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    "Prince Amukamara is like a glorified rookie at this point,
    given how much time he missed with a broken foot after what was already an
    abbreviated 2011 offseason.

    “Prince is making progress, yeah, he is,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin
    said of last year’s first-round pick. “They’re letting him do up to a point and
    he’s out there competing. It’s a whole different year for him, really, since he
    has had that experience and a lot of that is behind him. He’s doing a good job.
    Hopefully, he’s going to continue.”

    I mentioned in Tuesday’s
    practice report
    and previously here Amukamara has to work on playing
    aggressively and with an edge. Coughlin expects that part of the game to come in

    “That will happen,” Coughlin said, “If he gets himself in position where he;s
    comfortable and knows what he’s doing, we have seen that other aspect – the
    physical part of the play. You saw it, too. As a collegiate player, that's what
    he was. He was a physical player.”

    * * * *

    And now, the rundown of today’s practice, which included a bunch of
    interceptions left on the field by Amukamara’s buddies in the defensive
    backfield. But first, the injuries:

    --Sitting out: TE Travis Beckum (knee), CB Corey
    (hamstring), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot), DT
    Chris Canty (knee), LB Clint Sintim (knee), DT
    Shaun Rogers (elbow) and DT Markus Kuhn (work

    --CB Terrell Thomas (knee) sat out all of today’s session
    after doing limited work for much of the spring. We’ll see if he’s back on
    Thursday. Similarly, it appeared RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) was
    held out today as well.

    --DE Osi Umenyiora was back in action after sitting out on
    Tuesday in order to pace himself and manage unspecified “soreness,” as Coughlin
    termed it. Umenyiora ran with the second team but was also a part of the
    first-string "NASCAR" (four defensive end) package.

    --No team reps for S Kenny Phillips (knee) and LT
    Will Beatty (back).

    --LB/DE Adrian Tracy left practice briefly after appearing
    to knock or jam his left elbow. (He missed all of the 2010 season with a right
    elbow injury.) Tracy, who impressed LBs coach Jim Herrmann with
    a nice pass-rush move early in practice, got the elbow wrapped and returned to
    show good speed in chasing WR Jerrel Jernigan on a crossing
    route. He appeared to be fine.

    * * * *

    To the action we go:

    --Okay, so I mentioned the dropped interceptions. All of them were on passes
    by QB Eli Manning. The guilty parties were: rookie CB
    Jayron Hosley, S Stevie Brown and S
    Antrel Rolle. Hosley jumped a route at the start of 7-on-7
    passing drills but couldn’t bring it in. The entire defense groaned and safeties
    coach David Merritt told Hosley, “You owe us one!” Brown’s
    dropped pick came right after that. Rolle’s would’ve been a tough one but
    probably should’ve been caught. He had slipped underneath a slant route from
    Manning to WR Domenik Hixon in the end zone.

    --CB Justin Tryon had seen enough of the drops. While his
    fellow DBs were missing out on the easy interceptions, he grabbed a tough one by
    getting position on WR Rueben Randle as the rookie tried to run
    a hook route. Tryon won that little battle and held on to the ball from QB
    David Carr for a nice interception.

    --Just so you don’t panic about the camp Manning has had so far (eye roll),
    I’ll let you know he had a terrific touch pass to TE Bear
    on a route up the right seam over LB Jacquian
    . Manning also got LB Michael Boley to jump
    offside with the hard count to start the play.

    --Speaking of Pascoe, he said this today: "My plan is right now to work hard
    and make our team better and hopefully kind of take over that No. 1 spot." We'll
    see if he can do it.

    --WR Ramses Barden put on a show with a few sliding grabs
    from Carr in the 2-minute drill to end practice. One catch required excellent
    concentration because LB Keith Rivers was breaking underneath
    him in an attempt to get a hand on the pass. The other one came with CB
    Bruce Johnson on his back. The one negative for Barden today
    came early in practice when he got past Tryon on a go route and had very good
    separation, only to have to work back to an underthrown ball from Manning. He
    went up to try getting the ball with a one-handed attempt that didn’t seem to
    please the coaches.

    --The defensive coaches, particularly Merritt, are really working hard to
    coach up undrafted free agent S Jojo Nicolas, whom Merritt
    praised when he was able to track TE Ryan Purvis out of a bunch
    formation. Nicolas came down and fought through traffic to get to Purvis when he
    recognized the out route. Later, Nicolas was slow to react while playing the
    deep middle. He could’ve come crashing down to step in front of the receiver
    running the out cut and make a play on the ball. “That should be a pick, Jojo!”
    defensive coordinator Perry Fewell yelled. And finally, it was
    Hixon yelling at Nicolas during team drills when he said, “Watch yourself! Pick
    (me) up!” after he set up to lay out Nicolas on a crack-back block. Hixon and
    Merritt then had a playful exchange of gestures seemingly about whether it
    would’ve been a clipping penalty or a clean hit by Hixon. Whatever the case,
    Nicolas’ head would’ve been ringing. But thanks to the no-contact rules of
    practice, he stayed in there and did a good job of communicating with CB
    Dante Hughes to cover Randle on a hook route, forcing QB
    Ryan Perrilloux to throw wide and incomplete of Randle.

    --You can tell former Rutgers CB Brandon Bing trusts his
    speed. (And he does have plenty of it, by the way.) He wasn’t giving Randle much
    of a cushion, nor was he backpedaling much, as Randle ran the “stem” of his
    route toward him. Obviously, he felt he could turn and sprint to cover any deep
    stuff. When Randle broke on an in cut, Bing was right on his hip, forcing the
    quarterback to look elsewhere.

