Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More On Jones

Here's a story from The Advocate of Baton Rouge, that was obviously written before news of Chad Jones' transport to New York Presbyterian Hospital became public. Interesting to note that cops did not take a breathalyzer or a blood test, but have no reason to believe alcohol had any role in the third-round safety's car accident early Friday morning.


Coming to NY

The Giants announced today that third-round safety Chad Jones, who underwent eight hours of surgery on his left leg and ankle following a car accident in New Orleans Friday morning, is being transfered to Manhattan's New York Presbyterian-Cornell Weill Medical Center.

Jones had been in the LSU Public Hospital, where doctors worked to restore blood flow to his shattered leg and ankle. He is now expected to undergo other cosmetic and orthopedic procedures in New York.

"Chad has received outstanding medical care from the doctors and nurses in New Orleans since his accident. They've shown great compassion," said Giants vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes. "After consulting with our doctors, Chad's doctors at LSU and his family felt like this move to New York was the next logical step in his care and recovery."

Jones is being moved via MedJet Assist of Birmingham, Ala. He will be accompanied by his girlfriend on the flight, and his parents will follow on a commercial flight shortly thereafter. Director of Player Development Charles Way, who has been with Jones and his family since Saturday, will accompany the safety's parents.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Waived Goodbye

The Chris Davis era of kick returning came to an end today, just six days after he was signed, when the Giants waived him because of a failed physical.

Davis was waived by the Bengals last Tuesday and was signed the following day. He missed the 2009 season when, with the Titans, he pulled his hamstring during the Hall-of-Fame preseason game with Buffalo.

Davis' departure leaves the Giants with Ahmad Bradshaw, Sinorice Moss, and Andre Brown to compete for the kickoff return job left vacant by the absence of Domenik Hixon, who tore his ACL in minicamp. Mario Manningham, Moss, and Aaron Ross will probably vie for Hixon's punt return job, with Ross a real possibility if he stays as an extra defensive back.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

More Details

Here's a story from the New Orleans Times-Picayune with a couple of more details about third-round safety Chad Jones' car accident that very nearly cost him his left leg.

I'm sure more details are going to come out over the next few days and weeks, including the results of the toxicology tests that were done when Jones got to the hospital. The good news is that the blood seems to be flowing well throughout his leg, and he's awake and alert. Under the circumstances, can't ask for much better than that.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Out Of Surgery

Mikey G. reported a few minutes ago that doctors have completed seven hours worth of surgery on Chad Jones and, although it's way too early for a long-term prognosis, the operation went well.

Jones' agent, Rocky Arceneaux, said Jones is now in recovery and the immediate prognosis is positive. In our language, given the severity of the accident, that may well mean that he'll be able to walk after he recovers. Nobody appears to be talking about a future in football, which is understandable.


Chad Jones In Accident

Sorry. Been busy all day and just catching up. But here's a link to the tragic Chad Jones accident. A football career appears to be the least of the 21-year-old LSU star safety and pitcher's concerns right now, as doctors list him in guarded condition after breaking his left leg and ankle in an early morning car crash.

While doctors fought to save his leg, teammates sent out their thoughts on Twitter.

"Pray for my teammate," wrote cornerback Terrell Thomas.

"Thoughts n prayers go out to my new teammate, Chad Jones," wrote wide receiver Steve Smith.

It's nothing short of ironic that Jones' accident should come just a couple of weeks after Mathias Kiwanuka barely escaped a motorcycle crash unhurt. The accident did put his brother in the critical care unit for a week, however. Jones was not riding a motorcycle. He supposedly lost control of his SUV.

On a far less important note, the Giants waived undrafted quarterback Riley Skinner, leaving them with Eli Manning, Jim Sorgi, and Rhett Bomar.

