When you cover something like New York Giants training camp day after day (I know, birthday boy skipped Thursday) you can get locked in on a certain way of thinking or doing things. So, some fresh perspective from other places can be helpful.
With that in mind, ESPN's Matt Mosley was at Giants camp Wednesday. His practice report included the usual fare, but it also included an interesting tidbit that only someone who has visited numerous camps -- as Mosley has this August -- could report.
I've seen the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants during my ongoing NFC East training camp tour. Of those three teams, the Giants definitely seem to have the highest tempo in practice.
That is a good thing. I can say this -- there is no wasted time or effort, not even an unused 30 seconds -- during a Tom Coughlin camp. Things move quickly, and smoothly, from one drill to the next. It has to help in the long run.
Mosley also had a very revealing interview with defensive end Justin Tuck, in which Tuck talks about how worn down he was at the end of last season.
How banged up where you coming down the stretch last season?
JT: Do you have enough paper? My legs got worn down, my foot, the outside of my knee and my lower back. But it's football. You're not going to feel normal. I just tried to get in the weight room this offseason to make sure I did everything to prepare myself for a long season.
Does the three-man rotation of you, Umenyiora and Kiwanuka sort of remind you of the '07 version?
JT: Absolutely. We get Osi back in there, and with Kiwanuka, it's a three-headed monster. I think it's a rotation that could be awesome. I remember back in '07, we would be so fresh in the fourth quarter. I might play 60 plays, but I wasn't tired because you'd get a break every now and then.
- I mentioned the other day how defensive tackle Fred Robbins looked impressive despite having off-season micro-fracture surgery on his knee Well, on his blog Robbins has confirmed just how good he is feeling.
The knee feels fine and I haven’t had any problems with it. Being out the whole off-season and not being able to do anything but rehab was tough, now I can finally show what I can do and have some fun. There’s been no soreness, I’m participating in all the drills without limitations and practicing full speed. I’m just glad to be able to come back from an injury like that and not have any problems with it.
I’m ready to get this season started.
- Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post is a big fan of defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan's 5-1-5 defensive alignment.
I love the idea; in fact, it will make them very hard to handle if they can work this into their scheme. The key to pass rushing is finding the one leak in the opponent’s offensive line and forcing him to have to block one on one. When five players are involved in the rush, everyone is isolated. When playing a bad line, most people feel they can rush three because they can’t block very well. However, when playing bad lines, you need to rush five all the time, thus never allowing them to double-team any rushers. When bad lines are allowed to double-team, it prevents bad players from being exploited.
When the Giants play the Redskins, my main question will be: How can the ‘Skins block that front? Who can handle a one-on-one block for the ‘Skins and make you feel like they can win the matchup? The Giants are going to be tough when they rush four, but with this five-man line, they’ll get all the favorable matchups.
When building a pass rush, you must view the five players on the line as individuals, always thinking in terms of who on our team has the rush that can defeat their player. If a player is just a power rusher, then it’s important to find the one player who can’t handle power in their line and work that area of the matchup. Football comes down to who can protect the best and who can attack the protection the best, and the Giants, with this five-man line idea, might be on to something very effective.
I am with Lombardi. I can't wait to see how what this alignment does to opposing offenses.
- Undrafted free agent defensive end Maurice Evans is making a big impression with the Giants. Barring injuries, I don't see how Evans can do more than make the practice squad. The problem is going to be hiding him there and not losing him to another team.
- The defensive linemen, incidentally, are undeniably competing with each other.
"We've got a lot of sharks in one tank on our D-line," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "With all the competition we have in our room, I think everyone's playing their best."
They're also keeping score. Defensive line coach Mike Waufle keeps a daily chart of all of his linemen, awarding them points for things they do well in practice -- tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles, runs to the ball, etc. In meetings, when he hands out notes and film printouts, the chart is on the back of each player's packet. The player with the most points on a given day is that day's "PD Leader." (PD, somehow, stands for "production.")
"Every day, when he hands out those sheets, the first thing everybody does is turn it over and look on the back to see who the PD leader is," Tuck said. "And every day, you look at it and everybody's almost equal."
Waufle admits that some playing-time issues could result from that. Kiwanuka, for instance, has expressed some displeasure at not being listed as a starter. But the way the Giants' coaching staff looks at it, their ability to mix up formations in different situations means everybody's going to get their share of time.
"I'm just trying to sell it as we're all working together, all one family," Waufle said. "The New York Giants have been effective because they play together as a team. You've really got to adopt an unselfish attitude if you want to be successful."
- Former Giants defensive end George Martin is walking again. This time you can walk with him to raise money for 9/11 responders.
- I am working on a new 53-man roster projection which I will post sometime before Monday's game. Let me tell you, this isn't easy. I get to 55, maybe 56, and I find it torture to figure out the last three cuts. I can't imagine how difficult it will be for Coughlin and company.
- Check out new interview with linebacker coach Jim Herrmann and wide receivers coach Mike Sullivan in the 'Transcripts' section.