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Training Camp Day 1 Updates


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from mike garafolo's twitter:



NJ_GiantsIt's still early, folks, but Eli is 0-for-3 and Tyree just dropped a ball right in his hands.




NJ_GiantsThere's your 1st completion: Carr to Moss deep right. Webster slipped as Moss gave a little juke move




NJ_GiantsKenny Phillips just made a ridiculous break on a ball to pick off a hook from Eli to Hixon in 7-on-7s




NJ_GiantsMake that 2 INTs for Phillips. This one assisted by Webster who tipped it to him.




NJ_GiantsINT for Ross on a deep fade from Eli to Smith. Ross lost his helmet on the play but kept on chuggin down the sideline.




NJ_GiantsNo Osi or Cofield this afternoon. They're once a day for now.

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It's practice report time again, as Giants training camp is officially underway. Here's your look at a morning session that was pretty much dominated by the defense.



DE Justin Tuck (foot) did not practice this morning. He'll work this afternoon. Other than the three guys on PUP and NFL, Tuck was the only player out of action. That's got to make Tom Coughlin happy.


DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) and DT Barry Cofield (knee) practiced this morning but will not go Monday afternoon.



Rough start to practice on both sides of the line. On the second play of team drills, RT Kareem McKenzie jumped early. On the next play, DT Jay Alford jumped offside. DT Chris Canty jumped early on a later play.


Also a rough start for QB Eli Manning. On a play-action post for WR Steve Smith, Manning threw a bit behind his target. CB Terrell Thomas was in good coverage and S Travonti Johnson got over to break it up. Manning misfired on two more balls to start 0-for-3. He later had a pass picked off by S Kenny Phillips (see below) and overshot WR Sinorice Moss on a deep ball.


What distraction? LB Antonio Pierce slipped right in behind the lead blocker to make a stop on RB Danny Ware.


Remember that impeccable timing Umenyiora has when he gets off the line right as the ball is snapped? Well, it's apparently been unaffected by his year off. Twenty-one guys were standing still when he started moving on one play. Rookie LT William Beatty didn't have a prayer. If it wasn't a quick, three-step drop for QB David Carr, Umenyiora would have had a sack. And trust me, he wasn't offside. Beatty is learning real quickly this isn't the Big East.


Speaking of great jumps, Phillips made an outstanding break on a ball on a hook from Manning to WR Domenik Hixon for an INT. There's that improved awareness combining with the excellent ability we knew he had. And how about another INT for Phillips? This one was tipped to him by CB Corey Webster on a ball from Carr.


A mix-up in pass protection between RB Brandon Jacobs and FB Madison Hedgecock opened the door for LB Bryan Kehl, who shot the gap for what would have been a sack.


CB Aaron Ross made the defensive play of the morning when he stepped in front of Smith on a deep fade down the left side from Manning. While Smith was fighting for the ball, he ripped Ross' helmet off. No problem for Ross, who still grabbed the ball and returned it hatless.



Right after Manning's 0-for-3 start, WR David Tyree dropped a ball right in his gut on a quick slant. He made amends later with a nice adjustment on a back-shoulder throw from QB Rhett Bomar.


Carr was slingin' it early. He had the candidate for play of the day right off the bat when he hit Moss for a deep ball past Webster, who slipped on the play. Carr took advantage of the slipping DBs because he hit WR Derek Hagan after Thomas hit the deck. Secondary coach Peter Giunta told Thomas he would have picked off the pass if he didn't slip.


I keep saying how WR Mario Manningham makes heady, instinctual plays. He had another one Monday when he and Ross slipped coming out of a break. But instead of panicking, he planted on his left knee and steadied himself to make the catch. Nice play.


Nice matchup between RB Ahmad Bradshaw and Umenyiora on a flip play to the left side. Speed on speed there. Bradshaw won because Umenyiora bit too far inside on Manning's move to the right side.


Fumbled snaps are still a problem for C Adam Koets. He had like five or six Monday. Yikes.