Also, fifth-round guard Mitch Petrus and seventh-round punter Matt Dodge signed their contracts, leaving only first-round defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and second-round defensive tackle Linval Joseph unsigned. Bet that they'll make an on-time arrival at training camp Aug. 1, though.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

LT Indicted

Yep. The grand jury in Lawrence Taylor's rape case indicted him today. His lawyer said the Hall-of-Fame linebacker will plead not guilty to having sexual relations with a 16-year-old prostitute when he appears in court July 13.

Wonder if he'll steal OJ's "Absolutely, 100 percent not guilty, your honor." That's a good defense. But if I were LT, I'd say, "I double-dog dare you to throw this case out." Can't dodge a double-dog dare, ya know. It's in the law books.


Davis Claimed

Remember when we talked about rehabbing running back Andre Brown potentially returning kickoffs. Well, he's got company now. The Giants were awarded former Cincinnati wide receiver/kick returner Chris Davis off waivers.

Davis, out of Florida State, was Tennessee's fourth-round pick in 2007. The fact that the guy catches passes, too, could be bad news for Sinorice Moss, who is trying to stick around for a fifth season despite doing, oh, zero notable things over his first four seasons.


Mikey's Got It

Thanks to Mikey G. for getting fourth-rounder Phillip Dillard's deal: Four years, $2.28 million, with a $493,000 signing bonus.

Adrian Tracy, sixth-rounder, got four years, $1.895 million, and a $105,000 signing bonus.

Nothing outlandish there. Players at that level -- in fact all draft picks -- are slotted for the most part.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tracy And Dillard In

A day after clearing out some roster space for rookie signings, the Giants brought two of their draftees into the fold by signing sixth-round linebacker Adrian Tracy and agreeing to terms with fourth-round linebacker Phillip Dillard.

Tracy, the 184th overall pick, signed a four-year deal that is believed worth slightly more than the four-year, $1.895 million contract than the 185th pick received. That would be Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy, who received a $105,000 signing bonus.

The terms of Dillard's deal are not known, though it, too, is likely for four years. The players drafted on either side of Dillard signed three-year deals.

At any rate, with third-round safety Chad Jones signing before minicamp, that makes three draft picks in, with four remaining.


Monday, June 21, 2010

One Punter

Unless the Giants go out of the organization for a punter, it looks like they are giving the job to seventh-round draft pick Matt Dodge. Jy Bond, the Australian Rules transplant, was released today, along with four other players to clear space for when the Giants begin signing their draft choices.

Kicker Sam Swank had already been shown the door when third-round safety Chad Jones signed last week. Today, they released Bond, DB Vince Anderson, TE Carson Butler, and LBs Lee Campbell and Micah Johnson.

Johnson had been a much-ballyhooed undrafted pickup on this blog, and he solid rookie minicamp tryout earned him a contract and a shot at last week's full-team minicamp. But he was all but invisible in the three-day workouts.

They'll still need to release one more player to accommodate all six remaining draftees.


Brown To Challenge?

To the naked eye, last year's fourth-round running back Andre Brown looked ready to challenge DJ Ware and Gartrell Johnson for the third spot behind Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.

He appeared to move well during minicamp, both north-south and toward the perimeters. He flared out and looped over the middle for passes, which he caught with assurance. They even let him throw an option pass that, with any luck given its rather ugly outcome, will never see the light of day during the season. Still, he got out there pretty well for a guy coming off a torn Achilles tendon.

That's the problem, though. On the surface, he looked like he was all the way back. But behind the scenes, there have been struggles. And that's not to mention that no running back in recent memory has ever come back from a blown Achilles to make a significant contribution. Brown, however, is confident he can be the first.

"Other than getting my football legs back under me, everything's fine," Brown said at last week's minicamp.

Well, that's his opinion, anyway. There have been some setbacks, such as a fall in the shower in November that cost him 2 1/2 weeks of rehab. And there has been residual soreness and swelling at various points in the offseason program.

So one can easily understand if offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride isn't necessarily counting on Brown to unseat either Ware or Johnson, even though Brown may well be the best pass-catcher out of the backfield right now.