    --One of the big issues with Perrilloux the coaches have been trying to fix
    and that we’ve written about at length is his ability to see the whole field. On
    Tuesday, he missed Randle running free through the secondary. Today, he had WR
    David Douglas breaking past the DB on a go route but instead
    chose to throw for Purvis in traffic on a post up the middle. The ball fell
    incomplete. However, Perrilloux did lay one perfectly for WR Dan
    on a sail route near the sideline. Hughes was underneath
    DePalma, who ran a nice route, and clearly DePalma thought Hughes was going to
    get a hand on it because the ball hit him right in the face mask. “That was a
    great pass,” a shocked DePalma said as he jogged back to the huddle.

    --Jernigan showed good hands on a quick out from Carr. He had to kind of
    reach back and turn his body to make the catch. Jernigan had a few grabs late in
    practice, too.

    --Undrafted WR Brandon Collins ran a pair of stop-and-go
    routes very well. One was up the middle of the field and didn’t result in a
    completion because the ball from Perrilloux was behind him (tough to see if LB
    Chase Blackburn got a hand on it, but he was at least close)
    and the other was up the left sideline forcing CB Janzen
    to grab him after he bit on the stutter step. Good shiftiness
    by Collins on both of those routes. Plus, he added some more on a post-corner
    route pas Hughes in red-zone drills to grab a touchdown when he barely got both
    feet in. “Put your hands up!” Bradshaw yelled to the rookie. Added Hixon, “Call
    it now!” Collins seemed to nod at their advice but decided to humbly jog back to
    the huddle. Smart move, rook.

    --I can’t recall if I mentioned or not that Jackson is playing corner despite
    arriving as a safety. At 6-1, 190 pounds, he’s much better suited at this point
    to play corner.

    --I got an email last night about the lack of updates on DT Marvin
    , to which I told the gentleman what I’ve written here a bunch:
    there’s really no point in trying to assess the play of the interior lineman
    because there’s no contact and the players aren’t wearing pads. We’ll wait until
    like drills and games for that. That being said, DT Martin Parker
    got off the ball really quickly on one play to get past OT Joel
    and into the backfield to make a stop on RB Da’Rel
    . That play reminded me of how Parker did a bunch of that last
    summer in camp before injuring his foot and being knocked out for the season.
    It’s a small sample size, but Parker has flashed. He’s a guy I’m interested to
    see in camp and in the preseason.

    --Rookie RB David Wilson continues to look as quick and
    shifty as advertised. He's going to make some people miss.

    --And finally, I recall writing about how LB Mark Herzlich’s
    pass coverage needed to improve after the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last
    season. (To his credit, he
    was the one who said he struggled in that department that night
    .) I’ve been
    watching Herzlich in coverage from time to time this spring, and something tells
    me we’ll be writing about how solid he is in pass coverage because he’s been
    looking extremely sharp in that department this offseason."



    "In his five seasons as Giants general manager, Jerry Reese has grown
    accustomed to the scrutiny and second guesses his decision-making attracts. His
    response is usually the same: it's all part of a plan.

    He has two Super Bowl rings to show that the plan has worked. But his latest
    decision to waive Jake Ballard backfired when the
    Patriots unexpectedly claimed the tight end yesterday
    and he admitted it
    this morning in an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

    "Yes we thought that he would clear," Reese told Bob Papa and Amani Toomer.
    "It's rare but it’s not the first time something like that has happened. It's
    disappointing for us that we didn't get him back. He did a tremendous job for us
    and we hope he gets well soon and that he can finish his career, whether it’s
    with New England or whatever team he ends up with. It was disappointing, but
    that does happen, every blue moon."

    Reese wouldn't explain why the course of action was taken – he said an
    explanation would be "pointless" – but it's obvious that the Giants were banking
    on Ballard sneaking through waivers, which would then allow them to stash him
    away for the 2012 season and him to return for them in 2013. Instead, the
    Patriots – the final team in the waiver order – swooped in and foiled the plan.

    Asked if there was any bad blood between the Giants and Patriots – whom the
    Giants have beaten in the Super Bowl two of the last five seasons and are known
    for their gamesmanship – Reese adamantly denied it.

    "No, absolutely not," he said. "There is no reason for us to have hard
    feelings about it. When you put a guy on the wire, he's free game for anybody.
    There are no hard feelings for us. They think that they can salvage the
    situation, so we will see what happens, but again, we only wish the best for


    "Nobody goes into a Weight Watchers meeting saying they’re thankful to have
    put on 20 pounds.

    Luckily for Travis Beckum, he was making such a statement in the Giants’ locker room, not a church

    “It’s really hard for me to gain weight, so I’m actually really excited about
    this,” the fourth-year tight end said today during a break at the team’s
    minicamp. “I’m going to take what I can get.”

    Beckum, who had only one impact play last season in the form of a 67-yard
    touchdown against the Green Bay Packers, is up to 242 pounds, his highest figure
    since before his rookie season and a weight he reached recently by chowing down
    on “candy, fried foods, I always go out to eat, so whether it be a double
    cheeseburger with (Big) Mac sauce from McDonald’s … Sometimes it’s not
    necessarily the best of foods, but it’s one of those things. Your body just
    feels so much better.”

    I had one person ask me on Twitter if it was a good idea for a player coming
    back from a torn ACL to be adding 20 pounds. (Beckum was 222 post-surgery, 232
    at the end of last season) I have no clue for sure, but I would think he did all
    of this in consultation with the training staff.

