The afternoon session started early with the Giants place kickers, Matt Bryant and Mike Hollis, heading out to the practice fields to get a little extra work in before the actual practice began at 3:00 pm. Both kickers matched each other kick for kick, with quarterbacks Jason Garrett and Jesse Palmer sharing the holding duties, and Ryan Kuehl perfect on every long snap. They were joined shortly thereafter by the Giants punters, Steve Cheek and Jeff Feagles. Once the rest of the Giants squad hit the field the order of the day seemed to be individual work outs with each unit getting instruction from their various position coaches.
The Giants new quarterback coach, Turk Schonert, had all four Giant quarterbacks working on footwork and release points. Kerry Collins took the role of instructor with street free agent quarterback Ryan Van Dyke. Collins was working with Van Dyke on three step drops and raising the ball level to achieve a quicker release.
Offensive line coach, Jim McNally, held court with his offensive linemen and went through several footwork and blocking drills, with special attention being paid to rookie David Diehl and second year offensive tackle Jeff Hatch. What McNally was trying to get across to both was the importance of a quick first step off the snap and exploding into the block. All of the offensive linemen that dressed took reps in both pass blocking and run blocking drills. As always with a McNally coached group, their mini session was spirited with plenty of one-on-one instruction given in between the reps.
The Giants wide receivers, with coach Jimmy Robinson, spent their time together working on running tight routes, with a lot of emphasis placed on remaining fluid throughout the pattern. Amani Toomer spent some extra time with rookies Kevin Walter and David Tyree, telling them both not to cut their routes short and explaining the importance of keeping your hands close to your body when going across the middle until the ball is released by the quarterback.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants cornerbacks and safeties worked on agility drills. Defensive backs coach, DeWayne Walker, spent several minutes with fourth round pick Roderick Babers going over specific assignments in certain cover schemes.
After the individual workouts with position coaches the Giants spent about 30 minutes in various 7-on-7 drills. This saw some of the first contact of training camp, with safety Johnnie Harris getting tangled up with tight end Marcellus Rivers. Later in same session Harris stepped in front of rookie tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and picked off a Jesse Palmer pass.
The Giants wide receivers looked to be in mid season form with Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard and Tim Carter all making nice catches in traffic. Tight end Jeremy Shockey caught two separate tight end screens and showed no signs of the nagging turf toe injury that bothered him much of 2002.
In the later stages of the session the Giants went to a live scrimmage format, and Keith Hamilton, who had sat out the morning session, made his presence felt with a big hit on a Ron Dayne run up the middle. Linebacker Kevin Lewis got into the act with a nice run stop of Dorsey Levens.
Overall, for the first time the Giants were in full pads in 2003, the practice session was fairly crisp. However, the contact, as you would expect, was limited and it was difficult to gather much about the effectiveness of the offensive or defensive lines. As the Giants get a couple days into camp things will flesh out in these areas.
At the end of practice coach Fassel gathered the team around and stressed hydration and pacing yourself to the players. He also pointed out that the tempo and urgency of the practices would increase as camp goes on. There were no significant injuries. Tim Carter left the practice a few minutes early because of dehydration.
After the players ran their sprints, tight end coach Mike Pope did some individual drills with all six of the tight ends on the roster. The focus was run blocking. Visanthe Shiancoe, Dan O'Leary, and Mark Inkrott were all being instructed on how to use their hands effectively and to keep their hips positioned correctly in order to hold blocks longer. Jeremy Shockey also helped during the extra 20 minute class, and all the tight ends took turns in each phase of the blocking drill. They also spent a few minutes on catching tipped passes, with Darnell Dinkins showing good hands and athleticism and geting the praise of coach Pope.
Several of the defensive backs stayed out with coach Walker focusing on assignments and positioning in certain packages.
Overall, the Giants seemed very business like and up beat throughout the hour and 45 minutes of practice.