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DOMENIK HIXON AMONG THOSE IMPRESSING AT OTA'S
"A rundown of today's organized team activities session for the Giants, beginning with the injuries.
These guys weren’t on the practice field, though some were seen in the locker
room and others were likely around the building at some point as well: DT
Chris Canty (knee), CB Corey Webster (unknown;
sat out last Wednesday’s OTA), DE Osi Umenyiora (contract), WR
Hakeem Nicks (foot), TE Jake Ballard (knee),
TE Travis Beckum (knee), DT Shaun Rogers
(N/A), TE Adrien Robinson (finishing school), DT Martin
Parker (N/A) and OL Chris White (N/A).
Also, LT Will Beatty was not on the field. He missed the
last two months of last season with a detached retina but this appears to be an
These players were limited in some form or fashion: DE Justin
Tuck (shoulder), RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), DT
Linval Joseph (ankle), LB Clint Sintim (knee),
TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring), S Kenny
Phillips (knee), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), WR
Dan DePalma (hip) and S Chris Horton
CB Brandon Bing went down and grabbed his knee after
slipping during individual drills, a scene reminiscent of Brian
Witherspoon’s injury last week. From his reaction, it was clear he believed
he had suffered a major injury and he admitted afterward he was scared when he
felt the twinge in his knee. But he hopped up, jogged a bit on the side and was
back on the field a few minutes later.
And now to the highlights:
--WR Domenik Hixon’s twice-repaired knee looked fine when he
made a nice leaping catch after fighting through an aggressive jam from CB
Michael Coe. Hixon received plenty of praise from Tom
Coughlin as well as the assistant coaches today for his reliability in
carrying out his assignments. “He’s a great role model and a great example of,
‘We asked you to set up the route this way, take this footwork, do this stem and
attack this shoulder,’” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride
said. “He always does it exactly the way you want him to do it.” Later in
practice, during 7-on-7s, Hixon got loose up the sideline against a Cover-2
zone. Secondary coach Peter Giunta told Coe he should’ve stayed
with Hixon up the sideline because he didn’t have a threat underneath of
Tight ends coach Mike Pope wasn’t gushing nearly as much about
his battered group as Gilbride was on Hixon. “I told them today, ‘Not only do
they not know what they’re doing but I don’t know what they’re doing,’” Pope
said. “And I don’t know what I’m doing.” There was a moment QB Eli
Manning seemed frustrated with the angle TE Bear
Pascoe took on a ball that sailed over his head. And TE
Christian Hopkins dropped a ball after running a great route to
get separation from LB Keith Rivers. But there was one
highlight from the tight ends and it came courtesy of Larry
Donnell, who made a diving catch with LB Mark Herzlich
--Rivers wasn’t as tight to the receiver when Hopkins got away from him, but
he did make a good play to knock down a pass intended for WR Rueben
Randle cutting behind him. Herzlich nearly caught the deflection for an
--CB Dante Hughes, the veteran signed last week when
Witherspoon got hurt, had a very solid practice today. He was on point with his
drops and coverage every time I watched him. Hughes probably would’ve had a pick
six when he quickly read Randle’s comeback route but the ball was delivered low
by QB Ryan Perrilloux.
--Speaking of Perrilloux, QBs coach Sean Ryan said the team
continues to work on his decision making. That’s probably Perrilloux’s biggest
issue. When it’s right, he delivers the ball quickly and with plenty of zip.
Today, he made a tremendous throw across his body while rolling left on a naked
bootleg to find Randle on a comeback in front of Bing. “That was an impressive
throw,” Ryan said. “He got his hips turned. That was a shot. The physical tools
are there. We just have to make that decision making going. If we get him making
smart decisions with the football, he’ll be fine.” One decision I believe
Perrilloux will regret on film was when he took a check-down pass instead of
throwing for WR Brandon Collins on the in cut behind the
linebackers. From my vantage point, it looked like he had a window into which to
--Another questionable decision from Perrilloux was a deep ball picked off by
S Stevie Brown. Frankly, if Brown didn’t get it by jumping in
front of the high ball, it would’ve been Hughes with the interception after
sliding in front of Collins perfectly on the go route. Brown nailed his
assignments today and, along with CB Bruce Johnson and LB
Jaquian Williams, forced a couple of quarterbacks to tuck the
ball and run. Those three communicated perfectly all session long.
