The Christopher Allen Report: August 8

The Giants began the session with some stretching and agility drills. Even though RB Tiki Barber is sidelined from contact drills with a rib injury he took part in the warm up portion of the practice, showing no signs of being in any pain.

When the Giants took to the practice fields Thursday afternoon they had part of their past meet their future, with former standout Giant TE Mark Bavaro getting an up close look at the Giants future in their current TE Jeremy Shockey. Bavaro watched from the sidelines, and at age 39, and several years out of the NFL, still looked like he could make defenders nervous.

The Giants began the session with some stretching and agility drills. Even though RB Tiki Barber is sidelined from contact drills with a rib injury he took part in the warm up portion of the practice, showing no signs of being in any pain.

Early on in the practice the Giants stuck with their usual training camp routine by having each particular unit get instructions from their position coaches as they broke down into their positional groups. Special teams, especially punt coverage, was worked on heavily, with both punters, Rodney Williams and Gabe Lindstrom, taking turns and working on directional kicks, with a series of cones being set up to act as targets for each punter to aim at. Williams seemed to be the most accurate as well as kicking for the most distance.

The defensive line went up against the Giants offensive line, having each unit, first, second and third, go head to head in blocking and tackling drills. The hitting was more intense than it has been thus far at camp, with the first unit offensive line holding its own pretty well against the Giants starting defensive line. It should be noted that Keith Hamilton did not participate in the afternoon session, with Ross Kolodziej and Matt Mitrione filling in at DT. LB Dhani Jones practiced fully, showing no signs of the injury that kept him out of practices earlier in camp.

The Giants offensive starting line was almost in tact except for C Dusty Zeigler who did not participate in contact drills. Jason Whittle handled the first unit C duties with Rich Seubert and Mike Rosenthal as the the guards and Luke Petitgout and Chris Bober as the tackles. Tam Hopkins also took reps at guard with the first unit.

In secondary drills the Giants were a bit thin with Sean Williams, Clarance LeBlanc, and DeWayne Patmon having only limited participation.

In 7 on 7 drills the Giants concentrated on the running game a great deal during hte afternoon with Ron Dayne getting a good deal of the carries, as well as Sean Bennett and Delvin Joyce. Antonio Warren also got a number of carries and was taking the place of the injured Tiki Barber in many formations.

During passing drills the offense seemed sharp with Collins, Palmer and Garrett throwing the ball accurately during the down and distance drills. The pace and the timing of the plays seem more crisp and fluid than they did early in camp. Something that coach Fassel has continually preached over the last two weeks.

Place kicker Owen Pochman again was given the opportunity to be the hero with his teammates when coach Fassel gathered the entire squad around Pochman and announced that if he made a 40 yard field goal, there would be no wind sprints at the end of practice. With many words of encouragement from his teammates during the kick Pochman booted it right through to the cheers of every Giant on the field.

The last third of the practice saw the most hitting of the afternoon with a live scrimmage format being used and under different down and distance situations. Sean Bennett took a big hit from safety Sean Williams, having coach Fassel warn the squad about not getting overly aggressive and causing injuries to their own teammates. DE Frank Ferraro also put a shot on Bennett, knocking him to the ground with a thud that could be heard all around the practice field.

Defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn was extremely vocal, especially when the offense got inside the 10 yard line. He could be heard urging his defensive unit not to give up precious territory and that one of the things a defense is judged on is how they respond with their backs to the wall. On running plays from the 10 yard line in, the defense stiffened, pushing back most of the running attempts, especially when it was first unit against first unit.

QB Jason Garrett hit TE Marcellus Rivers with a nice TD strike, getting the crowd excited.

One of the things that could be noticed, and a new wrinkle that was added to the O line that hasn't been seen at camp so far, was more of an emphasis on tandem blocking. As the defensive schemes shifted, the first unit O line could be seen making adjustments and placing the appropriate double teams.

Also, the offense incorporated nicely lots of two TE sets with Campbell and Shockey and using motion to effectively get positive matchups. Even Ron Dayne got into the act in a package that saw him motion out to be split out wide and make a nice catch in the flat.

CB Jason Sehorn, even though he did not participate in contact drills with the team, worked out extensively on his own doing repeated agility drills, as well as straight sprints and backpedal drills. He seems to be moving quite well as the muscles around his injured knee become stronger.

After practice several of the Giants players remained on the field to get some additional work in. One interesting note, fourth QB and special teamer, Darnell Dinkins, spent a good portion of time with TEs coach Mike Pope and OC Sean Payton. They had him running a number of pass routes, and it seems with his athleticism the Giants are looking for a reason to keep him on the roster.

With a short week of practices, Thurday afternoon's session probably was the most intense of the week. Friday will be used more as a preparation day for Saturday's game against the Patriots, with the emphasis squarely on trying to keep players healthy leading up to the start of the season in September.

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