Fun little battle between WR Ramses Barden and Ross for one ball on the sideline. Barden held on, but Ross was was swiping at it even as both players were on the ground. Barden then caught two more for three straight completions in 1-on-1s. One of them frustrated Thomas, who thought he should have gotten a better break.


Nice breakup by CB Stoney Woodson of a deep ball down the left sideline from Bomar to WR Shaun Bodiford. Diving play to get a hand on the ball.


I know pass coverage isn't supposed to be LB Clint Sintim's strength, but he's looked pretty darn good in that department since he showed up at rookie camp. Monday, he dropped nicely into the flat on a few plays and even had a nice breakup on a quick out from QB Andre' Woodson to TE Lee Vickers.


Couple of nice disruptions inside by DT Anthony Bryant.


Holding on OT Orrin Thompson and then he got beat for a sack by DE Tommie Hill. The play continued, of course, which allowed Bomar to hit Hagan deep for a TD.




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August 3, 2009

Moss, Phillips early camp stars again


Some things never seem to change. And that includes the Training camp stars.


Among the most impressive players at the first practice of camp today were spring sensation Sinorice Moss and last year’s camp darling Kenny Phillips. Moss, the small-but-speedy receiver continued to burn the Giants’ defensive backs on nearly every play he ran. And Phillips, who dazzled us all last summer with his big plays and big hits, opened camp with two interceptions.


As for everyone else … well, let’s just say practice wasn’t good. On the second play, RT Kareem McKenzie false started. On the third play, DT Jay Alford jumped off sides. Eli Manning’s first pass was a wobbly duck as ugly as any he threw in the playoffs last year that ended up dying in front of his deep receiver in triple coverage. And there were too many botched center-quarterback exchanges to count.


“Like I told the players,” Tom Coughlin said after it was all over, “it’s a process.”


Yes it is. Here are a few highlights of the start of that process:


• Moss’ first time getting behind the defense was really a gimmie. Someone must have blown the coverage because LBs Bryan Kehl and Antonio Pierce were giving chase and S Michael Johnson was late coming over. Moss still made the catch, though he had to hold up for the underthrown pass from QB David Carr.


• Welcome to the NFL, rook. LT William Beatty, the Giants’ second of two second-round picks, was badly burned early by a healthy looking DE Osi Umenyiora.


• Maybe the best play of camp was turned in by CB Stoney Woodson, who raced deep against WR Shaun Bodiford on a pretty nice pass from QB Rhett Bomar. Woodson was beaten, but recovered to get a hand up and break up the pass.


• Speaking of Bomar … Advantage: him, in the battle for the third-quarterback job. On an off morning for the quarterbacks, he seemed to have mostly crisp, straight, spiral throws.


• Steve Smith, the defacto No. 1 receiver, showed he won’t be limited by his 5-11 height, by reaching way up on the sidelines for a high pass from Manning.


• I mentioned Phillips’ two interceptions. One was of the spectacular variety, with an assist from CB Corey Webster who tipped the ball up in the air, allowing Phillips to locate it and settle under for the catch.


• A down-the-depth-chart-moment for TE Lee Vickers, making a nice, reaching catch on a pass from Bomar thrown way behind him in 7 on 7 drills.


• I watched Domenik Hixon, Moss, Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw work on punt returns. Manningham had a nice one, showing a lot of burst and moves on a run up the middle. Moss followed with a nearly duplicate run on the next play. Of course, keep in mind there’s no tackling so it’s hard to know how good those returns really were.


• CB Aaron Ross had a nice interception late when he jumped in front of Smith on a deep Manning pass. He popped up off the ground without his helmet for the run back. I assume he was down, but the play was out of my view.


• DE Justin Tuck was held out of the morning practice for “precautionary” reasons, Coughlin said, presumably related to the foot injury that hampered him late last season. He’s expected to go this afternoon. DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) and DT Barry Cofield (knee) both practiced this morning, but won’t this afternoon.”