"It's hard for me to tell physically," Gilbride said of Brown's progress. "Soreness-wise and everything else, I think he'll tell you he's still got a ways to go. It's more of the fact that he missed the whole season. It's like starting over. So right now, he's making a few more mistakes."

Brown blew out the tendon in early training camp, before he even had a chance to take a snap in a preseason game. So, he is more like what Brown describes as a "Super Rookie." Given last year's experience, he said he'll just be happy making it through the preseason this year. He'll have plenty of opportunities for reps, since Jacobs and Bradshaw will probably be one-practice per day guys throughout camp. And there will be chances at kickoff return, where Brown worked in minicamp.

It's all a matter of his Achilles standing up to the beating, and being able to absorb a system he studied, but never really played in.

"I just want to get back and get comfortable playing football," Brown said. "Being able to play in my first NFL game, that's a big goal."

Being able to throw in the 6-foot, 224-pound Brown in as a change of pace over the quick Bradshaw and powerful Jacobs would certainly help the cause. Jacobs called him a tweener -- "quick with good moves."

But Brown has a lot to prove before that happens.

"Physically, he's back," Jacobs said. "But he got hurt so early, he never had a chance to grasp everything mentally that you've just got to understand if you're going to play.

"But he listens. He's a great classroom guy. But when the bullets start flying, you forget. But I think he's done a lot better than people thought he'd do."

He's not far enough along to make his offensive coordinator comfortable, however.

"There are a few more mistakes right now than we could afford if we had to put him in," Gilbride said. "We couldn't afford to put him in right now. Hopefully, as the training camp goes and the exhibitions go, those things will disappear."

Given that running backs tend not to come back from Brown's type of injury at all, the fact that he's this far along is a good sign. It's up to the player now to keep the arrow pointing up.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Have A Great Day

We wouldn't wish anybody anything today if we were in Rome, which probably has fallen into mourning over Italy's 1-1 tie with lightly-regarded New Zealand.

But we're in the United States, and this is an American football blog. And it's a great, beautiful day to go golfing or enjoy some other kind of outdoor sport. So, to all the dads out there, Happy Father's Day. Hope all your little draft picks give you something nice.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Bulluck Coming Home?

Former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck grew up in New City of Rockland County and attended Clarkstown North High. So coming to the Giants as opposed to, say, the Detroit Lions as a veteran free agent would certainly be more appealing to him.

He said as much on Sirius Radio to hosts Adam Schein and Jim Miller. But that may just be wishful thinking on his part. Right now, the Lions have an opening at weakside linebacker. And while the Giants would appear to have spots ripe for the taking in the middle and on the strongside, one would certainly wonder if they'd have any interest in bringing in a 33-year-old just six months out of ACL surgery.

He might fit better with the Lions, whose coach, Jim Schwartz, loves Bullock from Schwartz' days as the Titans' defensive coordinator. But Bulluck, who said he's not going to make any free agent visits for the next couple of weeks, mentioned the Giants in particular as a potential landing spot.

"The New York Giants is what's up," Bulluck said. "I'll stay right here (in Rockland County). I'm right down the turnpike."

But he said Detroit and the Titans are also possible. Just as well. It'd be hard to believe the Giants would be interested in old, damaged goods when they seem to be committed to developing youngsters like Jonathan Goff, Phillip Dillard, Clint Sintim, and Bryan Kehl in the middle and strong side.

What do you guys think?


A Little Something To Chew On

After watching rookie punters Matt Dodge and Jy Bond in minicamp, I must say I'm a bit concerned about that situation. But what concerns me even more is something special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said yesterday.

Seems he has lower expectations for both men. Not that either will show the directional deadliness of the retired Jeff Feagles for some time. But I don't think getting a punt on or just outside the numbers is too much to ask of even a rookie. However, Quinn said he's not even looking for that much.

"Really, the thing we'll ask them is, Jeff was putting it outside the numbers. These guys may put it inside the numbers. But they will at least give us some direction and allow us to cover the kick."