    Beckum, as a “move” tight end who also lines up in the slot, is obviously
    trying to improve upon his ability to move some defenders around and also to
    create space in traffic. And he’s pleased with the weight gain, which is kind of
    coincidental seeing as how there was some recent grumbling about fellow tight
    end Martellus
    Bennett adding what position coach Mike Pope felt was too much weight

    “Yeah, he’s a big boy,” Beckum said of Bennett. “Martellus has a lot more
    room in his body that he can play around with that weight. He’s like 6-12
    (actually 6-6).”

    Anyway, back to Beckum and his knee, which he said feels fine today after on
    Tuesday running on it for the first time since his surgery.

    “I kind of did some type of jogging in place today and what I felt (Tuesday)
    I don’t feel today so I guess that’s a good sign,” he said, adding this when
    asked if he felt some discomfort while running: “Not necessarily discomfort,
    just a feeling I hadn’t felt in a while. Kind of weird just because of the whole
    patella situation*. I kind of felt something on my patella, right where my scar

    “Today I didn’t feel that, so I’m assuming it’s just breaking up of the scar
    tissue but my knee feels great.”

    *The “patella situation” to which he’s referring is the piece of the
    tendon they took to make the graft for the new ACL.

    Beckum isn’t sure when he’ll run again. He’ll continue his rehab over the
    coming weeks but wants to make sure he doesn’t do too much. He remains hopeful
    he’ll be ready for opening day, though there’s still a chance he’ll remain on
    the physically-unable-to-perform list through the first six weeks-plus.

    Obviously, that’s a better prognosis than the one facing Jake Ballard.

    “I figured it was for a roster spot,” Beckum said of the
    decision to waive Ballard
    . “But we have 90 now. (That’s) plenty. That’s just
    the nature of the business. A lot of them aren’t going to make the team. I’m
    assuming they did it for a roster spot.”

    They did. But they lost
    Ballard in the process

    “We’re going to be fine because Coach Pope does a great job of telling us
    what we need to do and what we don’t need to do,” Beckum said. “And Coach
    (Kevin) Gilbride does a good job of implementing the tight end in this offense.
    Obviously, it’s a big loss with Jake. He wasn’t going to be able to play this
    year but that’s just the nature of the business.”


    "1 pm: UPDATED with Bill Belichick reaction

    Tom Coughlin was orchestrating practice yesterday when he was notified that
    tight end Jake Ballard had been claimed by the Patriots, the team that Ballard
    torched in Week 9 of the regular season and against whom he tore his ACL in the
    Giants' Super Bowl XLVI victory.

    The surprise won't have an effect on the Giants' 2012 campaign; they were
    already going under the assumption that Ballard was going to miss the entire
    season due to the ACL injury. But he was in the team's long-term plans and the
    Giants' decision to waive Ballard was simply a formality in their attempt to
    stash him away for 2012 in anticipation of his return in 2013.

    in stepped Bill Belichick and the Patriots to claim Ballard
    and ruin the

    "Discouraged is a minor description," Coughlin said this morning. "I'm very
    disappointed. I don't have a lot to say about that one. It's just the fact that
    we're disappointed, very disappointed."

    Coughlin admitted the decision to waive Ballard was "a calculated risk," but
    it is clear that the Giants expected Ballard to pass through waivers without a
    claim. And that it's the New England Patriots, the team the Giants has beaten in
    the Super Bowl two of the last five seasons and is known for its gamesmanship,
    adds to the intrigue.

    Coughlin, however, said it was "the nature of the business" and wouldn't
    accuse the Patriots of a lack of professional courtesy when asked.

    "Whatever the options are based on what the rules are, based on the
    procedural circumstance, all is fair," Coughlin said.

    Belichick was asked by reporters today whether what the Patriots did was

    "First of all, there aren't any unwrittens. You can't negotiate a contract,
    release him, and then re-negotiate another contract with him that was already
    done in advance," Belichick
    said according to
    . "I'm sure the Giants weren't doing that.
    So the player is on waivers, he's on waivers -- ours or anybody else's. I don't
    know what unwrittens you're talking about.

    "Any time you put a player on waivers, you know there are 31 teams out there
    that can take him if they want him. We all know that. There is no secrets about

    Asked why the Giants simply didn't keep him on the roster and avoiding taking
    the chance of losing him, Coughlin wouldn't go into specifics.

    "Don’t ask me those questions," he said. "I don’t have the answers for you
    there. We are all disappointed, that’s all."

    Offensive lineman Jim Cordle was Ballard's teammate for six years dating back
    to their time together at Ohio State and when center David Baas told him the
    news as he was heading off the field after practice yesterday Cordle didn't
    believe him.

    Sure enough, when he looked back at Ballard he saw "a sad look on his face."
    Cordle said he had talked with Ballard about the possibility of a team claiming
    him, but he was still "shocked" by the news.

    "You hope he's not being used in spite of the Giants or whatever," Cordle
    said. "Obviously here he fits into the offense. He's a tight end that can run
    block, play-action pass, run down the field and catch some big passes. Hopefully
    he's utilized in New England to his ability."


    "Chris Canty had his most productive year as a Giant this past season and it
    was arguably the best of his career.

    So it should be deemed even more impressive now that he’s revealed he was
    managing a knee injury from about mid-November on.

    “Yeah, well the last third of the regular season and playoffs, I was probably
    operating at 80 percent because of what I was dealing with pain-wise and
    managing it,” the Giants’ defensive
    tackle, who underwent surgery in February, said today before the second practice
    of minicamp. “But I’ll be excited to be healthy and back out there. Anytime you
    have an injury, you’re excited just to get healthy.”

