NFC East: beat pascoe

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin had been working his New York Giants out in the evenings here at the Meadowlands, with practices running from 6 pm to 8 pm ET throughout the first week and a half of training camp. But Coughlin changed it up Wednesday moving practice up to 1:30 pm because, he said, it hadn't been hot enough for those evening sessions.

"Football has to train in the heat, so we'll train in the heat," Coughlin said.

Thing is, the weather here is very pleasant today. There was some cloud cover throughout practice, and it wasn't very hot at all. Perhaps Coughlin will look into moving camp down to Texas if this continues.

Anyway, Osi Umenyiora hopped off his exercise bike and did some drills, "bad knee" and all. The Star-Ledger's photographer snapped a picture of Umenyiora doing a pass-rush drill on his own while his teammates practiced, and Ohm says Umenyiora will see a specialist on Thursday to have his knee checked out. Still not convinced the Giants are out of the woods on this one yet, as there's still lingering suspicion that Umenyiora is using the knee as an excuse not to practice while he sits out in protest of his contract situation. But the fact that he actually got on a field and did some footballish activity might indicate at least that he's thinking about practicing soon. We will, of course, continue to monitor.

The Giants announced that tight end Travis Beckum missed practice with a hamstring injury, which is really crummy news because it's the latest in a long string of evidence that some Wiccan cult has cast a spell on the Giants' tight end position similar to what they did to Pam the vampire in "True Blood." First, Kevin Boss left to sign with the Raiders. Then, Ben Patrick retired on them. Now, Beckum, their best receiving option at tight end, is out with a hamstring. If I were Coughlin, I wouldn't let Bear Pascoe out of my sight.

As for practice observations, Darius Reynaud had a great day at receiver, where there's obviously opportunity. Eli Manning seemed to be looking for a variety of different targets today, whereas Monday night I felt like he was always looking for Hakeem Nicks. Victor Cruz caught a touchdown pass from Sage Rosenfels and got tackled in the end zone after the catch by cornerback Michael Coe, who earned a stern talking-to from Coughlin after the play. Pascoe also dropped a touchdown pass he should have caught.

The stars of the day in team drills and one-on-ones were the starting secondary, especially safety Kenny Phillips and cornerback Corey Webster. And rookie defensive tackle Marvin Austin practiced after missing Monday with a hip injury. So the defensive line depth is looking better while the starting secondary looks strong.

More in the coming days from here, including Manning's thoughts on the 25 interceptions he threw last year and some thoughts from the principals in the daily battles Will Beatty and Jason Pierre-Paul have been fighting in the trenches as each prepares for a larger role in 2011.

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