• Yes, LB Antonio Pierce was on the field, and no there’s no news on the grand jury yet. Coughlin said his attitude, despite the distractions, was “outstanding”




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Charting the first practice


50 m ago By Tom Rock


Here's the chart of the 11-on-11 plays from this morning's practice. Off to talk with players now. Back later with some notes. As always, the QB is in parenthesis.


First Series

Jacobs run right (Manning) Webster stop

Offsides on McKenzie (Manning)

Bradshaw run right (Manning) Alford jumps

Inc. pass to Hixon (Manning) high pass on slant

Inc. pass to Smith (Manning) PA deep, a poor spiral, Thomas in coverage

Ware run left (Manning) Sintim tackle

Inc. pass for Moss (Manning) Dockery coverage

Inc. pass for Tyree (Woodson) dropped by Tyree on a slant

Brown run right (Woodson)

Patrick run left (Woodson) stuffed

Pass to Moss (Carr) PA deep, Moss beat Webster, first completion of camp

Ware run left (Carr)

Inc. pass to Barden (Carr)

Patrick run right (Carr) Blackburn stop

Offsides defense (Carr) Canty grabs Carr’s jersey

Brown run left (Carr)

Pass to Hagan (Carr) PA, pressure from Kiwanuka, Thomas slipped in coverage

Botched snap (Bomar) Koets at center

Inc. pass for Bodiford (Bomar) deep down left sideline tipped away by Woodson

Brown run left (Bomar)


Second Series


Jacobs run left (Manning) Umenyiora stop

Bradshaw pitch left (Manning)

Pass to Smith (Manning)

Pass to Smith (Manning) Kehl sack

Ware run right (Carr)

Pass to Manningham (Carr) left side

Ware run right (Carr)

Pass to Brown (Carr) underneath

Botched snap (Woodson) Koets at center

Patrick run right (Woodson)

Pass to Tyree (Woodson)

Brown run left (Woodson) DeOssie stop


Third Series


Jacobs run right (Manning) Clark and Kiwanuka stop

INT by Ross (Manning) deep pass left sideline for Smith

Pass to Manningham (Manning) Ross slipped in coverage, Manningham on 1 knee

Bradshaw run left (Manning) Hedgecock block on Kehl

Inc. pass (Carr) stuffed by jumping Canty

Ware run right (Carr)

Brown run left (Carr) stumbles

Pass Bodiford (Carr) Travonti Johnson in coverage

Hagan pass (Bomar) deep down left sideline, step on Woodson

Patrick run left (Bomar) DeOssie stop

Botched snap (Bomar) Koets at center

Brown run left (Bomar) not a clean snap either



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coughlin press conference


AUGUST 3, 2009



Good morning, good morning. It is a nice beautiful day and everybody decided to come out. No umbrellas? What can I do for you?

Q. Coach, how did the first practice go?


A. It went. Like I told the players, it is a process. Everybody was excited about being out here. Everybody was out early. I think defensively it started out okay, offensively a little slow. I think as practice went on it got a little better on both sides. You know, there are an awful lot of things I wanted to tell them about, which is normal after the first practice. We are out here and thank God we are on the field. That is all we were concerned about, obviously to have a day like this. We got chased off those bottom fields, but we may get down there this afternoon.


Q. How important is it to get some of these young players experience so they can help this team come September?


A. It is important that they all get reps right now, and they do. Everybody has reps and everybody is working. That is the only way we can evaluate and see how things will all fit together. Then, of course, those young guys have to learn. I just told them this morning, I said it is great, the enthusiasm, but it has to be maintained. They are going to have to show that stay-power to stay out here, and that is the only way to improve.


Q. You said that every team is different. I suppose then every unit and every position is group is different every single year. Out of your wide receiver unit this year what do you expect and what do you think of them?


A. I expect them, even with the influx of the younger guys, I expect them to come along. They need to make a contribution. I think we have some players that have been here, that have proven that they can play. They are solid players, we certainly need more out of all of those guys. We need some of these younger guys who we have invested in to step up and be contributors.


