Thursday, July 26, 2012
Breakfast links: The champs go to camp
By Dan Graziano
Good morning in the East. The defending Super Bowl champions report for training camp today in Albany, N.Y. I will be heading up there later today so I can check out their first couple of practices on Friday and Saturday. It's an exciting time of year, full of hope, promise and links.
New York Giants
The Giants arrive at camp with a chip on their shoulder. As Ralph Vacchiano writes, they know the fact that they went 9-7 and barely made the playoffs last year means they still have something to prove in spite of the glorious run that followed once they got in. Like every professional sports team, they love playing the underdog role and using people's negative opinions as motivation. But for their own sake, the Giants are eager to play the way they believe they can play, and not have to live on the edge all year like they did in 2011. That's one of their goals as they arrive in camp.
Ohm Youngmisuk says one of the players he'll be watching closely in camp is new linebacker Keith Rivers, who right now doesn't have a starting spot but is in a position to win one if he shows he can play the middle linebacker spot.
DeSean Jackson said it bothers him that the Giants won the Super Bowl. He also said, in the same interview, "Last year is the past, so I live in the future," which ... kind of skips something, right? But anyway, Jackson's Eagles blew a late lead and lost to the Giants at home last year and then beat them in the Meadowlands with Vince Young at quarterback. So he could mean any number of things when he refers to "the way we played against them." Certainly, the Eagles had their chance -- against the Giants and others -- and have only themselves to blame for failure to capitalize. I remember talking to LeSean McCoy at the Super Bowl, and he was annoyed the Giants were there. The sense is that the Eagles felt they were better than the Giants last year and were mad at themselves for not proving it. A new year offers a new chance.
McCoy, incidentally, is looking forward to an "all-business" camp with everyone's contract situations resolved ahead of time. He also says he wants to catch more passes this year.
Robert Griffin III hasn't been keeping a low profile in advance of his rookie season. Rich Campbell looks at the reason he's been such a ubiquitous corporate pitchman so far and why he's shutting down his marketing duties with the season looming.
Jason Reid doesn't think Griffin makes the Redskins a playoff team this year, but he does think the rookie quarterback represents a fresh start for the franchise in Mike Shanahan's third season as its coach.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says he's been in contact several times with Dez Bryant since the star wide receiver was arrested last week, and that he and the team support Bryant and his family. As we've discussed, anybody who thought the Cowboys were going to give up on Bryant at age 23 must have been assuming they didn't know what they were getting themselves into when they drafted him. Support he needs and support they must give him.
After he missed the offseason program while recovering from wrist surgery, the early part of training camp is about knocking off the rust for first-round pick Morris Claiborne.