--The one receiver who was able to beat Hughes today was WR Ramses
Barden. The 6-6 Barden did that by using his body to maintain position
on Hughes, who drove to close on a route. For all of you who have been down on
Barden, know that he’s been able to make those kinds of catches as well as can
be asked. The problem is he needs to be more consistent on the whole to get a
chance to do so. More on Barden coming here later tonight and in tomorrow’s
--If it seems like I always have a few things to mention on CB Jayron
Hosley, it’s because I find myself watching him closely every practice.
Today was a much cleaner session for him than what
I noted last week. One play in particular that impressed me was when he
maintained his position on a go route from Manning to Randle up the right
sideline. They were coming right at where the media was standing, so I had a
good view of Hosley running a straight line down the field and forcing Randle to
reroute around him. The ball never had a chance of being completed. Very good
coverage and technique there for Hosley.
--LB Mathias Kiwanka had a few good plays today, including a
pass breakup on a quick out from QB David Carr to Randle.
(Yeah, the ball had trouble getting to Randle today, if you haven’t noticed.)
“You got it, Kiwi!” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell yelled
as soon as the ball left Carr’s hand. Fewell was correct; Kiwanuka had that. And
he also had WR Victor Cruz on an end around he sniffed out
perfectly. “He’s gained more knowledge and experience at the linebacker
position,” Fewell said. “His pass coverage has gotten better. He’s improved each
session but got a little better (today). As he told me last week, ‘I’ve seen it
a year now, I’m getting more comfortable, I’m going through an OTA now, I know
I’m going to be better.’ And it’s true, he’ll be better.”
--And finally, we’ll have more for you eventually on S Will
Hill, I promise. For now, know Fewell and safeties coach David
Merritt were both gushing about the guy, with Merritt noting the way
Hill communicated to other defensive backs during rookie camp was a pleasant
surprise. However, like all first-year players, Hill is working through his
thoughts and trying to play quickly. Today, he was a bit slow breaking on a pass
WR David Douglas caught in front of him. “Yeah, he’s thinking a
little bit,” Merritt said of Hill."GIANTS' KEVIN GILBRIDE SAYS VICTOR CRUZ "HASN'T MISSED A BEAT" THIS OFFSEASON
"Imagine if someone had told Kevin Gilbride at this point last year Victor
Cruz would be the most accomplished of the Giants’ healthy wide receivers right
“Amazing,” Gilbride said while shaking his head today during a session with
Nicks out for about three months with a broken foot and Mario Manningham now
with the San Francisco 49ers, Cruz’s 82 receptions for a franchise-record 1,536
yards last season make him the veteran to which all the younger players are
looking this time of year.
Cruz doesn’t have a long track record of success, which means even Gilbride
wasn’t sure how he’d return this offseason and whether the proverbial lightning
would escape the bottle Cruz was holding.
Apparently, that hasn’t been the case at all.
“It took him a while to get going (last season). He didn’t start the year
real well and then all of a sudden, in that Philadelphia (Eagles) game, he
made two phenomenal plays for us,” Gilbride said today. “But truly in the
beginning of the year, every play was an adventure. He was either going to be
right or awfully wrong but got better and better and better at eliminating the
“That's what's nice about now. It's like he hasn’t missed a beat.”
That’s an encouraging sign for the Giants. It means, despite Cruz’s busy
offseason schedule making appearances all over the place, he’s remained in shape
and has stayed mentally sharp. While he hasn’t made many big plays in the OTAs
open to the media so far, he’s carrying out his assignments as well as he did
late in the season.
