be interesting to see how they continue to progress.
One last thought. I was quite surprised to hear Coughlin say that Randle got tired. Hopefully all that happened was Randle wasn’t hydrated properly because I’d hate to think that his conditioning is an issue (which I don’t believe it is, but still, you have to wonder when your coach says you were tired if you don’t make it through a practice.)