Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Personel: Giants

Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Personel: Giants

The specter of injury began rearing its troublesome head in the second week of training camp, which is when star running back Tiki Barber predicted it would happen.

"Guys get tired, guys get weary and some of them get lazy," Barber said. "And those are all reasons why somebody will get hurt."

There was a concussion to tight end Jeremy Shockey, troublesome knee situations for both free safety Will Demps and strong-side linebacker LaVar Arrington, a pulled quadriceps for second-round draft pick Sinorice Moss, a knee that might be more injured than previously thought for starting right guard Chris Snee and other assorted bumps, bruises and pulls.

"You have to live with this kind of thing," coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's part of the game, part of training camp. We do everything we can do minimize the risk, but injuries happen. There's no getting away from them."

Another aspect of Coughlin's attitude is the benching of certain older veterans to conserve their strength. For instance, Barber and All-Pro defensive end Michael Strahan were kept out of the first preseason game, a 17-16 victory at Baltimore. Limited roles were given to most of the starters. The offensive line didn't play into the second quarter.

Guard Rich Seubert played with both the first- and second-team lines. He replaced Snee -- as he probably will all summer and perhaps into the regular season -- and then when the second-team line came in, he moved to left guard so the coaching staff could evaluate a promising undrafted rookie, Matthew Lenz of Michigan.

Shockey and Demps collided in a practice session, both going for an Eli Manning pass, and Shockey came out of it groggy. He had a Grade 1 concussion and was back on the practice field in a few days. Demps had been restricted to one practice a day because of previous knee surgery, as was Arrington, and the latter was kept out of the Baltimore game because his knee began swelling.

"Not a problem, a normal situation with knees and working out," Arrington said. "But I knew (the media) would make an issue of it as soon as you found out."

CAMP CALENDAR: Camp at the University of Albany campus in Albany, N.Y., continues through Aug. 23. There are no special events, scrimmages or simulated games scheduled.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Offensive coordinator John Hufnagel was in the booth Friday night in Baltimore, a departure from his normal place on the sidelines. By contrast, quarterbacks coach Kevin Gilbride was on the sideline and he normally spends his game time in the booth. Coach Tom Coughlin gave no indication whether this was going to be a permanent change.

--DE Mathias Kiwanuka, the Giants' first round draft pick, had 1 1/2 sacks and a penalty for hands to the face in his first game. He came in for Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora, and at one point the two ends were the rookie Kiwanuka and second-year man Justin Tuck.

--Neither SLB LaVar Arrington nor WLB Carlos Emmons played, putting MLB Antonio Pierce on the field flanked by Chase Blackburn and Reggie Torbor. Arrington's knee began to swell from off-season surgery and Emmons was resting a burner suffered in a head-on collision with RB Brandon Jacobs on the practice field.

--Rookie free agent Michael Jennings, who has been with four NFL teams and has never played in a regular-season game, took a punt return back 57 yards for a touchdown and improved his chances of earning a roster spot. The 5-11, 175-pound Florida State product might put veteran return specialist Chad Morton at risk.

--Rookie free agent P/K Travis Dorsch doesn't have a chance of supplanting either specialist (Jeff Feagles and Jay Feely) this year, but the Giants will not allow the 6-6, 225-pound Michigan State product to get away. He almost certainly will be kept on the practice squad. Dorsch punted seven times Friday night for nearly a 48-yard average.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "What can I hope for with the first preseason game? To get it over and done with, and that's all." - Running back Tiki Barber.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

--The Giants' problem in stopping the running game up the middle was highlighted against the Ravens, and it was bad enough for coach Tom Coughlin to consider changes in the starting tackles. Currently they are William Joseph and Fred Robbins, but Jonas Seawright, Damane Duckett and rookie Barry Cofield might be worked in during the week and could even start.

--WR Michael Jennings, a free agent out of Florida State and a veteran of NFL Europe and three teams' practice squads, made inroads to a job on the Giants' final roster with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown.

"I don't want to be just a guy with a flashy car," he said.

--TE coach Mike Pope appears to be considering rookie free agent Darcy Johnson as a possible roster player. He has blocked well, and the 6-5, 252-pounder from Central Florida has shown good hands, too. Still, the job is made tougher by the presence of veterans Jeremy Shockey, Visanthe Shiancoe and Boo Williams. Only three will be kept at the position.

--QB Jared Lorenzen helped his cause against Baltimore when he was the QB of record during a fourth-quarter, 16-play, 62-yard drive that led to the game-winning field goal, a 29-yarder by Jay Feely.

"It's what we practice all the time," he said, "but it was my first time to actually be the one behind the center (on a game-winning drive)."

--Rookie free agent G Matthew Lentz (6-6, 320) has impressed the coaches and could move into a backup role or at worst earn a place on the practice squad. He was a first team all-Big Ten choice as a junior and senior.

--The Giants play Kansas City on Thursday (Aug. 17) in Giants Stadium.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: The continuing fight for the two backup QB jobs rages. Underdog Jared Lorenzen earned big points against Baltimore, and Tim Hasselbeck, the erstwhile backup, was 7-for-13 and 79 yards playing most of the second half. Rob Johnson, the other backup, did not play but will get time against Kansas City.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: RB Brandon Jacobs appears to have solidified his role as the first backup to Tiki Barber, but the loss to a broken metatarsal of Derrick Ward diluted the depth and precipitated the promotion of rookie free agent James Sims and the re-signing of Mike Jemison. Neither of them appears to have much chance.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Veteran WR Amani Toomer continues to sparkle in training camp practice sessions and, for a guy beginning his 10th season, all with the Giants, seems in better shape than ever. "I haven't lost any speed," he said. "On the other hand, I never had that much to start with."

ROOKIE REPORT:

--DE Mathias Kiwanuka had 1 1/2 sacks against the Ravens and earned this from coach Tom Coughlin: "Mathias plays the way he practices; all out and with great resiliency."

--WR Sinorice Moss (quadriceps) might get clearance to practice this week. SLB Gerris Wilkinson (6-3, 231) looked good against the Ravens and showed quickness and awareness. DT Barry Cofield got some work and will get more as the team's problems stopping the run up the middle continue. T Guy Whimper saw some action. S Charlie Peprah and CB Gerrick McPhearson have shown some special teams value.

INJURY REPORT: Minor injuries cropped up after the Ravens game, including a sprained ankle suffered by wide receiver/special teams star David Tyree and turf toe for guard Rich Seubert, who did double duty as the replacement for starter Chris Snee at RG and the starting LG on the second unit.

--WLB Carlos Emmons (burner) will be able to practice with contact.

--SLB LaVar Arrington (knee) will practice this week.

--Snee is making faster progress than was at first expected and could practice as soon as this week on a limited basis.

--Rookie WR Sinorice Moss (quadriceps) should also be ready to practice this week.

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