Bet the return guys around the NFC East will be delighted to hear that. Here's something else that might put a smile on their faces. Neither Dodge nor Bond showed much consistency during minicamp. Bond, especially, boomed a couple of beautiful, spiraling kicks, but later knocked a couple end over end short. Dodge exhibited some leg, too, but also shanked his share.

Feagles worked with them the whole minicamp on both the punting and holding aspects of the job. He's not ready to become a fulltime coach yet, but if the Giants are smart, they'll bring him up to Albany and let him keep coaching these guys up. If Quinn is to be believed, there are no plans for bringing in a veteran punter from the outside. When asked if he believes the punter is on the roster now, he replied, "Oh, yes."

If that's truly the case, fourth down in 2010 could turn into a real adventure.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Practice Video

Here's some video from the last practice at minicamp. Note that Aaron Ross, Sinorice Moss, Antrel Rolle, and Derek Hagan were taking punt returns.

This team won't convene again until Aug. 1, when training camp opens at the University at Albany for the 15th consecutive season. In between, several players including Kenny Phillips, Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Justin Tuck will be trying to get themselves healthy after missing all or part of the three-day minicamp.

Among the bigger issues facing the Giants heading into training camp is finding a suitable replacement for Domenik Hixon. Not only did he play on punt and kickoff returns and punt and kickoff coverage, but he also took part in the passing game.

But many of his teammates said they'll miss the man more than the player.

"It's not fair, but life isn't fair," said Tuck, who sat out the last two days with a sore foot. "I didn't see anything that went wrong. I've seen him run past hundreds of people, it's just that this time something went wrong."

"Domenik has nothing but respect from everyone here," Tom Coughlin said. "He is an excellent teammate. He is a guy that we are all personally very fond of. He is completely reliable and dependable; just an outstanding young man; outstanding leader in the locker room; a stand tall guy; a guy who is very positive, always very re-enforcing for his unit as receivers and special teams.

"I saw Domenik this morning and told him that first and foremost our concern is for him. He assures me that he will get this taken care of and he will be here to support his teammates and looks forward to coming back."

Replacing him will be a major issue of camp now. Today, Aaron Ross, Sinorice Moss, and Antrel Rolle, and Derek Hagan took punts, as Mario Manningham missed the workout for personal reasons. Ahmad Bradshaw could work in there, too, as his surgically-repaired feet and ankle get better. Tiny Tim Brown, an undrafted wideout from Rutgers will also get a chance. And special teams coordinator Tom Quinn also counted third-round safety Chad Jones as a possibility because of his baseball background.

"Anybody with baseball experience tracks the ball very well," Quinn said. "He's always in good position."

That's a plus, since ball security is so important in today's punting game.

"How far they kick it these days, you've got to make sure you catch it," Quinn said.

Andre Brown and Bradshaw could be the front-runners for the kickoff return spot.

There's no doubt, however, that Hixon will be missed.


One More Time

Last practice today before the team disperses until the Aug. 1 reporting date for training camp at UAlbany. Will have a little more video for you later on, along with the usual tidbits. So hang around.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jerry Says

General manager Jerry Reese said he's having the manufacturers of the new stadium's FieldTurf surface inspect it for potential problems with the seams. But he said that had nothing to do with the torn right ACL that has sidelined kick returner Domenik Hixon for the season.

"It could have happened right out here, on the grass," Reese said as the Giants worked on their natural grass practice field Wednesday afternoon. "Where Domenik went down (near the numbers), that had nothing to do with seams. Where he went down, there were no seams over there. It was just a freak thing to happen, and we’ll just have to deal with it."

Reese indicated there could be a problem with the tray system at midfield that holds the pellets of the field's crushed rubber base under the removable logos. He said alterations might be in order there.

