Jul 27, 2012; Albany, NY, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz signs autographs after training camp at University Field at SUNY Albany. Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
The 2012 New York Giants training camp at UAlbany is history. Here are some final thoughts, both on the field and off the field.
On The Field
- Jayron Hosley, the third-round pick from Virginia Tech, could have a huge impact on the Giants' defense this season. He has recently been working as the slot corner in the first-team nickel defense. He could also emerge as the primary punt returner, a competition that still seems to be between Hosley and Jerrel Jernigan.
[Related: Camp Wrap-Up By Inside Football]
- Speaking of Hosley, the Giants' secondary has a startling number of young, unproven players. With Terrel Thomas out for an unknown length of time, Prince Amukamara is the starting right cornerback. It appears Hosley will be the nickel corner. Undrafted free agent safety Will Hill has clearly grabbed the hybrid safety/linebacker role Deon Grant used to play, what the Giants call 'Bison.'
- Left tackle could be a major issue. Will Beatty has returned to practice, but on a limited basis. If recent months are any indication, his back issue seems to be something that could cost him snaps at any time. James Brewer is unproven, and has had back issues of his own. Veteran Sean Locklear has seen time on the left side, but hasn't been impressive there.
- The best word I can use to describe Reuben Randle, the rookie receiver from LSU drafted in the second round, is 'smooth.' When he catches punts it looks easy, like he can do it in his sleep. As a receiver, he isn't flashy, doesn't seem incredibly fast and doesn't run routes with the incredible cuts and precision of Victor Cruz. He just uses those long strides, big body and excellent hands to get open and catch the ball.
- Ramses Barden remains an enigma. Sometimes he makes plays that make you go 'there it is -- that's what he can do.' Too often, though, he leaves plays on the field by either failing to get open or not being able to win the ball. Countless times during camp Barden, despite good coverage, had both hands on passes and could not haul the ball in. With his physical advantages over cornerbacks the Giants need him to make those plays.
- Ryan Perrilloux has a big arm and he has improved since last season. Perrilloux, however, often resembles a golfer who stands over the ball and just can't bring himself to hit it. Day after day coaches were yelling at an indecisive Perrilloux, "throw the ball."
- My favorite practice of camp had to be the one the Giants were forced to hold on the UAlbany lacrosse field due to wet conditions. This was the best fan vantage point of the entire camp, with the field ringed by fans on all sides. The atmosphere was really, really good. Even if Tom Coughlin hated the cramped quarters.
- During camp the Giants practiced fake field goals, a fake punt, halfback passes and even an end-around pass. My only question is, why use valuable practice time on stuff we will almost certainly never see in a game?
- You have to admire how hard Victor Cruz works. On some level his celebrity status and incredible popularity has to have changed him. On the field, though, the guy is all out on every pass play. When you get up close and you see what he can do to cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage it's really amazing. The Giants' defensive backs had Cruz as a marked man the entire camp, and he was still outstanding.
Off The Field
- Martellus Bennett turned into the media darling of camp. Dubbing himself the 'Black Unicorn,' talking about dinosaurs, going on and on some days about his favorite movies, other days about his favorite books, even chatting up reporters about watching the latest episodes of 'Burn Notice' or 'White Collar.' If Bennett can play half as well as he can talk, the Giants will really have something.
- The longer camp went on the more of a sense of humor Tom Coughlin showed to reporters. There were plenty of one-liners, including asking reporters who put the skunk on one of the practice fields. There was also Coughlin stomping around the podium pretending to be a robot when asked if he wanted players to be robots.
- I won't miss the mountains of construction, both on the roads around UAlbany and throughout the campus itself, that you had to navigate to get to the media work room every day.
- One other thing I won't miss: The bathroom that was available to media members in the press room. That had to be the dingiest, worst-smelling bathroom ever, and many days didn't even have a place to dispose of paper towels. Hey UAlbany, garbage cans, please! And maintenance workers!
- Injured linebacker Clint Sintim walked to the lunch room alone nearly every day wearing a sweatshirt that read 'Don't Count Me Out' on the front and 'Road To Recovery' on the back. Until he signed a couple of autographs the last day I didn't notice a soul pay any attention to him.
- T-shirts were in among the players. There were the 'T2' shirts from Terrell Thomas, the 'Business As Usual' shirts from Victor Cruz and the 'Build A Bridge' shirts made up to fit Coughlin's slogan. By the way, 'Business As Usual' is a better slogan that 'Build A Bridge.' At least it doesn't take an hour to explain, which is how long Coughlin said it took him to explain to the players.