So instead of getting
berated by Gilbride on the sideline, he’s being praised in the coordinator’s
“Where he was at the end of the year, in terms of, ‘I’m going to do the right
thing...’ I think he proved he's a special guy inside,” Gilbride said. “He's a
special guy inside as a slot receiver and now he has the chance to be playing
GIANTS' MATHIAS KIWANUKA COMES TO OSI UMENYIORA'S DEFENSE
"When Mathias Kiwanuka signed an extension last month -- which was curiously
kept hushed -- his teammate and friend Osi
Umenyiora said he was happy for him. At the same time, Umenyiora, who is
again miffed at his own contract situation, expressed
his displeasure in the offers the Giants have made compared to what Kiwanuka
Today, Kiwanuka, whose extension totaled three years for $16.5 million, said
he didn't find what Umenyiora, who again was absent from today's organized team
activity, said disrespectful. If anything, he agrees with the defensive end.
"He's been under contract in a bad deal for years now," Kiwanuka said
following today's OTA. "Anybody who looks at the situation would say, 'Well,
this should've been taken care of a long time ago.' For whatever reason it
hasn't so I understand his frustration. I know that it wasn't a slight at me. I
know he was just trying to get his point across."
Kiwanuka said he doesn't know if he would handle the situation the same way
-- i.e. holding out from voluntary OTAs -- but he understands it's a business
decision Umenyiora feels he needs to make.
"If he was signed to a deal that was twice that and performed half of what he
is, he would've been cut by now," the linebacker said. "That's just the reality
of this game, but the fact that he's signed to a lower-salary deal and he's
playing at a high level – 10-plus sacks every year – the fact that has nothing
been done with it, it's an obvious issue. It'd be an issue for anybody out here
so I understand his frustration."
Umenyiora's quarrel with the Giants over his contract began last summer when
briefly held out of training camp before joining the team. He then missed
the team's first three games following ankle surgery, but came back to record
nine sacks in nine regular-season games. He added three and a half more in four
He has one year left on a seven-year, $41.38 million deal he signed in 2005
and is scheduled to earn $3.975 million this season, but he is looking for a
long-term agreement." GIANTS' PRINCE AMUKAMARA RUNS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE UNDERGOING FOOT PROCEDURE
"The Giants are optimistic that Hakeem
Nicks will be able to make a full and speedy recovery after breaking the
fifth metatarsal of his right foot last Thursday. If anything, they hope his
recovery will be better than Prince Amukamara's last season.
Amukamara suffered the injury during the first week of training camp last
August and was off the field for about 15 weeks. He didn't appear in a game
until Week 9 against the Eagles.
Amukamara said he felt 100 percent by the end of the season, but still
underwent a procedure in which an injection was made in his foot to promote
"The bone wasn't healing as fast as they wanted it to even though I said I
felt great," Amukamara said today at the annual Giants Foundation golf outing at
Westchester Country Club to benefit youth-related charities in the Tri-state
area. "But they just wanted to make sure everything looked good and matched with
how I felt."
Today, Amukamara ran for the first time since he the procedure was done in
"I started running on the grass today," Amukamara said. "They just told me to
do the little stuff: karaoke, run some sprints, and do the figure eight just to
see if I felt any tenderness. But I didn't so things are looking good right
Amukamara said it was easy to stay in shape while recovering because of
various training techniques that avoid stress on the foot and it's possible that
he can join his teammates at veterans minicamp next month.
"I think it just depends on how I'm feeling," Amukamara said. "If I start
feeling 100 percent everyday and there's not soreness, I think they'll let me
GIANTS' HAKEEM NICKS HOPES TO BE READY FOR START OF TRAINING CAMP
"Tom Coughlin was standing about half a football field away when Hakeem Nicks ran
a simple hook route without defenders, or "on air," and pulled up lame during
the Giants' second organized team activity last Thursday.
"Oh, he rolled his ankle over," Coughlin thought as his star wide receiver
Fellow wide receiver Domenik Hixon, also participating in the drill, said he
assumed the same. But within minutes, after Nicks had his right foot wrapped and
was taken off the field, news came that he had broken the fifth metatarsal in
his right foot.