The biggest problem as far as the Giants are concerned lies with the punt return game, where Hixon was adept at providing field position. Reese said Aaron Ross could be a candidate, since he returned punts in college, as well as Mario Manningham. But never has served in that role in the NFL, so the likeliest candidate may be Sinorice Moss. He's done both punts and kickoffs, but has not been impressive at either spot.

Reese said he'd also look into trade possibilities.


Practice Notes And Video

Here's some video of the morning practice. You'll notice that Jeff Feagles is back trying to get some consistency into drafted punter Matt Dodge and Australian Rules transplant Jy Bond, with mixed and sometimes frustrating results.

Also, Corey Webster jammed the middle finger of his left hand while breaking up Eli Manning's pass to Steve Smith. He said nothing was broken, and he should be back tomorrow. RB Ahmad Bradshaw sat out with soreness in his surgically-repaired feet and left ankle, and TE Kevin Boss continued to sit out while rehabbing his cleanup ankle surgery from a few weeks ago. He said he should be ready for a full-go training camp.


Hixon's Finished

When Domenik Hixon went down returning a punt on the new stadium's FieldTurf field, it was originally thought he had hyperextended his right now.

Well, downgrade that. Turns out Hixon blew out his right ACL. A visit to the doctor's office revealed the tear, and he has been scheduled for surgery in two to three weeks. His season is over.

So let the questions begin. Is the new field faulty in some manner? Tom Coughlin said after the morning practice, before he received news that Hixon was done, that he already has the turf people looking into it.

"Listen, you've got to go over there and go on it before you make any judgements about it," Coughlin said. "We'll be better served now by the shoes we recommend.

"He got his foot stuck in there. You can see it on tape; he's turning a little bit. We're aware of it. We're continuing to work with it. We're asking the turf people to take another look at the field and some of the thoughts we had about shoes. I think it's pretty much just because it's new."

Coughlin said all the players were wearing the recommended shoes for that particular style of FieldTurf. But that may have to change now, especially in light of Hixon's non-contact injury.

Shoes are the least of the problems, however. Hixon's injury now creates a hole at the third or fourth wide receiver spot, as well as on kickoff and punt returns. That may just have secured yet another spot for Sinorice Moss, who took punt returns today along with Antrel Rolle, Mario Manningham, and Aaron Ross.


Back Again

Day No. 2 of minicamp, and we're here. The usual stuff coming up -- practice video, some locker room tidbits. So keep looking in throughout the day.

We'll probably hear more about Domenik Hixon's right knee, which he appeared to sprain on a punt return yesterday afternoon when his foot got caught in the new turf of the stadium.

Also keep this in mind. Yesterday afternoon, we saw the first evidence of the battle for the left tackle spot, as Will Beatty went in at LT beside incumbent David Diehl at LG. That's going to be an interesting situation as we go along, with Rich Seubert as possibly the odd man out.

Any preferences there?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Afternoon Practice

The Giants completed their workout in the new stadium a few minutes ago, but not without incident. Domenik Hixon, who went down with an apparent knee sprain while returning a punt, was able to walk off under his own power. But he may not be available for the rest of minicamp, at least.

"I’m not sure yet,” Tom Coughlin said of Hixon’s immediate status. “We’ll see. This turf kind of snagged his foot. He didn’t get it enough out of the turf.

"We’ll hope it’s not something serious. He’ll probably be sore tomorrow. Domenik’s a tough guy now. He’s fought his way through a few things in the past."

About 7,000 free customers saw the practice, well below the 30,000 the Giants originally estimated would show up. But Coughlin addressed the crowd afterward, thanking them for showing up and reminding them that they are the all-important 12th man.

Of course, he may have been talking to the wrong people. No telling how many of the attendees actually bought a PSL and will actually have a seat when the real games begin.


Back To The Morning

Here's a few scenes from the morning practice. One thing to note from the afternoon so far; WR Domenik Hixon went down after a catch with an injured right knee, but he rose and left the field under his own power.


