Thunder storms rolled through New Jersey overnight driving out the excessive heat and humidity, and providing a more temperate backdrop for today’s practice. No cool down period was necessary. Tom Coughlin may have needed to cool down, however, when he saw that Odell Beckham again worked only in individual drills while he continues to nurse his “tweaked” hamstring. Jameel McClain was a full participant in practice again today.
Giant players reacted to news out of Baltimore that former teammate Aaron Ross suffered a season ending Achilles tendon tear while taking part in the Raven’s conditioning test and will miss the entire 2014 season. The 32 year old Ross signed with Baltimore as a free agent after missing most of the 2013 season with a back injury and is likely nearing the end of his NFL career.
Prior to practice, several players met with the media. Mathais Kiwanuka confirmed that the offense has not huddled yet during practice. He also said he is done playing linebacker and that the current group “has it down.” In speaking of the 2014 free agent additions, Kiwanuka said, “99% are workers” and that the fit the Giants. No mention was made of the outlying 1%.
Tight End Adrien Robinson said he learned Ben McAdoo’s offense by watching Green Bay Packers game film. Robinson also said “The time is now” regarding his opportunity to make an on the field impact. He “Knows he can produce” and that “There is a reason he is still around.” Strong words. Hopefully, he will back them up once the preseason games start.
Jason Pierre-Paul referred to last season as “lost,” and is not lacking confidence going into 2014, stating, “I’m awesome.” Playing for a new contract this season, Pierre-Paul declared himself in tip-tip shape and 110% physically. He admits that his contract situation weights on his mind, especially in the light of Justin Tuck’s departure, and that he hopes to be a Giant next season. Saying that he came back too soon last year, Pierre-Paul cautioned Jon Beason not to return before he’s ready.
Rueben Randle attributes the majority of interceptions resulting from passes intended for him last season to miscommunications between he and Eli Manning. He further stated that the new offense should mitigate the issue as it emphasizes separation, something he will need to use his size to achieve.
The No Huddle will be a big part of the new offense. Rashad Jennings confirmed that the entire system can be run out of the No Huddle package. Jennings compared the No Huddle to a ceiling fan, saying, “The more you stare at it, the more it slows down.” Jerrell Jernigan added that the team’s goal is to run 70 plays per game.
Last season, the Giants averaged 62 plays per game.
The team released an unofficial depth chart today. The tight end position was the most perplexing as it lists Larry Donnell as the starter and Robinson fifth. The full order: Donnell, Daniel Fells, Xavier Grimble, Kellen Davis, and Robinson. Perhaps it’s to serve as motivation for Robinson and Davis, but it is not consistent with practice where both these players are getting consistent reps with the first team. When two tight end or Jumbo sets are used, the pairings have been, in order, Davis-Fells, Robinson-Donnell, and Robinson-Grimble.
Brandon Mosley is listed at the starting right guard, with John Jerry, and newcomer John Sullen backing him up. Rookie Weston Richburg, who has seen time at the position, is listed only as second team center behind J.D. Walton.
Peyton Hillis and Kendall Gaskins, a second year player out of Richmond University, are both listed above rookie Andre Williams at running back. This does also not correspond with what’s been taking place on the practice field, where Williams most frequently runs with the third team and receives some first team reps.
While Henry Hynoski is listed on the top of the fullback depth chart, he and John Conner have been splitting time at the position. It’s too soon to tell who has the edge in this training camp battle. The team will only keep one player at the position.
Other interesting notes on the depth chart: Rookie Devon Kennard is listed as the starting SAM linebacker. Quintin Demps and Trindon Holliday are the primary kick returners. David Wilson is third. Holliday is the primary punt returner.
After a rough start to camp, Manning looked sharp today, showing both zip and accuracy on his passes. Ryan Nassib continues to struggle and appears to be having difficulty picking up the new offense.
Jernigan looks to have taken a leap forward going into his fourth season after breaking out last December. He is running crisp routes and made a great move on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie before hauling in a pass from Manning for a touchdown.
James Brewer is struggling and has had multiple penalties. Coughlin is notable impatient with mental errors and is surely taking notes.
Damontre Moore has been quietly having a productive first week, registering would be sacks in each of the first three days of camp. A strong pass rush presence from Moore will help offset the loss of Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph.
Jonathan Hankins has not been getting reps with the first team. Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson remain the starting defensive tackles.
The team ended practice early to go inside and do some “recovery stretching” and dynamic “track style” drills. They are designed to aid the team in recovery, allow them to practice more efficiently, and be more dangerous on the field. The loss of practice time seems to irk Coughlin, but he is embracing the new concepts that are credited with some of the success that the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles have enjoyed recently. These exercises are a result of new technology attached to the players during practice and should cut down on soft tissue injuries.
It’s been announced that Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Jim Kelly will handle the coin toss responsibilities at the Hall of Fame game between the Giants and the Buffalo Bills.
The team will practice tomorrow, wearing shoulder pads for the first time, from 1:20 PM to 3:30 PM. Following a off day on Saturday, a fully padded practice will take place on Sunday, again from 1:20 PM to 3:30 PM.