GIANTS' PLAYERS ROUNDING INTO "FOOTBALL MENTALITY" AT START OF ORGANIZED TEAM ACTIVITIES
"The sight of Brian
Witherspoon writhing on the ground as the rest of the Giants’ defensive backs knelt in prayer was
an all-too-familiar scene for a team that lost a bunch of cornerbacks, including
Witherspoon, a season ago.
It was certainly a poor way to begin the first of the 10 organized team
activities sessions. But the workout continued for the rest of the team in a
gathering (I’m running out of ways to say “practice” without saying “practice”
because OTAs aren’t supposed to be called “practices”) that was short and
limited in contact.
"All of these workouts are important for everybody to get back into a
football mentality," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Our first thing
out here is we try to be safety-first. We don't have any pads on; we don't even
have any shells on. We can go against each other a little bit in this phase.
"But the development of these young guys is real important. Just to learn the
new language is real critical."
As you'll see below, some of the young guys are very early in the development
A few notes from the session, and beyond:
--The following players appeared to be limited in some form or fashion: RB
Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), CB Corey Webster
(unknown), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), LT Will
Beatty (eye), DT Linval Joseph (ankle), LB
Clint Sintim (knee), TE Travis Beckum (knee),
CB Prince Amukamara (foot) and WR Dan DePalma
(hip). Amukamara says he’ll begin running next week. DePalma revealed
he had hip surgery this offseason after practicing through a torn labrum. He’s a
guy a few veterans have mentioned as a possible breakout player, so we’ll keep a
close eye on him when he begins working fully. It sounds like that won’t be
until training camp, though.
--TE Martellus Bennett left practice midway through with a
sore hamstring. But that doesn’t stop the learning. “(The trainers) can wrap you
over here,” TEs coach Mike Pope yelled toward Bennett, meaning
he wanted him closer to provide instruction on what the other players were
--These players were not in attendance: DT Chris Canty
(knee), TE Jake Ballard (knee), TE Adrien
Robinson (finishing school) and DE Osi Umenyiora, who
has yet to make an appearance around these parts this offseason. (I'm guessing
Ballard wasn't around because he comes in early for rehab. I'm not sure if
Canty's absence on the field had to do with his knee, which he had scoped this
--Here’s how the first-team offensive line looked: LT James
Brewer, LG Kevin Boothe, C David
Baas, RG Chris Snee, RT David Diehl.
Pretty much what we expected, save for Brewer in for Beatty. Expect Brewer to
get plenty of reps at right tackle, too.
--Your starting LBs were Mathias Kiwanuka, Chase
Blackburn and Michael Boley. Newly acquired Keith
Rivers was working with the second team. Rivers received some instruction from
defensive coordinator Perry Fewell because he was peeking in
the wrong gap on a running play. On the next play, Rivers was upset with his
drop into a zone when WR Jerrel Jernigan caught a ball on a
hook inside him.--S Tyler Sash worked with the starters in Phillips'
--DT Markus Kuhn (seventh round) was in action after missing
rookie camp with a leg laceration. All's well, apparently, as he got up to bat
down a pass late in practice.
--CB Jayron Hosley, the team’s third-round pick, made a nice
play in team drills when he slipped underneath WR Isaiah Stanback
on an in cut from QB Ryan Perrilloux. Hosley was
playing over top of Stanback but drifted even with him and then got inside his
shoulder to get position and knock the ball away. Hosley showed good instincts
on that play. A little later, though, he didn’t drop into a zone properly and
allowed WR Ramses Barden to catch an easy intermediate pass
near the sideline. “Get your depth,” secondary coach Peter
Giunta said. And Hosley struggled to read a comeback route late in
practice. His momentum carried him too far upfield on that play. “Watch the
three-step (drop),” Giunta told him. In short, Hosley has the ability but like
many rookies, needs to work on his technique.
--With Witherspoon likely done for the season and CB Antwaun
Molden suffering an apparent hamstring injury today, depth at corner
remains paramount for the Giants. One player who could help in that department
is CB Justin Tryon, who was playing well last season before breaking
his arm. Tryon looked pretty good out there today, including on one play
when he defended a pass from QB Eli Manning to WR
Victor Cruz on a double move. Tryon didn’t bite and stayed with
Cruz as he ran the corner route. Giunta thinks it could’ve been an ever better
play if Tryon had turned back to find the ball. “Play the ball and that’s an
interception,” Giunta told Tryon.
--Speaking of the coaches’ commentary, Giunta and safeties coach
David Merritt liked what they saw from undrafted free agent S
Jojo Nicolas on one play when he stayed on top of a deep pass
from QB David Carr to WR David Douglas that
fell incomplete, thanks in part to Nicolas’ coverage. On the next play, Nicolas
came from down low in the box to cover the deep half of the field, as the Giants
are wont to do with their safeties. Nicolas, who signed with the Giants in part
because of fellow former Miami Hurricanes Phillips and Antrel
Rolle, will have to fend off Will Hill and
Janzen Jackson for a roster spot. That figures to be a very
--RB David Wilson, the first-rounder, ran into the flat on
one play when he should’ve run the short hook over the middle. Carr just pointed
to the area in which Wilson should’ve been standing when he was left without a
check-down option. This is all part of the learning process for Wilson.
--On the play Molden was injured, veteran S Stevie Brown
covered some serious ground to get to a deep ball up the sideline. He looks
spry. S Chris Horton, another veteran free agent, isn’t moving
so well and was saying in the locker room he doesn’t have a burst because his
hamstring has been tight lately. There’s apparently a lot of that going around
--Perrilloux has really been throwing the deep ball well this spring. Today,
he laid one on the hands of a diving WR Brandon Collins, though
Collins couldn’t hold on. Yeah, I said Collins was diving, but Perrilloux didn’t
have much to work with on that play. Trust me, it was a good ball.
--OT Matt McCants, the
sixth-round pick I wrote about on Tuesday, showed real nice balance on one
play when he handled LB Jacquian Williams to one side and then
stoned him as Williams tried to bounce the other way. McCants has looked pretty
good so far. Again, the hitting isn’t live yet, so let’s not make any snap
judgments on guys playing the more physical positions. In fact, that’s why you
won’t see much here about the players in the trenches because it’s just too
difficult to gauge them when no one is wearing any pads. But from a footwork
standpoint, McCants has been sharp when I’ve spotted him.
* * * *
was asked about receiving the Outstanding Civil Service Award from the U.S.
Army during a ceremony in Virginia this evening.
"I think it’s a tremendous honor. I’m very humbled in receiving this honor,
and I look forward to spending an evening with Gen. (Raymond T.) Odierno and the
other people being honored," he said. "I have learned a little more what this
honor is over the last week or so. It’s very humbling. It’s an honor to be in
that company and to realize the historical significance of where we will be when
this takes place tonight, where all the Chiefs of Staff have lived going way
back to the 1800’s, and what this represents in terms of our support for the
military, our men and women who serve our country.
"If you think back going all the way to back to 9/11 and how that changed the
way, I hope, all Americans feel about our armed forces, the changing of the way
in which war is conducted and what (the military does) for us on a daily basis,
so we can work in this great National Football League and all Americans can
sleep under the blanket of freedom. It is a very, very humbling experience that
I’m looking forward to."
Asked what he's learned about the honor he's receiving, Coughlin replied,
"Just the nature of what this represents. It’s the third-highest civilian honor
that can be bestowed on any non-military persons. I’m deeply, deeply moved by