Q. Are you comfortable that you did enough in the off-season at wide receiver without bringing in a veteran?


A. I think so. We’ll see how we work. After going through the spring with these guys I became more comfortable. Also, don’t forget, Sinorce ( Moss) had a nice spring. Steve Smith knows exactly what he is being asked to do at this point in time. Mario Manningham had a nice off-season. We are going to have to see the continued growth of those guys, but they were all brought here. They were high draft choices. They were brought here for a reason. We were encouraged by the spring.


Q. The fact that you didn’t bring in anybody that would fit the same mold as Burress in terms of height?


A. I think Ramses Barden is that guy, I am hoping. He is going to have to learn on the fly. A lot of these guys are going to have to learn on the fly. Hopefully, with the team that we have and our ability to run the ball, then we can learn how to complement each other. We need to take full advantage of that. Like I said, a lot of these guys have done a good job and performed better in the spring. I am looking to forward to that.


Q. Do you like the high expectations and the idea of setting the bar high?


A. I think that is a good thing. I like to be in that position.


Q. Justin Tuck sitting out this morning. Are you planning on one a days?


A. Right now that’s it.


Q. What’s the next step in deciding whether you will be back in Albany next year?


A. Did you ask me that question yesterday? You are all over that one, aren’t you? Can we have this camp here, please, and see how that goes. Let’s leave that up to the owners. That is probably going to be more of a decision on part of ownership.


Q. Tom, is Osi (Umenyiora) going to practice in the afternoon?


A. No, today he won’t, and (Barry) Cofield will not practice this afternoon either.


Q. What do you look at in a practice like that Tom? Are you more focused on some of those drops or some of the nice big plays?


A. I am more focused on the center-quarterback exchange, to be honest with you. Holy smokes. It is not exactly very fitting to have that take place. It seems as if that combination did have a little problem this spring, and they still do. Andre (Woodson) had a little problem with it, as well.


Q. Chris Canty played a lot of defensive tackle today. Is that where we will see him this season?


A. That is where he will start out.


Q. This wide receiver group, what does this group mean to Eli (Manning), if anything, going into this season?


A. What does it mean?


Q. Yes, having this group of players, as opposed to having an Amani Toomer who was so reliable in the past?


A. Well they have to work their way through that knowledge of each other and that is an ongoing thing. You are not going to answer that in one practice. We did have a spring, and it was encouraging. I think Eli feels the same way. Let’s get these guys out here and get them going. Get communicating with the quarterback, make sure the quarterback understands how they interact. Make sure the receiver understands what his adjustments are, what his responsibilities are. Push this down the road a ways before we draw any conclusions.


Q. Do you see Eli taking more of a leadership role with those receivers now that he is the veteran guy of that combination?


A. Well, he has taken a leadership role with those guys, no matter if he was a veteran or not. That is his job. With each year, he shows more ownership, if that is what you are asking.


Q. How impressed are you with Kenny Phillips’ two picks today?


A. Yeah, I was. Those were two outstanding plays, too. I was back here cheering, keep it up, keep it up.


Q. A question about Antonio Pierce. Given what he is going through today, how would you assess his mood and performance?


A. Outstanding. He couldn’t wait to get here to practice. He couldn’t wait to get into the football environment.


Q. Have you been able to talk to him one-on-one about the situation?


A. Nope, I don’t have to. I did all that talking in the spring. I talked to him, I believe, just prior to his going before the grand jury and wished him well.


Q. Are you concerned about Tuck being able to go one a day now?


A. No, as far as just going one a day. Certainly I am concerned any time that a guy is held out for whatever reason, but I think this is more precautionary than anything else.


Q. Coach, you mentioned Pierce’s mood, what was your mood seeing him out on the field, instead of all the other distractions?


A. My mood is always very mellow.


Q. Tom, what would you say to Hakeem Nicks as far as expectations, first round pick, everybody is kind of expecting a lot of him. Do you take him aside and talk to him about that?