    Canty remains out of action, though he said he’s on track to return for
    training camp next month. And in his opinion, the fact he’s still sidelined
    should be enough to put to rest the
    notion he was faking an injury
    when he went down during a sustained drive by
    the Green Bay Packers late in the Divisional Round playoff victory in

    The Packers’ fans got on Canty that day, especially given Deon
    Grant and Jacquian Williams had taken a dive
    earlier in the season. And
    during the Super Bowl XLVI pregame show, guest analyst Aaron Rodgers said he
    could hear from the conversations on the field some
    Giants players were faking injuries

    Rodgers didn’t mention anyone by name, but it was pretty clear he meant
    Canty. But four months later, Canty is sidelined.

    “Yeah, exactly,” he said with a laugh before turning serious. “So I don’t
    really have a response to him being accusatory or anything like that. It’s
    unfortunate a fellow player would think that about another player and about
    injuries. You try to have something called professional courtesy. You don’t want
    to accuse somebody of something (when) you don’t understand the full

    “But you should (understand). That’s not excuse. He should understand
    first-hand what NFL players go through and he should be sympathetic toward that.
    And I’m disappointed he made that comment.”

    Canty didn’t get into the specifics of his surgery. When asked if it was
    merely a scope, he said team physician Russ Warren “took care of a few other
    things in there,” so it’s evident the procedure was a bit more involved.

    Canty, who had three of his four regular-season sacks in the final four games
    (including the
    big safety against the Jets
    ), was also asked if he had to take shots and
    painkillers before games.

    “It was interesting, it was interesting,” Canty said. “They created some kind
    of something to get me through. We got me through and we got the ring.”

    Something else created for Canty a few years ago was his facemask with the
    increased number of bars to prevent offensive linemen from getting their fingers
    in there. Justin
    Tuck wore a similar facemask last season
    and got plenty of attention for

    Now, Tuck has
    a new one
    with even more bars on it. Canty smiled as he told a few reporters
    he’s begun to design one to trump Tuck's new one as well and vowed to soon
    “unveil Maximus,” which apparently is his name for his new invention.

    “The innovator and the originator,” Canty said of himself. “There will not be
    any duplicators.”


    "Will Beatty went from doing practically no physical activity
    following surgery
    to repair a detached retina
    last year to partaking in what he called
    “Olympic drills” at the start of the Giants’ offseason workouts.

    Beatty’s back quickly told him power cleans and such weren’t a good idea.

    “Once you have a history of back injuries, you want to stay away from certain
    drills,” the Giants’ left tackle said today before the first practice of
    minicamp. “I learned the hard way, but I did learn.”

    The lesson continues for Beatty, who sat out the entire OTA program and
    remains limited during this week’s minicamp. While he’s doing some drills,
    Beatty is not participating in the team portion of practice as he tries to get
    his back to quiet down.

    “I had so much time off I was actually trying to get myself in shape and
    doing more than I should’ve done,” Beatty said, adding: “Last year, (the back)
    was really bothering me but it never took me out of anything. I was having
    tightness and things like that. But this is the first time I missed OTAs because
    of the back.”

    The good news is his eye continues to not be an issue for him.

    “They’re giving me a nice little shield,” he said. “But other than that, it’s
    pretty much, ‘You’re good to go, just don’t get poked in the eye.’”

    * * * *

    I have to admit my practice report might’ve been a bit affected by the
    Jake Ballard news
    , which hit with about 15 minutes to go in the session. At
    that point, it was a scramble to get some information on that situation while
    also trying to keep my eyes on the field.

    That being said, I’ll give you the rundown as best I can.

    First, the injuries:

    --DE Osi Umenyiora did not practice today. The
    sort-of-official word is he doesn’t have an injury but is rather trying to pace
    himself so he doesn’t soon come up with one, if you catch my drift.

    --CB Corey Webster has a hamstring injury. That’s why he’s
    been sidelined during OTAs and again this week.

    --These guys sat out: S Tyler Sash (hamstring), TE
    Travis Beckum (knee), LB Clint Sintim (knee),
    DT Shaun Rogers (elbow), DT Markus Kuhn (work
    visa), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot) and DT Chris

    --Beatty, S Kenny Phillips (knee), CB Terrell
    (knee) and DT Linval Joseph (ankle) were among
    those who did individuals but sat out team drills.

    * * * *

    Now to the action:

    --WR Rueben Randle looked really good out there today. And
    there would be gushing reports about him had QB Ryan Perrilloux
    spotted him running free up the right side through a confused secondary for what
    should’ve been an easy deep completion. Undrafted S Jojo
    followed a receiver into the flat along with another defender
    and seemed to react as if the blown coverage was on him. Whoever was to blame,
    it was ugly. Nicolas, who otherwise seems to have a pretty good grasp of things
    back there, would recover to provide help over top of CB Dante
    on a deep ball from QB Eli Manning to WR
    Victor Cruz that fell incomplete.

    --Back to Randle. He ran a smooth slant route to make a grab underneath
    Nicolas on a dart from Perrilloux and beat CB Prince Amukamara
    for catch on an in cut. He added a well-run crosser in front of Hughes. If you
    didn’t know any better, you’d think Randle was an experienced veteran out there

    --I still believe Amukamara will have to work on his toughness and
    aggressiveness, but the skills are there. You should’ve seen how quick he was to
    plant and close on a ball TE Bear Pascoe caught up the seam
    (nice touch by Manning on that one).