The next day Nicks was in Charlotte undergoing surgery and the team estimates
he will be out around 12 weeks. That timetable would mean a return in mid-August
during training camp.
Coughlin said he spoke to Nicks Sunday night and the fourth-year receiver is
optimistic -- so much so that he hopes to be ready for the start of training
camp on July 26.
"'I'll be back for training camp' were his final words," Coughlin said today
at the annual Giants Foundation golf outing at Westchester Country Club to
benefit youth-related charities in the Tri-state area. "And I said, 'OK, well I
would accept it if it was maybe a day or two after the start of camp, that'd be
fine.' But I really appreciated his optimism and the fact that he was doing
everything he possibly could."
Coughlin said Nicks' foot is in a cast, elevated, and "pretty much
The timetable for such an injury varies case-by-case to some degree. Hixon,
who broke the same bone when he was training for the combine out of college,
said it takes about three months. Prince Amukamara suffered the injury during
the first week of training camp last August and was out for about 15 weeks.
The team is confident that it will be a matter of how much of training camp
Nicks misses and not whether he'll be back in time for the Sept. 5 season opener
against Dallas. Despite not being able to run, there are various techniques to
keep in shape while avoiding stress on the foot.
"He stays in shape," Hixon said. "It's not going to be an in-shape thing.
It's just a matter of time. You can't speed up time."
Nicks' injury leaves the Giants with 10 wide receivers on the roster and
Coughlin said the team isn't looking to add a veteran wideout to the mix – and
that includes former Giant Plaxico Buress.
"No," Coughlin mouthed as he shook his head when asked if the team was
considering bringing the troubled veteran back.
Instead, they'll give the extra reps to those already on the roster.
"[We'll] look for the next Victor Cruz," Coughlin said. "How's that one?"
Candidates include Hixon, who has missed the last two seasons with ACL tears,
and Rueben Randle, whose surprised drop to the end of the second round is now
more than just a luxury pick for the Giants. But for the rookie out of LSU, his
approach won't alter in Nicks' absence.
"Just continue to go out there do what you been doing," Randle said. "It's
still football at the end of the day. Just keep learning. It's a learning
process for me each and every day so as long as I keep going out there and
getting better at practice and getting more reps."
QUICK NOTES FROM GIANTS' OTA'S
"There was no sign of Hakeem Nicks at the Giants' OTA session on Wednesday.
But that opened plenty of playing time for Domenik Hixon.
Hixon, who is returning from a partially torn ACL suffered early last season,
was given first crack at Nicks' spot opposite wideout Victor Cruz, and Hixon
made the most of the opportunity. He caught the very first pass during 11-on-11
drills, hauled in a deep catch later, and also made a grab on a WR bubble
It was a showing that made an impression on coach Tom Coughlin.
"Same old Domenik," Coughlin said. "Make plays, make plays, make plays. Very
very steady, very consistent. Never makes a mistake, always in the right place.
Lots of good things. Makes me very anxious to make sure he gets through the
spring. He's a tough guy now. He doesn't back down from anything."
Hixon's play was arguably the highlight of the Giants' latest OTA session.
Here were a few other things that jumped out
- DE Justin Tuck didn't practice; instead, he stood on the sidelines and
watched the entire session. He left the field with ice on his left
- As expected, disgruntled DE Osi Umenyiora was not at the session. Neither
was rookie TE Adrien Robinson, who is finishing up classes at the University of
- CB Terrell Thomas (ACL) did individual drills, but did not participate in
the scrimmage portion of practice, and safety Kenny Phillips was given similar
treatment. Additionally, CB Prince Amukamara (foot) did not do drills or
scrimmage, nor did CB Antwaun Molden, who hurt his hamstring last week.
- CB Brandon Bing, a player who defensive coordinator Perry Fewell
highlighted as somebody who had been steadily improving, suffered a scary moment
midway through defensive back drills, when he slipped in the grass. Trainers
looked at him for a minute, then he walked to the sideline under his own power.