A. Not in those words. But you are certainly very encouraging with the young guys. For example, he came back in outstanding shape. So we were encouraged. We acknowledged that. You know, he is a kid who always has a smile on his face, which is a really good thing. He is kind of a happy guy, who has gotten himself in good condition. He wanted definitely to be here. He didn’t want to miss that first practice. As we move forward here, and camp unfolds I think on a daily basis, there will be more information shared with him about what the expectation level is. Right now, those guys are up to here trying to learn what to do. That is the first thing, let’s see if they can comprehend all the things we are asking them to do.


Q. What are the specifics of Tuck’s injury?


A. There is no injury. We are just being precautionary.



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-Pat Kirwan had very good things to say about Barden- was surprised how well he cut.


-Also praised S. Smith as one of the best slot receivers in league.


-Did not sound enthused on Moss- cited his one drop. Ref. Manningham, claimed he is Eli's favorite target.


-General comment on passing game- MANY more deep passes in practice vs last year.


On running game:


- Kirwan thinks Andre Brown pick was "highway robbery"- impressed with pass-catching, called him a 2nd and 7 back (to threaten run/pass)


On Defense:


- Canty looking very quick, sees him causing havoc over Guards due to height/leverage.


- Bernard will see pass rush and run stopping reps.


- Suprisingly positive on Wilk.- Kirwan and TRyan indicated they saw him as best Boley replacement- all about health


- K Phillips "is everywhere"- TRyan opined that the light has come on noticeably.


- Kirwan expect T. Thomas to push to start.


****Expect long-term deal done for Eli by end of camp, Kirwan speculated 16million/year.













from sirius radio

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Quarterback Eli Manning bounces back in NY Giants afternoon training camp practice


by Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger

Monday August 03, 2009, 5:52 PM


Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a very good afternoon practice.

Your afternoon, indictment-free practice report for Monday:



QB Eli Manning shook off a rough morning practice to come back strong in the afternoon. He found TE Kevin Boss on an out and WR Steve Smith on a comeback near the right side. Great catch by Smith, who reached high over his head and got both feet down in bounds on the way down. Manning later delivered a beauty of a ball to Smith, who easily got by CB Aaron Ross.


Still, the defensive back seven made enough plays to finish off a very good day for the DBs. CB Corey Webster broke up a later attempt of Manning to find Smith deep right. Sure, Webster gave Smith a nudge, but it's too early in camp to throw a flag on that one. (Plus, the refs aren't here yet to throw one anyway.)


DT Chris Canty jumped early once again this afternoon. Maybe he's getting adjusted to being closer to the center in the 4-3.


But later in practice, Canty made up for his mental mistake by absolutely blowing past OT William Beatty for what would have been a sack. Beatty panicked and grabbed Canty either high on the jersey or on the facemask. Wherever he held on, Beatty didn't make Tom Coughlin happy.


Nice athletic play by LB Danny Clark to reach up and bat away a seam pass Manning tried to loop over his head. Clark made a stop on a run on the following play by fighting off a block from TE Michael Matthews.


DE Mathias Kiwanuka had just a little too much speed for LT David Diehl on one rush. And then, he had too much speed for the snap, as he was offside on one play later in practice.



LB Chase Blackburn showed great closing speed to chase down RB Danny Ware on a sweep. Is it possible Blackburn has gotten faster? Because he really moved on that play.


Outstanding shed of WR David Tyree by CB Terrell Thomas on a counter run back to his side. Thomas got rid of Tyree in a hurry. Dare I say he pwned him.


After a pretty good morning, QB David Carr was shaky this afternoon. He didn't seem to get much on a quick throw over the middle for RB Andre Brown that was picked off by LB Bryan Kehl, he had a short hook for WR Hakeem Nicks broken up by CB DeAndre Wright and overshot WR Ramses Barden on a deep ball.


