Surprise, Surprise

(AP Photo/Mike Groll & Tim Roske)

Palmer and Schwartz have been on hand at every practice in Albany this summer. They debate what has been camp's biggest surprise to this point. It should be of no surprise that they disagree.

Paul Schwartz: As the days turn into weeks, training camp with the Giants gets more and more interesting. At this time a year ago, there was no possible way I ever would have envisioned this team evolving into a Super Bowl contender, much less a Super Bowl champion. Imagine my surprise. As for this summer, there are already aspects to camp that caught me a bit off-guard.

No, not Kenny's ability to eat and drink in large quantities. I've seen that act before. With the loss in free agency of Gibril Wilson, the team's top safety, I figured safety would be a position that might struggle early in camp and might be a bit depleted in terms of talent. Well, nothing is guaranteed just yet but my updated impression is the Giants have enough ability and skill at the safety position.

Four players are vying for the two starting spots and there's athleticism, a blend of youth and experience and some highly-competitive individuals fighting for jobs. James Butler has been praised by the coaches for being "the brains" of the unit in the secondary and he looks better than=2 0he did a year ago. Michael Johnson in his second year clearly has a better understanding of what's going on and he gets to the ball in a hurry.

The two newcomers are intriguing. Sammy Knight is a savvy veteran who, once he gets acclimated, will hit like a ton of bricks. If his legs hold up, he'll work his way into the lineup at strong safety. Kenny Phillips, the first-round pick, is a stud in waiting. It's a matter of when with him, not if, and the sooner the better for the Giants.

Ken Palmer: There's no question that the safeties have been very impressive in Albany, but that should hardly be surprising. Knight's been a regular producer in this league for more than a decade and you could tell from the first second you saw Phillips practice that he's certainly going to be the real deal. The range he possesses and his ability to get from Point A to Point B in a flash have been eye-opening.

But the real surprise of camp so far is the wide receiver depth. With Plaxico Burress on the sideline, it's given a guy like Domenik Hixon a shot to prove his worth – and he's certainly done so. And while we all already know what Amani Toomer and Steve Smith can do, Sinorice Moss has really started to emerge in this camp, which is a bit of a surprise in itself. Michael Jennings has strong return ability and Mario Manningham is a lock if nothing else because he was the third-round pick.

Then, three basic newcomers have also strongly thrown their hats into the ring. D.J. Hall, Craphonso Thorpe and former practice squadder Brandon London have all shown serious signs of being able to play in this league. And no, we didn't forget about Super Bowl hero David Tyree; it looks like he'll start the season on the PUP list wile he recovers from knee surgery. But as for the rest of the WR crop, let's just say it's going to be quite a tough cut for Tom Coughlin and Co. at the receiver position.

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