A Quick Look

We'll start backwards today with the videos. Here's a first, quick look at the new stadium, where some 7,000 fans gathered to watch the afternoon minicamp practice.


Some Practice Stuff

Just got out of the locker room and will have some stuff as the day progresses. But here's a taste of the biggest story -- Osi Umenyiora's change of attitude since his Super Bowl week tirade over playing time.

Umenyiora spent much of this morning's practice working the second-team defensive line, behind starter Mathias Kiwanuka. That's an unfamiliar position for the eighth-year veteran. But rather than get mad about it, he's just doing his work and expecting that none of the coaching staff will hold his preseason hystrionics against him. And he fully expects to leapfrog into the first unit at some point early in camp.

If not, he'll be relegated to serving as part of the defensive end rotation.

"If I'm truly not the best player, then I'd be cool with it," Umenyiora said. "But I haven't played that way in my whole career, in my mind, so I don't think that's going to happen."

Umenyiora said he has received no assurances from Tom Coughlin or new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell about recapturing the starting job from which he was removed after the Denver game last year. But he has backed way off of his attempts to force a trade or gain some guarantee of playing time.

He seems to have grown up a bit.

"We have to win," he said. "There's no question about that. There's too much on the line right now. If I'm not in there, then I know truly in my heart that I'm not the best player."

As for any reprisals from the coaching staff, he doesn't think that's possible. He's expecting a clean slate, at the least.

"I just feel there's too much at stake this year," he said. "Last year went very, very bad. If we'd gone 12-4 and went to the Super Bowl, then there'd be room for that. But this year, the best players have to play.

"I'm a veteran here. I've been here longer than anybody. I would hope there'd be no biases here from last year. I'd expect everything here would be clean and fresh.

"It's definitely different. But you just have to have the intestinal fortitude to handle things like that. If not, then I'd just go out there and lay down and not do anything. I can't allow that to happen. I have to go out and play the way I'm capable of playing."

It sounded a lot like Umenyiora would have taken back many of his lesser moments last year, from his training camp blowout with then-defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, to his sub-par play against the run, and his reaction to being benched.

"It is what it is, man," he said. "I'm going to be rubbing off on a lot of people (like first and second-round DL Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph), so I can't have a negative energy. No matter what happens, I truly believe this year the best players must play.

"I made the mistake in the way I behaved last year, and it was very selfish of me. I wasn't thinking of the team, the total team concept."

That seems to be changing, at least on the surface.


One of the more interesting events of this first day is the Giants' first formal practice inside the new stadium, which is expected to be held in front of 30,000 members of the non-paying public.

"I think it'll perk them up," said Tom Coughlin. "They'll be excited."

But Justin Tuck said the players will have to take hold of their emotions. These are, after all, non-contact drills, so the Giants will be wary of any player who decides to show off for the onlookers.

"We've already talked about the crowd," Tuck said. "It'll bring some excitement to our fans and some of the younger guys. But me, I'm just going to go out and work on what we need as a football team and not really get caught up in practice.

"You should be excited to be on the football field in front of however many people are going to be out there. It's better than just being out there in front of (the media) and our coaches every day. But you've still got to understand what the reason is we're out there, just to work on things and get better."

The first day of the three-day mandatory minicamp saw 100 percent attendance from everyone who could be in uniform. That didn't mean they had a full squad, however. Safety Kenny Phillips continued to rehab the microfracture surgery on his left knee, and indicated he's on pace to participate in training camp.

Defensive tackle Jay Alford also sat out, having tweaked his left medial collateral ligament after falling over somebody on a pass rush last Tuesday. And long-snapper Zak DeOssie left the morning practice early after his back stiffened up on him.

We'll have some video later, but for now, it's significant to say that Jonathan Goff and fourth-round rookie Phillip Dillard took a near-even split of team snaps at first-unit middle linebacker. Veteran Gerris Wilkinson also worked himself in there later in the practice, but it's interesting that the early battle seems to be between Goff and Dillard.