There's TE Darcy Johnson catching a ball on a 10-yard out from Carr. And there's Darcy Johnson having one ball glance off his fingertips and another doink off his hands for a bad drop.



Barden wrestled a ball away from CB Stoney Woodson on a hook from QB Andre' Woodson. If that sounds familiar, it's because Barden has been winning battles for balls with DBs since rookie camp. Good sign for a guy that might be needed to win some jump balls in the red zone. Also, he caught a hook in traffic from QB Rhett Bomar.


Really good ball from Andre' Woodson to WR Domenik Hixon on a deep in. Even better ball on a go to WR Sinorice Moss for a long bomb.


Wright had his second PD of the afternoon on a quick-hook throw by Bomar. One play later, fellow late-round pick Stoney Woodson gave up a deep in from Bomar to WR Taye Biddle.


They weren't kidding when they said they'd find new ways to use TE Travis Beckum. This afternoon, he came around the backfield, following Moss. Andre' Woodson faked the handoff to Moss and then handed it to Beckum, who had Moss as a lead blocker. Needless to say, DE Tommie Hill made the stop in the backfield. Um, they'd better can that play quickly.


Or not - they ran it again with RB Ahmad Bradshaw taking the handoff and WR Shaun Bodiford blocking. DE Maurice Evans made the easy stop on that one.


RB Allen Patrick got caught looking upfield too early on a swing pass he dropped.




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And now back to football ...


There was a football practice this afternoon. You remember football, right? It’s the thing where I don’t need a law or criminal justice degree to do my job.


Antonio Pierce practiced. That’s the last time I’m going to mention him in this entry.


Here are the rest of the notes from the afternoon session:


• Last year I overused the line “Sinorice Moss giveth, and Sinorice Moss taketh away.” Here’s why: In the afternoon session he continued his hot play by making a nice stretching grab over the middle. … A few plays later he bobbled an easy catch right into the waiting hands of CB Kevin Dockery … and a few plays later he burned Dockery badly on a deep route. Still 95 percent good so far for Moss, but consistency is what the coaches will be looking for.


• Consistency, like that exhibited by Steve Smith. He makes a nice, stretching grab along the sidelines in the morning, then does it again in the afternoon.


• QB Eli Manning made a nice recovery from an ugly morning session by throwing with a little more zip and accuracy on his passes in the afternoon. So he’s finally earning that $120 million contract that, in all seriousness, I’m hearing he’s getting closer to finally getting.


• Mario Manningham (who, by the way, told me today his first name is pronounced MAHH-RIO) made the catch of the day, a leaping grab on an inside route on a bullet pass thrown by Manning right over CB Terrell Thomas and S Michael Johnson.


• Welcome again to the NFL, rook. LT William Beatty, who was burnt by Osi Umenyiora in the morning, was toasted by Chris Canty in the afternoon. As a way of recovering, he grabbed Canty’s facemask. Not good.


• LB Bryan Kehl took reps with the second team at weakside linebacker, while Gerris Wilkinson took his shot with the 1s, but Kehl made his mark with an interception of a David Carr pass.


• Ramses Barden apparently isn’t a deep threat. He’s got a big, slow stride that CB Aaron Ross had no trouble keeping up with on a deep route. Not surprisingly he had no chance to catch up to an overthrown Carr pass. He did make a nice catch low to the ground on a much shorter route. He actually made several short receptions, which seem more suited to his skills.


• Hakeem Nicks caught a pass this afternoon. That’s notable since I’m pretty sure it was his first reception of camp.


• Steve Smith, who swears he can be a big play threat on the outside, got way, way, way behind CB Aaron Ross and S Kenny Phillips and caught a long touchdown on a beautiful deep pass from Manning. Ross appeared to pull up and I thought he was limping, but he was back a few plays later.


• LB Danny Clark made a nice play on a lazy lob by Manning, who was trying to go over the defense to TE Lee Vickers.