A few minutes later, he was back on the field.
"I got right back up and went back in," he said. "That initial thought was
like 'damn.' But I'm all right. I'm not hurt."
- CB Corey Webster and DT Shaun Rogers were not seen on the field."
TUCK ON OSI: "I THINK HE DESERVES TO GET PAID"
"Justin Tuck wants defensive linemate Osi Umenyiora to return to the Giants.
But he also wants to see his longtime friend get paid, too.
Tuck made that much clear during an interview with Jim Rome on Tuesday.
“It’s hard,” Tuck said on ROME, a new show on the CBS Sports Network. “He’s
signed a contract and I believe in abiding by that contract, but also I think
he’s outplayed that contract in today’s market. And how some of these defensive
ends are getting paid lots of money, I think he deserves to get paid.”
It was a careful statement, as Tuck tried to carefully walk a fine line in
what could easily become another standoff between Umenyiora and GM Jerry Reese.
Last season, Umenyiora staged a brief holdout when he was not given a new
This season, the pass-rusher, who enters the final year of the contract that
has caused so much discord, has been the lone conspicuous no-show to the Giants’
voluntary OTAs in East Rutherford. And when his teammates were receiving their
Super Bowl rings at Tiffany and Co., Umenyiora was in Germany, far from the
The Giants will learn much about where Umenyiora stands in two weeks, when
the Giants hold a mandatory veteran minicamp from June 12-14. And Tuck, for one,
continues to hold out hope that somehow, the Giants and their pass-rushing star
can come to an accord.
Tuck has spent the last seven years playing with Umenyiora, and described the
pair’s relationship as “kind of like a 1-2 tandem.” Yes, the Giants now have
another pass-rushing demon in Jason Pierre-Paul, but Tuck said his chemistry
with Umenyiora is unique.
“He’s very important,” Tuck said. “He is a great defensive end, and has had a
very successful career with the Giants . . . We know each other very well, know
how to play off each other, had a lot of success together. So obviously, I’m
rooting for him to end his career as a Giant.
“But you also understand the business aspect of things,” he added. “And at
the end of the day, I just hope everything works out for him and his family and
TUCK ON LT'S SUPER BOWL RING SALE
also discussed the much-publicized online auction sale of former Giants
linebacker Lawrence Taylor's Super Bowl XXV ring, which was put up for auction
by Taylor's son, Lawrence Taylor Jr. The ring sold for more than $230,000, but
Tuck said he didn't think the ring "holds a monetary value."
"It's about the blood, sweat and tears, the camaraderie between your
teammates to get to that point," he said.
Taylor said through agent Mark Lepselter that he was "fine" with his son's
decision to sell. But Tuck still called it "unfortunate."
"Hopefully," he said, "I'll never have to experience something like that
COUGHLIN DOESN'T SEE PLAXICO BACK IN BLUE
"The Giants tried to bring back former receiving star Plaxico Burress
once. But they have no plans to do it again.
With one vigorous shake of his head, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin made that
clear on Tuesday morning, just before the Giants Foundation Golf Outing at the
Westchester Country Club. Big Blue lost top wideout Hakeem Nicks to a broken
foot on Thursday, and aside from Victor Cruz, there is precious little
experience in the Giants receiving corps.
But Coughlin quickly dismissed any thought of bringing back Burress, who
spent last season with the Jets and is currently a free agent. When the
wideout's name was brought up, the coach shook his head and mouthed one word:
Burress played four seasons with the Giants and caught the game-winning
touchdown in Super Bowl XLII, a 17-14 upset over the previously unbeaten New
England Patriots. The wide receiver’s run with the team ended in 2008 when he
shot himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub on Nov. 29, 2008. The Giants
were 10-1 before the Burress incident and went 2-3 over the season’s final five
weeks and lost to the Eagles in the NFC Divisional round.
Burress served 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempted
criminal possession of a weapon. He signed with the Jets last season and caught
45 passes for 612 yards. He was tied for the team lead with eight