For all practical purposes, New York Giants Training Camp at the University at Albany is over. Sure, there will be three more practices in Albany following tonight's preseason opener against the New York Jets, but the heavy lifting has been done. Whatever coach Tom Coughlin wanted to accomplish is Albany has -- or has not -- been done. Too late now.
With that in mind, and before the Giants take the field for a much over-hyped, over-anticipated and over-talked (yes, I'm inventing new words now) about game against the blabbermouth Jets let's review what has happened in Albany. That, of course, means it is time for a training camp edition of 'Kudos & Wet Willies'.
So, let's get started.
Kudos to ...
- Perry Fewell: A meaningful snap has not yet been taken in 2010, and we have no idea how things will turn out for the Giants defense this season, but you have to love this guy. Energy, enthusiasm, passion, presence. The new defensive coordinator has brought all of those things to his job. In the end, it could leads to the swagger returning to the Giants defense. This guy was a GREAT hire by Coughlin.
- Bear Pascoe: He has to be the first player mentioned. For crying out loud, he has spent the better part of the last week doing the work of five men. Since, of course, he has been the only one of the five tight ends on the roster healthy enough to practice. It doesn't hurt that he has shown to be a pretty darn good player, and a great guy. Injury will likely be the only thing that could keep him off the season-opening roster.
- Mathias Kiwanuka: I have not written about Kiwanuka much during camp, but you have to love the guy's selflessness. He knows he is in a contract year, and yet he has willingly moved all over the place during camp. He has played defensive end, defensive tackle in some passing situations and both outside linebacker spots. More impressively, he has done them all well. No matter what the role -- and it looks like he may be asked to play several of them -- Kiwanuka could be headed for a monster year.
- Osi Umenyiora: Yes, I'm giving it up for Osi here. On the field he has had a terrific camp, regularly abusing both David Diehl and Will Beatty. Off the field, Umenyiora has finally seemed to accept the fact that -- whether he starts or not -- he will have to split time with Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul.
- Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph: Pretty good training camps for the Giants No. 1 and 2 draft choices. Pierre-Paul is raw, as advertised, but he is also pretty darn good. More than once in camp he has simply tossed aside a helpless offensive tackle and made a play in the backfield. Joseph, also as advertised, has flashed the ability to be a dominant force against the run.
- Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle: The veteran safeties, each acquired via free agency, are tremendous additions to the defense. They bring knowledge, leadership and talent. Neither of them is Ed Reed in his prime, but they are a huge upgrade from what the Giants had a season ago.
- Kenny Phillips: Just for getting on the field at UAlbany, and for looking like a guy who can still play at a high level, even if it is in limited snaps.
- Andre Brown: During the entire offseason I questioned whether or not Brown would be able to come back from Achilles Tendon surgery and plant explosively and decisively off that surgically-repaired leg. He has done so repeatedly during camp, and I am looking forward to seeing what he can add to the offense in 2010.
- Tim Brown and Victor Cruz: Both undrafted free agent wide receivers are giving the Giants a lot to think about when it comes to the final receiver slot on the 53-man roster (yes, that means whether or not to finally cut ties with Sinorice Moss). At this point that is all either of them could have hoped for.
- Kareem McKenzie: I don't think I have written his name the entire camp. The right tackle, however, has been the one constant on what is currently a beaten-up, uncertain unit. Many of you wanted him gone, but right now you should be glad he is still around.
- Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas: Both corners have had excellent camps. It has been particularly gratifying to see Ross bouncing around, looking happy, healthy and frisky.
- UAlbany: The Giants practice facility is beautiful, with five excellent fields. The weather has cooperated as the Giants have not had to go indoors at all. Oh, and yours truly has appreciated the excellent offerings of the dining hall.
Wet Willies to ...
- Will Beatty: The Giants had hoped -- and probably still hope -- the second-round draft pick from a year ago would step up and grab the starting left tackle job on an otherwise aging offensive line. The only way to say it, though, is that Beatty has been terrible during his two weeks in Albany. So bad, in fact, that during the last few practices I saw he spent more time working with the third unit than the first unit. Most discouraging are the number of assignment errors Beatty has been making. Repeatedly blocking the wrong guy is a rookie mistake, not one he should be making at this point.
- Adam Koets: Got lots of work with the first unit at center when Shaun O'Hara's ankled barked for a few days, and the results were scary. Still way too many botched snaps and screwed-up snap counts, not to mention his blocking doesn't seem all that impressive, either. Pray that this guy never has to play when it matters.
- Travis Beckum: You know all that offseason discussion we had trying to figure out how the Giants would incorporate the second-year H-Back into their offense? Or, if they could incorporate him somehow? Well, you can forget it. For all intents and purposes, Beckum missed camp (he may have practiced three times). There isn't much time left to experiment -- if the guy can even get on the field some time in the next week to begin with. Most likely he starts the season with a very limited role, if he has one at all. Can't work in a guy who can't get on the field.
- D.J. Johnson: Johnson has made a few plays in camp, but it seems like a few times in every practice I see a long ball get completed, look for the defender and find No. 29 trailing the play. I feel the same way about this guy as I do Koets -- I never want to see him play meaningful snaps.
- Sinorice Moss: Funny thing about Moss that I have come to understand is that he is a great guy. The organization seems to love him, the people who cover the team on a regular basis seem to have affection for him. But, that isn't going to help him keep his job -- and neither is the fact that he has been hurt for about a week. He has been watching from the sidelines as Derek Hagan and Ramses Barden play their way into snaps that won't go to him, and while Cruz and Tim Brown put together impressive bids to take his roster spot.
- The media work room: C'mon guys, you have to be able to do better than this. I know you look at the media as a pain in the neck, but geesh. A hole in the wall room with no air conditioning, no bathrooms, rickety chairs that kill your back after about 10 minutes and barely enough surge protectors for folks to plug laptops into. Glad I'm done working out of there for this year.