• G Rich Seubert was out of the afternoon session with a sore shoulder and was replaced by Tutan Reyes. As expected, DT Barry Cofield (knee) sat out. DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) was supposed to sit out, too, but he apparently convinced the coaches to let him work at least in the individual drills.




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AUGUST 3, 2009


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Antonio Pierce is free and clear and so at last are the Giants from any lingering distractions from Plaxico Burress’ shooting incident last year.


A Manhattan grand jury today declined to indict Pierce, who was with Burress at a Manhattan nightclub last Nov. 29, when the former Giants wide receiver accidently shot himself in the thigh. Both Pierce and Burress testified before the grand jury last week. The Giants released Burress on April 3. The grand jury indicted Burress on two felony counts of second degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment.


The Giants had firmly believed that Pierce should not be indicted. Last week, team president John Mara released a statement saying an indictment would be “unwarranted” because “there was no criminal intent” by Pierce. Today, the grand jury concurred.


“We certainly agree with the grand jury's decision,” Mara said after the official announcement that Pierce would not be indicted. “We said last week we felt strongly that Antonio's actions did not warrant criminal charges, and obviously the grand jury, having heard all of the testimony, felt the same way.”


“This was an extremely serious matter that Antonio and our organization responded to in an appropriate way,” Chairman Steve Tisch said. “Needless to say, we are happy with the decision announced today by the Manhattan district attorney's office.”


Before today’s announcement, coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants players were subjected to numerous questions about Pierce and whether or not the uncertainty about an indictment were distracting to the team as it began training camp. Now Pierce and everyone else can concentrate solely on football.


“Antonio is a leader on this team, but he is still human, and this has been an emotionally draining experience for him,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “We know he was happy to get to training camp yesterday, and with this behind him, he can focus all his energy and efforts on football. He took this matter very seriously.”


“As I said yesterday, we are anxious to start the new season, nobody more than Antonio,” Coughlin said. “Today's decision allows him and this team to move forward and focus on our preparation for the season.”




*The Giants today held their first two training camp practices at the University at Albany.


“Like I told the players, it is a process,” Coughlin said. “Everybody was excited about being out here. Everybody was out early. I think defensively it started out okay, offensively a little slow. I think as practice went on it got a little better on both sides. You know, there are an awful lot of things I wanted to tell them about, which is normal after the first practice.”


Although tackles Fred Robbins (physically unable to perform list) and Rocky Bernard (non-football injury) are not eligible to be on the field, the Giants are rationing the practice time of some other defensive linemen. End Justin Tuck did not work in the morning and tackle Barry Cofield sat out the afternoon session. Osi Umenyiora was limited to individual drills in the afternoon. Umenyiora missed all of last season with a knee injury and Tuck and Cofield had offseason surgeries.


Mathias Kiwanuka worked with the first-team defense at left end in the morning and at right end in the afternoon. Jay Alford stepped into Robbins’ tackle spot. Free agent acquisition Chris Canty, who can play both positions, lined up at tackle for Cofield.


“That is where he will start out,” Coughlin said of Canty.


Safety Kenny Phillips was an early standout, intercepting two passes in a seven-on-seven drill in the morning. On the first pick, he broke on the ball and grabbed it running full speed. Moments later, Eli Manning tried to hit Steve Smith down the right sideline, but cornerback Corey Webster tipped the ball to Phillips.


“Those were two outstanding plays,” Coughlin said. “I was back there cheering, ‘Keep it up, keep it up.’”


Phillips, last year’s No. 1 draft choice, is now a starter and he is playing with both a renewed confidence and a better understanding of the playbook.


“You can always get better, but I’m happy with it, creating some turnovers on defense – that’s the biggest thing,” Phillips said.


Cornerback Aaron Ross also made an eye-popping interception, which he returned up the sideline despite having his helmet knocked off.


Other practice highlights included Sinorice Moss catching a long pass from David Carr; Derek Hagan hauling in a long Carr pass after Terrell Thomas slipped; Smith making a nice sideline grab while being blanketed by Ross; and tight end Lee Vickers making a couple of impressive catches.