    --LB Michael Boley picked off Manning’s second pass of team
    drills (I had tweeted it was his first but I forgot about a short stop to WR
    Domenik Hixon he had thrown) when he played perfect coverage
    under a sail route by Cruz.

    --Solid session for rookie CB Jayron Hosley. He was as tight
    as he could’ve been to WR Isaiah Stanback on a comeback near
    the sideline. It was just a perfect ball by QB David Carr to
    slip that one in there. Later, in 7-on-7 passing drills, Hosley impressed his
    teammates by slapping the ball out of Hixon’s hands for a pass defensed.

    --Hixon lost that little battle with Hosley but showed he’d learned his
    lesson when he caught another pass away from his body to keep it away from the
    swipes of S Janzen Jackson.

    --Come on now, you can’t fool LB Chase Blackburn on that
    little counter pitch play. He was all over it.

    --Mixed results for WR Jerrel Jernigan today. We’ll start
    with the bad and work our way up. He looked indecisive on a deep route as to
    which side of CB Justin Tryon he should’ve taken. While he was
    trying to make up his mind, Manning chucked it to the outside. At that point,
    Jernigan broke inside and the ball fell incomplete. Later, he had a drop on a
    comeback. But toward the end of practice, Jernigan frustrated Boley with a grab
    right in front of the veteran.

    --Speaking of tough grabs, add another one to WR Ramses
    resume. He made the catch while two defenders (Jackson and S
    Will Hill) were colliding with one another and him. Again,
    there are parts of his game Barden needs to improve, but catches in traffic is
    an area of strength for him. Also, Barden was open on a sail route across the
    field from Cruz when Manning was picked by Boley.

    --I recently mentioned S Stevie Brown as being on top of his
    assignments in coverage during OTAs. He’s still on point in that department so
    far in minicamp.

    --LB Keith Rivers showed good speed covering TE
    Adrien Robinson on a crossing route in man coverage. Robinson
    made the catch, but Rivers would’ve been able to keep it to a short gain in a
    live game. That was a good play considering Robinson seemed to have good early
    position when he got into his route.

    --Safeties coach David Merritt was all kinds of ecstatic
    with a play Hill made to break up a short hook from Perrilloux to WR
    Brandon Collins over the middle. Hill was playing down low and
    waited as Collins found what appeared to be a soft spot inside of him. I’m not
    sure if Hill baited Perrilloux into throwing that ball, but that might’ve been
    what occurred because he waited until Perrilloux drew the ball back to break on
    the route. Either way, good reactions and instincts for Hill there.

    --I mentioned earlier WR Dan DePalma (hip) said he’d take
    some snaps in today and he did. He had a few catches in team drills, one of
    which was a tough grab with the much bigger LB Mathias Kiwanuka
    trying to knock it out of his hands. I heard some palm on flesh there, so in
    addition to being a difficult catch, I’ll bet that one hurt.

    --And finally, a guy who seems to always make a grab late in practice is TE
    Ryan Purvis. He had a reception on a good ball up the seam from


    "The Giants' plan for Jake Ballard was simple: knowing his chances of playing
    in 2012 were slim to none due to microfracture knee surgery in April, they
    waived him believing he would not get claimed and would eventually end up on
    their injured reserve list for the 2012 season. He'd then return for the 2013

    Today, the plan blew up in their faces.

    The Patriots, against whom Ballard suffered the torn ACL in Super Bowl XLVI
    that has him sidelined, claimed the tight end today before the 4 p.m. deadline,
    according to his agent Blake Baratz.

    "As I stated yesterday a "smart" football organization might claim
    @NYG_J_Ballard85 (Ballard) while he's hurt to own his rights. He's now a
    Patriot!" Baratz

    The 24-year-old Ballard walked into the Giants fieldhouse at 4:02 p.m. and
    remained in the facility for the remaining hour of practice evidently to say
    goodbye to teammates, coaches and the training staff.

    It's a calculated risk for the Patriots because Ballard may not return to his
    prior form and is due $540,000 in 2012. But he will become an exclusive rights
    free agent in 2013, which means that if the Patriots believe his recovery went
    well they would only need to offer him a three-year deal at the veteran's
    minimum salary and he would have no choice but to sign it.

    After appearing in just one game his rookie season in 2010, Ballard broke
    through last season in place of the departed Kevin Boss. He registered 38
    receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winning score
    against the Patriots in Week 9. He had two catches for 10 yards against the
    Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI before tearing his ACL."



    "Tom Coughlin was on
    the practice field on Tuesday when he saw Jake Ballard walk
    through the doors for the final time. By then, he already had the news that the
    tight end had been claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots.

    And he clearly wasn't pleased.

    The Giants coach was clearly angry at losing Ballard when he spoke to the
    press before practice on Wednesday. It wasn't clear whether he was angry at the
    Patriots for claiming him, at his general manager for exposing Ballard to
    waivers, or just at the situation in general. But it was clear he was angry at

    Asked if he was "discouraged" by losing Ballard, Coughlin said "Discouraged
    is a minor description."

    "Very disappointed," he said. "I don't have a lot to say about that. Just the
    fact that we're disappointed. Very disappointed."

    The Patriots' claim of Ballard was a surprise, considering the second-year
    tight end was coming off major surgery on his knee. He tore his ACL in the Super
    Bowl (against the Patriots) and needed surgery to repair that and a simultaneous
    microfracture procedure. He is not expected to play at all until 2013.

    Given that, the Giants assumed they could sneak him through waivers,
    according to a team source, and add him to their Physically Unable to
    Perform/Reserve list. That would allow them to carry Ballard without having him
    count against their 90-man roster, and they would retain his rights through next
    March when he would be an "exclusive rights" free agent.

