The majority of the two hour practice was devoted to individual drills. Early in camp this affords the opportunity for the Giants position coaches to spend a great deal of time instructing with their particular unit. After the players stretched out thoroughly, they broke down with their position coaches
Today saw some of the first hints, on the defensive side of the ball, of actual scheme being introduced by defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn and secondary coach DeWayne Walker. Rookie defensive backs Rod Babers, Frank Walker, and Charles Drake got some personalized attention, going over defensive secondary calls and making adjustments in their positioning on the field. Like with most rookies, the process takes time and you could see some hesitation when certain defensive schemes were called out.
Safety Johnnie Harris, who had a strong practice yesterday afternoon, continued to look impressive both in individual drills and the 7-on-7 sessions, as well as in a full scrimmage format. Babers had an easier time in this morning's practice then he did in yesterday's session. And Ralph Brown, who struggled yesterday as well, looked much improved and showed good cover skills throughout the practice.
Free agent cornerback pickup Ray Green has looked very smooth and comfortable in the Giants system so far, going up mainly against the Giants youngsters. Safety Shaun Williams seems to be the clear leader of the secondary and could be seen a number of times going over assignments with the entire unit.
The offensive and defensive lines got to go at each other in both run blocking and pass blocking drills. First, second, and third string units went up against their counterparts, with defensive line coach Denny Marcin and offensive line coach Jim McNally instructing their charges after every rep. For the second day in a row, rookie David Diehl got some personalized instruction on technique from McNally. The offensive linemen, as a whole, were incorporating a slide technique into their pass blocking scheme.
Some of the more interesting battles had Frank Ferrara taking down guard Rich Seubert and, in typical Ferrara fashion, he seemed to enjoy doing so. Offensive tackle Jeff Hatch went up against free agent defensive end John Frank in what was the most contact of the morning, considering players were not in full pads. Defensive end Keith Washington seemed to get the better of offensive tackle Barrett Brooks. Defensive tackle Keith Hamilton practiced again without limitations and without missing a rep.
Coach Fassel personally handled the running backs as they went through various blocking drills. Running backs coach Eric Studesville, along with assistant special teams coach Mike Priefer, worked individually with both running back Delvin Joyce and Antonio Warren on assignments in pass blocking. Dorsey Levens and Brian Mitchell were both giving their time and advice to fullback Charles Stackhouse and free agent addition fullback/ H-back Jim Finn.
All four quarterbacks again, as they did yesterday, went through a series of drills. They've even incorporated using medicine balls as a way to promote arm strength. During their warm ups, along with quarterback coach Turk Schonert, all four quarterbacks did a series of drills involving coordinating their footwork while still being able to negotiate throwing the medicine ball.
Many of the Giants backs and receivers fielded punts and kick offs, albeit with the use of the ball machine. Even running back Ron Dayne got into the act, although there was no return involved and the purpose of the drill was simply to field the kicks. Both special teams coaches worked on blocking techniques on both kick offs and punts, as well as setting up in kick coverage. Both the place kickers and punters did not work extensively during the morning practice.
The three players the Giants placed on the physically unable to perform list yesterday worked off to the side. Wide receiver Ron Dixon seemed to be running well, as was safety Clarence LeBlanc. Offensive tackle Char-Ron Dorsey did some running as well, although limited, he also did some individual stretching and use of the blocking sled.
During 7-on-7 drills, and some 11-on-11 work later, Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard, and Tim Carter carried over their fine performances from yesterday, and the three wide receivers looked like they could start the season right now. All of them ran polished routes, and Carter and HIlliard, coming off of injuries, show no signs of any lingering problems. Amani Toomer made the catch of the day on the longest pass play of the day, a beautifully thrown ball by Kerry Collins hitting Toomer in stride for a touchdown. Jesse Palmer had a bit more zip on his ball today than yesterday, and tight end sensation Jeremy Shockey got the crowd going on a nice catch and run off a tight end screen.
One note of interest, sixth round draft pick David Tyree, who was thought to be more of a special teams contributor than a wide receivier, displayed nice hands making two nice catches in traffic. While second year wide receiver Daryl Jones dropped a pass behind the line of scrimmage and looked to be a bit behind the other receivers.
Rookie tight end Visanthe Shiancoe struggled a bit in pass blocking, and Darnell Dinkins continued to impress in this area and got plenty of work as a blocker and a pass catcher. Marcellus Rivers, who missed veterans' mini camp in June recovering from ankle surgery, seemed to be limping at the tail end of the session. But that may very well be attributed to soreness.
This session can best be described as a building block practice, whereby the coaches get a little more time than usual to instruct their players. They take what was done on the field in the morning and they reemphasize points that need to be corrected during their afternoon meeting, and then they refocus what was learned during the afternoon practice session.
Coach Fassel, in his message to the team at the end of the morning practice, made a point of getting the players to focus on what they've learned each and every day and taking it to the next level during subsequent practices.