In the afternoon, Mario Manningham made a terrific catch over the middle in the seven-on-seven; Kevin Dockery intercepted a pass that was bobbled by Moss – who later caught a long pass down the right side from Andre’ Woodson; Manning and Smith hooked up for a long completion on the left sideline; Linebacker Bryan Kehl also had an interception; Gerris Wilkinson played weakside linebacker with the first team after Kehl manned that spot in the morning; Guard Rich Seubert missed the afternoon workout with a sore shoulder and was replaced by Tuten Reyes.


*There were also a couple of lowlights in the morning, most notably three botched snaps with backup Adam Koets at center.


“Holy smokes,” Coughlin said. “It is not exactly very fitting to have that take place. It seems as if that combination did have a little problem this spring, and they still do. (Quarterback) Andre’ (Woodson) had a little problem with it, as well.”


*Former NFL wide receiver Keenan McCardell and college coach Alonso Escalente

are working with the Giants’ staff in camp as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship.


McCardell played wide receiver in the NFL for 16 years (1992-2007), including a six-year stint with Coughlin’s Jacksonville Jaguars (1996-2001). He caught 883 passes for 11,373 yards and 63 touchdowns. McCardell had more receptions (499) and yards (6,393) playing for Jacksonville than his combined totals with Cleveland, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Washington. He scored 30 touchdowns under Coughlin.


“He was a great player,” Coughlin said. “He’s just a battler. He is one of those guys that started on the low end of the totem pole and kept going.”


McDardell is enjoying the opportunity to work again with Coughlin.


“It’s fun,” he said. “It brings back old memories. Being on the coaching side now is a little different, but he’s still the same guy. He demands the same things from his coaches that he demands from his players – which is good. He believes in one team and one family.”


McCardell has previously expressed to Coughlin his interest in coaching. Coughlin was convinced a receiver with McCardell’s wealth of experience would be an asset to his group of young wideouts.


“I enjoy the game,” McCardell said. “He always said if you love the game you’ll still be around it, and he loves the game just like I love the game. It’s fun to be able to get back out here and teach guys and show guys how to play this game and how to preserve this game to be the best sport there is.”


“Keenan expressed a desire to learn a little bit more about the coaching profession,” Coughlin said. “We talked in the offseason and when the opportunity came – seeing as how we have some young receivers – it seemed like a natural for us to have Keenan here. He can work with them on the little things and talk to them about how they need to act, their mannerisms and some of the little subtleties at the position. Keenan was a very, very smart player who knew all positions, knew the quarterback’s reads – the whole deal. He was really a tough, tough receiver. He’d go over the middle, he’d get banged around; I remember he had a separated shoulder and he still practiced and played. He didn’t want to miss a thing.


“Keenan also has that natural gift of enthusiasm. You watch him at practice and during the drills and you can see that he enjoys what he’s doing. It’s a really nice combination to have our coaching staff and the ability and the experience we have there and then have Keenan here in the capacity of a guy who is recognized as an outstanding player and can really share the details of the position with the young receivers.”


McCardell looks at young receivers like Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks and sees a little of himself when his career was in its infancy.


“(I tell) the receivers to believe in their talent,” McCardell said. “Don’t second-guess yourself. You’ve been coached to do certain things. Do them and let your talent come out. All these guys have great talent, but they may not be as confident as they should. At that position, you have to have confidence to be successful. You have to be confident on the field and a consummate pro off the field.”


While he’s visiting the Giants’ training camp, McCardell will help show the Giants receivers how that’s done.


Escalente is the linebackers coach at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., where, ironically, the Baltimore Ravens’ camp is held.


*The Giants worked for the first time with their new TIMEX Performance Center patches on their practice jerseys. The team’s new training facility in East Rutherford was recently named the TIMEX Performance Center.


*Today’s attendance of 2,530 was the second-largest on an opening day in the Giants’ 14 years at UAlbany. The first-day record of 2,910 was set last year.



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