    But the Patriots, who seemingly have plenty of tight ends on their roster,
    foiled those plans by putting in a claim. The Pats were 31st on the waiver
    priority list, meaning they were the only team that put in a claim on Ballard
    and the last team he had to get by before he would've returned to the Giants.
    They are now on the hook for his $540,000 salary and as long as they keep him on
    the 90-man roster through the first round of cuts in August they'll be able to
    stash him on PUP and later injured reserve without having to waive him

    The Giants could have done that too, which brings up an interesting question:
    With summer rosters now expanded from 80 to 90, why not just keep Ballard on the
    roster instead of taking what Coughlin called the "calculated risk" of trying to
    slip him through waivers?

    "Don't ask me those questions," Coughlin said. "I don't have the answers for
    you. We're all disappointed. That's all."

    Giants GM Jerry Reese was not immediately available for comment, though it's
    hard to believe Reese would've made the move over Coughlin's objections. It
    seems more likely they collaborated on the decision, which obviously didn't work

    And so the Giants lost a player who surprised everyone by catching 38 passes
    for 604 yards and four touchdowns in 14 regular season games. He was lost for
    the 2012 season, but Coughlin sounded convinced that Ballard would be able to
    return and have an impact in 2013.

    "I certainly thought so, for sure," Coughlin said. "So did everybody. The
    whole building thought that way. Everyone did. Obviously it was a calculated
    risk and it didn't work."

    Was he surprised the Patriots were the ones that claimed Ballard? "I don't
    have any comment on that one," Coughlin said. "It's the nature of the

    And yes, despite some chatter that the Patriots broke some unwritten rule of
    claiming an injured player, Coughlin said that's not the case at all.

    "I don't think there's any question about that part of it," he said.
    "Whatever the options are based on what the rules are, based on the procedural
    circumstance, all is fair."


    "Jake Ballard returned to the Giants' practice facility on Tuesday afternoon
    exactly 24 hours after he was waived/injured by the defending Super Bowl champs.
    But his visit to Giants minicamp turned out to be just that.

    In a big surprise, Ballard was claimed off waivers by the New England
    Patriots, according to a Tweet from his agent, Blake Baratz. That prevented the
    Giants from putting Ballard on their Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) reserves
    list, which they planned to do, according to a team source.

    The Patriots now own the rights to Ballard and are on the hook for the
    $540,000 he's owed this season. Of course, Ballard is still rehabbing from a
    torn ACL in Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots and microfracture surgery on
    his knee in February. He has said several times that it's likely he won't be
    able to play this season at all.

    So why would the Patriots claim him? That's unclear, though presumably
    they'll stash him on their Physically Unable to Perform list and later Injured
    Reserve at some point and retain his rights for 2013. Ballard will be an
    exclusivfe rights free agent after the season, meaning he won't even have the
    ability to field offers from other teams. If the Patriots want him back, he'll
    have no choice but to stay.

    The Giants have not said publicly why they cut Ballard and tried to get him
    through waivers, rather than just carry him on their 90-man roster all summer.
    Presumably they just didn't want to use a roster spot on a player they knew
    wouldn't play until 2013.

    Ballard, meanwhile, was still in the field house when Giants practice ended.
    The Giants would not make him available to the media. I assume Bill Belichick
    and the Patriots approved of their decision."



    "A clearly irritated Tom Coughlin on Wednesday said to characterize himself as
    discouraged is “a minor description’’ of the way he feels about the Giants
    losing tight end Jake Ballard to the Patriots and, while stopping short of
    blasting his own front office, certainly made his feelings known that he’s not

    “Very disappointing,’’ Coughlin said. “I don’t have a lot to say about that
    one. Just the fact we’re disappointed, very disappointed.’’

    Oh, but Coughlin did have more to say. A day earlier, the Giants were stunned
    when the Patriots claimed Ballard off waivers. Ballard can’t play this season
    while he recovers from a devastating knee injury suffered in the third quarter
    of Super Bowl XLVI – playing for the Giants and against the Patriots. On Monday,
    Ballard as expected failed his physical and the Giants waived him, believing
    this was simply a procedural move and that once he cleared waivers he’d revert
    back to their Physically Unable to Perform/reserve list to spend the 2012 season
    rehabbing his knee, hoping to make a return in 2013.

    To ensure that Ballard’s rights were protected, the Giants could have kept
    him on their 90-man training camp roster until making a move with him to PUP
    after camp. The Giants front office decided not to take that safer option,
    feeling fairly certain no team would put in a waiver claim on a tight end who
    can’t play at all this season.

    Asked why the Giants didn’t simply keep Ballard protected on the roster,
    Coughlin snapped “Don’t ask me those questions. I’m not the … I don’t have the
    answers for you. We’re all disappointed, that’s all.’’

    Coughiln said it was his belief that Ballard could return in 2013 and be a
    productive player. “I certainly thought so, for sure,’’ he said. “So did
    everybody, the whole building felt that way. Everyone did.’’

    Putting Ballard on waivers, in Coughlin’s view, was “a calculated risk that
    didn’t work.’’

    That the Patriots were the one team to put in a claim on Ballard surprised
    many in that they are well-stocked at tight end with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron
    Hernandez. It was not a surprise, though, in that Bill Belichick has made these
    types of unconventional moves before, stockpiling players that on the surface it
    does not appear he needs. Asked if he was surprised the Patriots picked up
    Ballard, Coughlin said “I don’t have any comment on that one’’ and then added
    “it’s the nature of the business.’’

