Paul Schwartz: Each year, there's a veteran on the roster that, as the summer advances, suddenly appears as if he's in danger of losing his job. Sometimes a head coach makes a move for shock-value, to awaken a team he sees as complacent. In his first two years, Tom Coughlin has refrained from that motivational ploy. To be fair, no coach will cut a player he believes can help him win games. With these Giants, there does not figure to be a marquee veteran in danger of getting the axe, unless you want to count Kenny Palmer, who as per usual coasted through training camp exerting as little effort as possible. I don't buy the notion that Carlos Emmons is in trouble. I can see why some would take a look at what Visanthe Shiancoe has done in camp and wonder if he's on the bubble but just take a look at what else there is at tight end. There's no one around who can block as well as Shiancoe, which is sad, but true. I don't know how the Giants jettison Shiancoe with no blocking tight end as a replacement. The one vet I can see getting a rude awakening is Curtis Deloatch. Sure, he started 13 games at cornerback last season and no doubt, he's got great size and a knack for tracking the ball and hauling it in. But he hasn't had a strong training camp, certainly not when compared to Frank Walker, who has made a determined bid to stick around for a fourth season with the Giants. R.W. McQuarters is entrenched as the nickel back and if rookie E.J. Underwood continues to impress the coaches, Deloatch could be the odd-man out if the Giants go with five cornerbacks.
Ken Palmer: Couldn't agree with you more about Deloatch. He's acting as if he has the team made and nothing could be further from the truth. He needs a strong finish to camp if he expects to make the final 53. As for Emmons and Shiancoe, however, I'd be shocked if they both made it out of camp. It's unlikely that both will be axed, but it certainly shouldn't come as much of a surprise if one or the other doesn't survive. Shiancoe has basically been a big nothing since he's been here. Nice guy, seemingly hard worker, but hardly the impact you'd expect from a third-round pick, that's for sure. As for Emmons, if only Brandon Short was healthy enough behind him this might be the end of the Giants road for him. He came into camp healthy and looking better than ever, yet he's missed his usual time with injuries. We all know he can play and play well. He needs to convince Tom Coughlin that he can and will be able to suit up more often than not.
PS: Let's move on to the rookies and check out who is on the rise. The easy money a while back was predicting a fast start for Sinorice Moss, the Miami receiver who instantly became a Coughlin favorite. Kenny, did you notice how the hard-boiled coach gets all mushy when discussing Moss. It's not even provoked. Someone says to Coughlin "Nice day to practice, huh coach?'' and Coughlin responds "Yup, and I love the way Sinorice Moss competes.'' Well, Moss didn't do much of anything in camp, missing extended time with a quad strain. Mathias Kiwanuka had a big first preseason game and is the chalk-pick as the rookie on the rise, and Underwood has been a surprising revelation. I'll leave Kenny to select the obvious choices (he's good at that) and I'll go with Barry Cofield. Now look, Cofield hasn't wowed anyone at nose tackle just yet but I have a suspicion that he'll thrust himself into the picture before long. Part of that hunch is based on the quality of the competition at nose tackle, which isn't exactly scintillating. Do you think Fred Robbins is going to hold that job down forever? Do you want to hitch your wagon to Jonas Seawright or Damane Duckett? Cofield prepares well and is a big body. That might be enough.
KP: Obviously Paul must have stayed behind in the lunchroom too often during this summer's camp and has missed the solid camp put together by Charles Peprah. He seems to have a knack for finding the ball and when he can get his hands on it, he does. Plenty of times up in Albany, the defensive coaches have lauded Peprah for a heads-up play. He seems to have the instincts and leadership abilities that can't be taught. Kind of like trying to teach Paul to write and report correctly at this advanced stage of his career. New York's fifth-round pick from Alabama is not only going to make the final 53; he's going to be around for a while. Kiwanuka seems to get better each practice and the other picks – sans Moss, of course – have all shown some signs, but Peprah is going to be the class of the lower half of this class.
PS: Isn't it silly that every year around this time there's a groundswell of complaining about the length of the preseason and the fact that teams are forced to play four preseason games? I have no doubt that two or three games is enough but I don't buy into the theory blurted out by some players that they don't need to play much, or at all, in the preseason. Clinton Portis of the Redskins got hurt and then says he wanted out of Washington's first game after his first carry. How bush league. Every player, even the veterans, need work in these games. Now, you don't want to get Tiki Barber or Michael Strahan or any other proven player banged up. Get them in, get their work, shake off the rust and get 'em out. Timing, hitting, rhythm are all aspects of the game that cannot be mastered in training camp. We both know the results of the games don't matter – they're usually decided by guys who won't be on the team in a few weeks – but the way veteran players prepare does matter. It's a necessary tune-up. And look, writers like Kenny Palmer also need these practice games to get in mental shape for concentrating for three hours on something other than the Phillies' wild card playoff chances.
KP: Oh, the Phils are in the playoff race? I didn't even notice. Yeah, like Paul doesn't notice when the frozen yogurt machine isn't working at the U-Albany dining hall. Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan – even LaVar Arrington – know how much or how little they need to play during the summer. Keeping that trio out of the opener was a smart move by Coughlin, who should basically yield to the veteran in these instances. If I were coach, my main guys wouldn't play in the first or fourth games and only minimally in the middle two. Of course the preseason is necessary, but not to the extent that Paul believes so. Why risk someone as important as Barber – or Portis – when the games mean nothing? What Portis said wasn't bush league at all – it was the truth. These highly conditioned athletes know more than enough about their own bodies to determine how much or little work they need.
Who needs to fear the Turk?
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