Saturday, July 28, 2012
Saturday Giants training camp thoughts
By Dan Graziano
ALBANY, N.Y. -- At one point Saturday afternoon at New York Giants training camp, second-year wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan was running with the first-team offense. He got behind cornerback Corey Webster, but not by much, and quarterback Eli Manning hit him with an absolutely pinpoint deep pass in a spot where only Jernigan could catch it and Webster had no chance to make a play. It looked like Manning's long fourth-quarter pass to Mario Manningham in the Super Bowl, except on the opposite side of the field and without the toe-tapping sideline element by the receiver.
Rueben Randle is one of several receivers in the mix to be the Giants' No. 3 WR.
The realization this sparked in me is that, as guys like Jernigan, Domenik Hixon and Rueben Randle fight it out to be Manningham's replacement as the Giants' No. 3 wide receiver, whoever's working with Manning on a given day should look a lot better than whoever's getting their reps with David Carr or Ryan Perriloux at quarterback. Nothing against those two guys, but Manning's one of the baddest dudes in the league. He makes throws others can't make. He makes his receivers look good.
Perhaps for that reason, the Giants are rotating which receivers get the first-team reps. With Hakeem Nicks out for a few more weeks with a foot injury, Hixon and Jernigan got most of the first-team reps opposite Victor Cruz on Saturday. And there were plays on which both Hixon and Jernigan were in the game with Manning. I don't recall seeing Randle with the first team, but it's possible he got some action there, too. And if they're going to give everybody the same chance, I think he ought to going forward.
Some other things I saw/thought/learned on the second day of Giants training camp:
Rookie running back David Wilson should sleep well Saturday night. With Da'Rel Scott sitting out practice, Wilson got the bulk of the reps with the second-team and the third-team offense, and they used him a lot. They handed off to him. They threw the ball to him out of the backfield. He ran and ran and ran. And yeah, he looks fast, but remember -- there's no hitting yet, so every running back is getting through the line and bursting upfield looking good. We'll see what happens once the pads go on, but it's obvious they want to get Wilson up to speed quickly.
Wide receiver Ramses Barden is also in that No. 3 wide receiver mix, and he looked good in practice. They used him on a couple of underneath routes, which is a smart way to use him, since his size is his advantage and he can use it to shield the ball from defenders in traffic. Remember, Barden usually has been hurt and not even on the field this time of year, so he's ahead of where he normally is in training camp.
With Chris Canty out, Shaun Rogers is getting a lot of first-team reps at defensive tackle. This is what defensive end Justin Tuck told me about Rogers today: "He seems to be as focused and hungry for a ring as I've seen anybody. He's in his 12th year, and he's told me personally, 'That's why I came here, because I want to taste what that feels like.' So hopefully his mind stays the way it is, because that guy's an absolute monster to handle. I'm already thinking about packages that will put him over that nose, and if you single him up, he's going to destroy your center, and if you double him, you've got me, Osi and JPP possibly singled up. So there's a lot of matchup problems we can create." Now, I don't know if Rogers, who doesn't have the greatest reputation, will make the team, but with Canty out he has an opportunity and he's impressing some people so far.
Jason Pierre-Paul went down with some kind of leg injury at one point and limped off the field but only missed a couple of plays. Could have just been a cramp.
Cornerback Terrell Thomas, who missed the 2011 season after tearing his ACL, had 2,400 "T2" T-shirts made up and distributed them to fans at practice. "Because they always kept me a part of it last year, regardless of a win or a loss," Thomas said of his fans. "You kind of get lost in the shuffle when you get hurt, and some fans were just there week in and week out supporting me. My mom always taught me to be thankful and to give back, so this is just a small gesture." Nice one, though.
I am heading home now to spend a night there before heading out again Sunday night for Virginia. I will be at Redskins camp Monday and Tuesday, then at Eagles camp Wednesday and Thursday. I'm going to Oxnard for Cowboys camp Aug. 6-7. Didn't run into any of you up here, and I'm sorry about that. But if you see me at any of those other stops, please feel free to say hi.