    Given that it was clear the Giants were trying to get Ballard through waivers
    to put him on their PUP list, did the Patriots breach any professional courtesy
    protocol? “Whatever the options are based on what the rules are, based on the
    procedural circumstance all is fair,’’ Coughlin said.

    In New England, Pats coach Bill Belichick scoffed at the notion that the
    Patriots broke any unwritten rules by claiming an injured Ballard.

    “First of all, there aren't any unwrittens,'' Belichick said. "You can’t
    negotiate a contract, release him, and then re-negotiate another contract with
    him that was already done in advance. I’m sure the Giants weren’t doing that. So
    the player is on waivers, he’s on waivers — ours or anybody else’s. I don’t know
    what unwrittens you’re talking about.

    “Any time you put a player on waivers, you know there are 31 teams out there
    that can take him if they want him. We all know that. There is no secrets about

    Ballard, 24, caught 38 passes last season and was a revelation for the
    Giants, given that he was an undrafted player out of Ohio State. He arrived at
    the Giants facility on Tuesday figuring he’d cleared waivers but was informed
    that the Patriots at 3:50 p.m. claimed him, 10 minutes before the waiver

    “It was kind of a shock to everybody,’’ tight end Bear Pascoe said.

    “He sat back there with [head trainer] Ronnie [Barnes] and Ronnie called me
    over so I went back there and I could just look at Jake’s face that he ended up
    getting picked up,’’ added tight end Travis Beckum. “Obviously he built a
    reputation here, he’s very close with the guys here, the staff, the team and I
    think if he could have picked he would have picked to stay here but that is not
    how the NFL works and you got to take what you can get sometimes.’’

    Beckum understood that this situation could have been avoided.

    “I figured it was for a roster spot but we have 90 guys here now, a lot of
    ‘em aren’t going to make the team,’’ Beckum said. “I’m assuming they did it for
    a roster spot and with Jake’s injury, knowing that he wasn’t going to be able to
    play next year they figured they could put him on waivers and bring him back, no
    team would pick him up.’’

    That is what the Giants figured, but they figured wrong."


    "Giants general manager Jerry Reese admitted he thought tight end Jake Ballard
    would clear waivers and was surprised when the Patriots on Tuesday claimed the
    injured tight end.

    “Yes, we thought that he would clear,’’ Reese said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL
    Radio. “It's rare but it’s not the first time something like that has happened.
    It's disappointing for us that we didn't get him back. He did a tremendous job
    for us and we hope he gets well soon and that he can finish his career, whether
    it’s with New England or whatever team he ends up with. It was disappointing,
    but that does happen, every blue moon.’’

    Reese, asked to explain the Giants course of action – they could have
    protected Ballard’s rights by keeping him on the 90-player training camp roster
    – declined to offer any specifics as to his thinking.

    “I could explain it, but I don't want to explain it because it’s really
    irrelevant at this point,’’ Reese said. “All I want to say about Jake is he did
    a tremendous job for us and we hope he gets well soon. It’s really pointless for
    me at this point to try explain it to people. Again, you said, it happens all
    the time but it’s rare that somebody takes a guy under these conditions off the
    waiver wire, but it happened and we wish Jake all the best.’’

    The Patriots claimed Ballard even though he will miss the entire 2012 season
    following knee surgery. Reese said there’s no bad blood with the Patriots.

    “There is no reason for us to have hard feelings about it,’’ Reese said.
    “When you put a guy on the wire, he's free game for anybody. There are no hard
    feelings for us. They think that they can salvage the situation, so we will see
    what happens, but again, we only wish the best for Jake.’’


    "When he appeared on NBC’s Super Bowl pregame show before the Giants defeated
    the Patriots in February, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the Giants
    faked injuries in their 37-20 win over Green Bay in the NFC Divisional Playoffs
    on Jan. 15.

    When the topic was broached with Chris Canty Wednesday, the Giants defensive
    lineman – who was booed at Lambeau Field when he went down with an injury and
    had to be helped off the field – didn’t hold back.

    “I don’t really have a response to a QB being accusatory or anything like
    that,” Canty said. “It’s unfortunate that a fellow player would think that about
    another player, and about injuries and another player.

    “You try to have something called professional courtesy, you know? You don’t
    want to accuse somebody of something when you don’t know the full circumstances.
    But … that’s no excuse. He should understand. He knows first-hand what NFL
    players go through, and he should be sympathetic towards that, and I’m
    disappointed he made that comment.”

    Canty had to be helped off the field during the game because of his
    troublesome left knee, which he had surgery on after the season, but later
    returned to the game.

    Appearing with Bob Costas on the pregame show, Rodgers had said the Patriots
    could see some of the Giants trying to slow down their high-powered offense the
    same way he believed they did in their regular season meeting a few weeks

    “It was a big part of our game-plan to try to speed the tempo up against
    them,” Rodgers said. “Keep them on the field for longer drives, do everything at
    the line of scrimmage … to combat that, there was a little bit of gamesmanship
    on their side, some phantom injuries, you might call them, to try to slow us
    down and give them some time to recover during a couple of those drives.

    “Check it out tonight. “If the Patriots get into a rhythm, and do a few
    drives in a row, you might see a little of that gamesmanship from the



    "During the offseason, the New York Giants acquired Keith Rivers from the Cincinnati
    for a fifth-round draft pick. It was a low risk move for a player
    who, in 2008, was drafted ninth overall out of USC. However, Rivers believes he
    is worth much more than a fifth-round pick. In fact, he thinks the Giants got
    such a good deal, it was practically criminal.

