More than 5,000 die-hard football fans descended on the University at Albany on Saturday as the New York Giants held their second training camp practice in 2012. And despite massive thunder storms in the area, rain held off as Big Blue took the field and got to work in an effort to ready themselves for the upcoming season and their title defense.
The team began with a light walkthrough before stretching, and at that point rookies David Wilson and Rueben Randle were returning kicks. Following warmups, in which offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride briefly partook, the team broke down into individual drills. As expected, Hakeem Nicks, Clint Sintim, Travis Beckum and Chris Canty remained on the sideline and did not participate as per PUP rules. Joining them was running back Da'Rel Scott, who had a swollen ankle.
Individual drills were followed by 11-on-11's and then autograph day, which was promptly soaked as the skies opened.
Jerrel Jernigan – For the second straight day, Jernigan stood out amongst his teammates, hauling in several impressive catches and running precise routes. He appears substantially better than a year ago and may be rocketing himself up the depth chart with a series of very quality practices. I was thoroughly impressed, and surprised, in what I saw of Jernigan today and would go as far as to say he out-performed all other wide receivers. The #3 spot may very well be in his future.
Victor Cruz – Although Jernigan put on the most impressive all-around display, Cruz was not far behind. And for those of you expecting him to take a step back in 2012, don't. He's all business, all the time and for the first half of practice was putting on a show most fans would have paid to see. Like Jernigan, Cruz looks better than he did a year ago … and that's got to be a scary thought for opposing defenses. The highlight of the day was an unbelievable one-handed catch while falling out of bounds.
David Wilson – You hear how fast the rookie running back is, but you can not truly understand it until you see it live and in person. Wilson appears to have the ability to go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. He has incredibly quick feet and make cuts that did and will break the ankles of defenders trying to chase him down.
Terrell Thomas – Returning after a little bit of a scare yesterday (stiff back), T2 looked fluid and demonstrated a good ability going backwards and not allowing receivers to get ahead of him. I fully expect the T2 of old when the season starts.
Mark Herzlich - Herzlich was in as the MLB on the second-team D and stood out in pass protection. He just missed on a couple would be deflections/interceptions, and did eventually manage to snag one out of the air on a throw intended for tight end Adrien Robinson.
Perry Fewell – All afternoon Fewell was screaming "Speed! Speed!" at the defense, and they certainly heard him. Moreover, he makes sure that his defensive players pick up and run back every single ball that touches the ground, live or not. It's a great habit he's forcing on them.
Michael Coe – Coe was picked on all day and gave up quite a few big plays, including one to Cruz and another to Jernigan. He's a much better player than he appeared this afternoon.
David Diehl - Admittedly, I didn't focus much on Diehl today, but when I did, it wasn't overly impressive. On the first play of 11-on-11, Justin Tuck blew by Diehl for what would have been a crushing sack of Eli Manning.
Rushing attack – Save for a few runs by Wilson, and one by Ahmad Bradshaw, the rushing attack was getting shut down at or behind the line routinely. Perhaps the Giants run D is just that good, or perhaps the Gilbride & Co. need to focus much more on fixing that issue. They started there today, focusing almost exclusively on the run in 11-on-11's.
Ramses Barden – After a very solid first day of camp, Barden was a bit of a mixed bag on Saturday. He dropped several passes, drawing groans from the crowd, and looked a little sluggish going into and out of his cuts. However, as practice wore on, he improved significantly and made a few nice grabs during 11-on-11's.
Rueben Randle – Randle looks polished, NFL-ready and all that jazz, but he also clearly has some rookie in him. Like Barden, he got better as practice went along, but had a few drops of his own. Additionally, during individual drills, he was called back to re-run a route as he had completely forgotten to make a designed cut.
Steve Weatherford – Great punter. Great guy. Loved by fans. Had a good practice. But he drove up blasting "Call me Maybe" … that's a major no-no.
Justin Trattou – High energy, non-stop motor kinda guy who really dazzled during practice … until he went down. He suffered an ankle injury and was carted off the field. It appeared serious and he was immediately send for X-Rays.
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