The Giants players, as well as fans that were in attendance at the University at Albany for the afternoon session of Giants training camp, got a dose of thunder and lightning. Not from Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber but actual thunder and lightning which shortened the afternoon practice by about 15 minutes.
The Giants chose to practice on the stadium field at U Albany this afternoon, and they started the session working out in their positional groups. There was a little more emphasis with the backs and receivers on their blocking skills.
Giants RB coach Eric Studesville was instructing several of the RBs on techniques, with a lot of emphasis on holding their blocks both in the running game as well as during pass protection and blocking for receivers down field. Charles Stackhouse, as well as Barnes, both did well, with Stackhouse showing some good mobility and the ability to stick his block to the LB and hold it.
The offensive line worked extensively on sliding the protection and moving together as a unit with simulated down and distance situations being given to them, as well as some work on some zone blocking technique under the ever watchful eye of O line coach Jim McNally. Although C Dusty Zeigler was in practice gear, he was not wearing shoulder pads and only went through a partial workout with the rest of the O line.
Omar Smith played a number of snaps at center and McNally seemed pleased with the overall technique, but remember, there was no contact involved when the unit was practicing amongst itself. Later in the afternoon they did have live hitting drills against the D line and seemed to hold their own a little bit better than in previous days. However, Michael Strahan did get the better of most one on one situations.
Again, as it will be from now until the end of camp, there is an urgency and a priority given to special teams, with new special teams coach Bruce Read getting very vocal with both the punt return team and punt coverage teams. Gabe Lindstrom and Rodney Williams continue their battle, with both kicking quite well and Lindstrom having some very nice directional kicks. PK Owen Pochman continued to display his big leg in the limited amount of field goal done during the afternoon.
The team spent a good amount of time on 7 on 7 drills with Ron Dixon having a huge afternoon. Hopefully he can keep up his consistancy which seems to always be an issue with him. As the session progressed into a live scrimmage format, Dixon caught a beautiful TD pass in traffic which got a rise out of the crowd. Sean Bennett continued with some solid play at H-back, making a few nice grabs and running the ball well when called upon.
Former CFL player Antonio Warren got into the act as well with a nice grab and run after the catch. Ike Hilliard participated and looked very smooth in the 7 on 7 drills and in the live scrimmage portion of the practice. QB Jesse Palmer had a nice hook up with WR Jonathan Carter, hitting him in stride for a big game. Amani Toomer also brought the crowd to its feet with a nice grab along the sidelines, getting the praises of his teammates as well.
On running plays Tiki Barber looked as quick as ever. A new wrinkle added by OC Sean Payton for Ron Dayne had him running in a version of the counter tray. Dayne had some successful runs, but one play was blown up in the backfield by LB Kevin Lewis. Making an impact today also was DE Cedric Scott who showed some penetration on both run and pass plays, and even dropping into pass coverage on certain down and distance situations. Of course, what would Giants camp be without a fight? Today's altercation found defensive tackle Ryan Fisher mixing it up with OG Rich Seubert.
Again time was allocated today for a hydration break, with high humidity and temperatures in the low 90s. Coach Fassel used that opportunity to stress the importance of concentration during practices and a need for them to build during every practice and to get better than the previous practice.
During the limited live scrimmage session the Giants used the opportunity to work on their two TE sets with TE Jeremy Shockey starting to settle in a bit and Dan Campbell getting the brunt of the work. Shockey made a couple of nice grabs, and even this early in his pro career you can tell the seperation that he gets from the defenders and his ability to run tight routes.
The practice session ended with the Giants first units competing against one another, with the Giants offense going into its 2 minute drill package. The first unit O line at times today consisted of Rosenthal, Hopkins, Smith, Seubert, and Petitgout. The Giants did move the ball well against the defense. Howver, this session was cut short with several bolts of lightning, claps of thunder, and an eventual downpour. Needless to say, the tempo of the practices are increasing and a starting to become a little more crisp on both sides of the ball.
I would expect even more scheme to be added in the days leading up to the Monday night preseason opener. At his press conference following the practice coach Fassel said that his starters would probably play a quarter and that many of the young players would get a good long look. He said that he was pleased with Dixon's effort. But as always, he looks for consistancy and tomorrow is another day.