    "I was the ninth pick in the draft," Rivers said Tuesday. "Anywhere near that
    [level of play for the Giants] and it's beyond a steal. It's armed

    Although Rivers believes he is capable of becoming a major contributor to the
    Giants' quest to defend their Super Bowl, it's his responsibility to prove that
    he is still capable of producing like the player many thought he could be.

    Rivers showed promise during his rookie season in Cincinnati; however, his
    season ended when Steelers receiver Hines Ward blindsided him and broke his jaw.
    His career was further derailed by injury when he missed all of last season due
    to a wrist injury. However, Rivers in anxious to get back onto gridiron.

    "For me it's more about proving to myself that I am who I was and nothing has
    changed. It's a situation where when you've been hurt, you always want to show
    people what they've been missing. I'm excited to get out there and prove a lot
    of things to myself. Whenever you get hurt, there's always a little bit of 'Will
    I come back the same way?' And you work hard to make sure that you

    Rivers is currently playing behind Michael Boley at the weak-side linebacker
    . If he has a good preseason, Rivers could entice Defensive
    Coordinator Perry Fewell to move Boleyto middle linebacker and start him on the
    weak-side. Furthermore, second year players Mark
    and Jacquian Williams will also push Rivers for playing time.
    However, if he can master the defensive schemes, as well as learn the middle
    linebacker position, look for Keith
    to contribute significantly in 2012."


    "As New York
    mini-camp nears the end of its second day, there seems to be more
    focus on what will come in Training Camp than what players are or aren’t doing
    in mandatory Organized Team Activities.

    Cornerback Corey
    hasn’t been a participant in May or June OTAs and now, noticeably,
    not in mandatory team practices. Head Coach Tom Coughlin isn’t viewing this as
    an opportunity to overreact, but to remain cautious.

    “Webster has been the same way since we got here –- the hamstring,” Coughlin
    said. “Now you are getting close to camp, you certainly don’t want to have any
    setbacks now.”

    Webster remains the Giants’ number one corner and coverage man in the
    defensive backfield. Holding him out in spring training should do nothing but
    help to help prevent setbacks for down the road – when his skills are needed

    Meanwhile, second year cornerback Prince
    is on the mend and nearing a return to 100%.

    “Prince is making progress,” Coughlin said. “They are letting him go, up to a
    point, and he is out there competing. It is a whole different year for him,
    really. Since he has had that experience and a lot of that is behind him. He is
    doing a good job. Hopefully he is going to continue.”



    "New York Giants
    coach Tom Coughlin said today that trying to pass injured tight end Jake Ballard
    through waivers, a move that didn't work when the Giants 2011 starter was
    claimed by the New England
    , was a "calculated risk."

    [Related: Tom Coughlin Wednesday Transcript]

    Reporters present at Wednesday's mini-camp clearly gave the impression that
    Coughlin was not happy about losing Ballard, who caught 38 passes in 14
    regular-season games in 2011.

    Just how upset should Coughlin, and the Giants, be about losing Ballard?

    Without doubt this is not the outcome the Giants wanted, or expected. They
    were apparently hoping to pass Ballard through waivers, bring him back and place
    him on IR. The Patriots, though, ruined the plan.

    Reality is that if they wanted to keep Ballard this is a gamble the Giants
    probably should not have taken. Just like last season when GM Jerry Reese strung
    Steve Smith along, thinking no one would sign a player who would likely not
    contribute early in the season.

    This is a little bit of a case of 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice,
    shame on me' for Reese. He gambled, again -- and he lost, again.

    How much does it hurt the Giants? It doesn't hurt them at all in 2012. It is
    pretty obvious that the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Ballard was not going to play at all
    this coming season.

    How about long-term? Well, nobody knows. First of all, Ballard has major
    damage to his knee and no one knows what kind of player he will be when he tries
    to return in 2013. Second of all, no one knows how the players the Giants will
    use in his stead will pan out. Will Martellus Bennett be the player the Giants
    think his physical tools say he should be, or will he be the under-achiever the
    Dallas Cowboys
    seemed to think he was? Will fourth-round pick Adrien
    , 'the JPP of tight ends,' blossom into the star the Giants seem to
    think they might have uncovered?

    If Bennett and/or Robinson blossom into stars -- somewhat like Victor Cruz
    did in replacing Smith -- this is just another unfortunate footnote. If Ballard
    comes back as the same player he was in 2011 and both Bennett and Robinson flame
    out then this will be a decision the Giants will wish they could do over.

    Only time will tell.

    Was this just a little gamesmanship from New England after two straight Super
    Bowl losses to the Giants? Could be. They do have Rob
    and Aaron
    . What they could possibly do with Ballard only they know.

    All we can do is wait and see how it all plays out. Losing Ballard is tough
    for the Giants to swallow, but as last season showed it could end up working out
    just fine.


    Excerpt: "Good morning fellow Giants fans. It's Hump Day, so let's take care of some
    business first--there are just twelve weeks until the start of the 2012 NFL
    season. That's really not far away--it's maybe a family vacation, a few rounds
    of golf, some trips to the pool, maybe a few days of work and around 24 cases of
    beer away. Oh wait, I forgot how hot this summer was going to be--make it 36
    cases. Anyway, mini-camp is this week, so there is a lot to talk about--the
    least of which is Jake Ballard
    being cut, and then snapped up by the “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2

    Thanks RF, lot of great info.


    • #3

      [quote user="NY_Eli"]Thanks RF, lot of great info.[/quote]

      “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2012 - 8:59 P.M.

        Thanks RF !
        " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.