Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Greetings from Giants Camp
By Dan Graziano
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
ALBANY, N.Y. -- If you've never made the four-hour drive from Bethlehem, Pa., to Albany, N.Y., in a Chevy Impala with XM Radio, I highly recommend it. Down the home stretch, I was going back and forth between "The Michael Kay Show" and a genius interview with Seth Rogen ("Pineapple Express") on one of the seven comedy stations.
I rolled onto the University at Albany campus moments before the Giants began their evening practice. I expected to see a team that was beaten down from too many days on the field, but I encountered something completely different. While the ever-scowling Tom Coughlin prowled the field, his players appeared to be enjoying themselves.
On one of the most ill-conceived fake field goals I've witnessed since attending a Big 12 school in Waco, holder Jeff Feagles rolled right and threw a Hail Mary (15 yards) soaring toward the end zone. In a moment that will take its place in Giants training camp lore, 6-foot-3, 310-pound guard Rich Seubert "leapt" to make the grab, landing gracefully on his back.
With an estimated crowd of 3,000 milling about, Seubert spiked the ball and was mobbed by teammates.
After practice I had a nice visit with head coach Tom Coughlin, but I'll save that for later. First, let's do some quick observations after one session:
- Wide receiver Plaxico Burress did his most extensive work of training camp during individual drills. He seemed energized by the fact that his wife and daughter were on the sideline.
- Second-round cornerback Terrell Thomas out of USC has been flashing throughout camp. I'm told he had a nice performance on special teams in his first outing and deflected a pass.
- If rookie Kenny Phillips doesn't earn a starting gig, something's wrong. Even in practice, you can tell that he's brought a spark to the team. And speaking of safeties, kudos to James Butler for not going down without a fight. He's read everywhere how he'll lose his starting spot, but it hasn't happened yet.
- Linebacker Gerris Wilkinson is finally practicing again, but it looks like he's way behind veteran Danny Clark in the competition for the starting role.
- Kevin Boss has faced a lot of questions about having to replace Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey. So far, he seems up to the task. On a series of plays in team drills, Eli Manning found Boss three times. The 6-foot-6, 253-pound player does a great job of catching everything away from his body. The next step is for him to become a more consistent blocker.
- Pretty intense battle going on between David Carr and Anthony Wright for backup quarterback. In the one practice I've seen, Wright was much sharper. Carr's back with a guy he trusts in quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer, but he hasn't come close to locking up the backup spot. Andre Woodson is raw, but he can certainly whip the ball into tight spots. Saw him fire an impressive ball to Michael Jennings during team drills.
- I'm about to head over to the campus for an interview with GM Jerry Reese. I'll check back in later this afternoon, but I'll be away for much of the day working on a special project. The Giants are actually off today, which is something I complained to Coughlin about. The other three coaches in this division have done a much better job planning around my schedule. Let's meet back here a little later. I actually have some Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins notes to go over with you as well.