We all know that most of the stories emanating from New York Giants training camp thus far have been negative. The Osi Umenyiora melodrama; The loss of Kevin Boss; Plaxico Burress going to the New York Jets; Prince Amukamara holding out, then breaking his foot. Great media fodder, but maybe not great stuff for the Giants as a football team.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin is remaining upbeat, though. "We’ve overcome all this stuff. We’ll do it again," he said.
Here are five things from training camp that you should feel really good about if your are a Giants fan.
1. The work of the rookies -- Taking Amukamara out of the equation, several of the Giants' 2011 draft choices have been surprisingly good thus far considering the lack of an offseason program. Sixth-round pick Tyler Sash has shown better instincts down the field in coverage that many thought he had, and earned some first-team reps on Sunday. Defensive tackle Marvin Austin has impressed the coaching staff. Third-round pick Jerrel Jernigan has flashed his speed, and has been catching everything. Seventh-round pick Da'Rel Scott has also had some nice moments. Throw in the work of undrafted free agent fullback Henry Hynoski, who might play more than any of the drafted players initially, and there are lots of good signs thus far.
2. Mathias Kiwanuka -- Coming off a serious neck injury, Kiwanuka has looked fast, he's looked healthy, he has looked unafraid of contact despite last season's scare, and he has looked and sounded happy to move around and line up wherever Perry Fewell decides to put him.
3. The running back situation -- The Giants got Ahmad Bradshaw to return at their price. Brandon Jacobs looks healthy and sounds happy, a big change from a season ago. It goes deeper than that, however. Andre Brown, the 2009 draft pick who tore his Achilles Tendon during his first training camp and was cut last season, has returned and seems to look more and more explosive the more work he gets. Charles and Da'Rel Scott have each had good moments, Charles with some shifty feet and Da'Rel with his explosive speed. The work by the rookie Hynoski at fullback has already been mentioned. Right now I would venture a guess that D.J. Ware has serious competition to make this team.
4. Jason Pierre-Paul -- Last year's No. 1 pick is drawing raves from the coaching staff for his improvement from a season ago. He is starting at right end and will remain there for the foreseeable future with the Umenyiora situation dragging on. "This kid is talented. He's a very unique player. I've been around the league 12 years and I have not coached one that he compares to," said defensive line coach Robert Nunn. "He's kind of his own guy - how strong he is and how talented and how much range he has."
The kid many BBV'ers did not want to see the Giants draft might just be en route to becoming the team's next defensive star.
5. Special Teams -- Steve Weatherford has been signed to be the punter. If you believe Matt Dodge has a legitimate chance to win the punting job you are kidding yourself. The presence of Hixon and Jernigan should dramatically improve the return game. Coverage should be better with a more reliable punter, the new rules on kickoffs moving them up five yards and lots of athletic, young players brought in this season with coverage units in mind.