Minicamp Today

Out here at Giants Stadium ready to watch the boys in the first day of minicamp. Camera's back in action, so look for some video later on.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Tyree visits

There was a familiar figure hanging out at the last OTA in sweats and sneakers. None other than David Tyree, former Giants special teams wiz who authored the ball-to-head catch everyone will always remember from the team's Super Bowl XLV victory over the Patriots.

Tyree has joined the ranks of the unemployed after serving a year with Baltimore. He said he's heard from a couple of teams, but nothing substantive has come out of any talks. And to tell you the truth, the way he was talking Friday, it seemed as though Tyree was ready to follow in the retirement footsteps of the guy whose punts he so often downed near the goal line, Jeff Feagles.

"I don't have my heart set on anything," said Tyree, who welcomed a new son, Solomon, into the world the previous Sunday. "I'm just enjoying being a fulltime dad and husband."

Tyree insisted his appearance at the OTA was not a job-hunting exercise, but rather a chance to meet up with some familiar old faces. One of those faces, of course, was not there. Receiver Plaxico Burress remains jailed for carrying and discharging an illegal firearm. But he wasn't far from Tyree's mind.

Never was. When Tyree arrived in Baltimore last year, he asked for and received No. 17, as much a reminder about how he straightened out his own life after cops picked him up on a marijuana charge in his early Giants career than a tribute to his friend.

"I'm an example of somebody who could be right there with him," Tyree said. "You never know."

Now, he appears ready to sail into the rest of his life.

"I'm working out, but not to the level I'm supposed to," Tyree said. "It's hard to continue to play and condition yourself at a pro level.

"I'm not officially done, but I'm not one of those guys who's going to come in for a tryout. And at the end of the day, I'm a Giant. When I decide to retire, I'll let the world know I'm a Giant."


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Interesting Piece

Here's a piece on Terrell Thomas from Patti at Inside Football. Good read. Try it.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jones Is Learning

Just before third-round safety Chad Jones signed his four-year, $2.68 million contract yesterday, he said he was more than satisfied with his rate of progress. Better than that, he's getting comfortable in Perry Fewell's defense.

When he first arrived, terminology was a big problem for him. But no more.

"It's been like a 360 (actually a 180)," Jones said, "from coming in and getting a little confused to what it is now. "But they bang the terminology into you, the coaches and your teammates, and you eventually remember it."

He said he sees no reason he shouldn't be totally comfortable with the system's language by training camp.

The dreadlocked Jones, a former LSU pitcher who had pro potential, has also lost a few pounds, as per coach's orders. He's at 218 now, and he said the coaches have been impressed with how he's moving around at that weight.

"At 218, I'm right about where they want me," Jones said.

The way he moved on the practice field, it seems he's ready to serve as an aggressive, early complement to Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant while Kenny Phillips finishes the rehab on his left knee. Of course, Michael Johnson is still around, too, but it's likely Jones and the veteran will waged a pitched training camp battle for that next slot on the depth chart.

And don't be surprised if Jones comes out of that one on top.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Third-rounder In

The Giants signed third-round safety Chad Jones to a four-year, approximately $2.68 million deal today, making him the first of their seven picks to come formally into the roost.

The Giants waived kicker Sam Swank to make room for Jones on the 80-man roster.


Smith and Thomas Saddened

At least two players in the locker room weren't smiling at the end of today's OTA, but it wasn't because of anything that happened on the Giants' practice field.

Instead, wide receiver Steve Smith and cornerback Terrell Thomas were mourning the fate of their alma mater, USC, at which the NCAA threw the book, the kitchen sink, and the rest of the house for repeated and flagrant rules violations in 2004-05. Saints running back Reggie Bush was at the center of that investigation for accepting illegal payments of cash and gifts.

The NCAA put the Trojans on four years probation, the first two of which will include a bowl ban. They also docked the school 30 scholarships, and the BCS has indicated it will vacate the national championship the Trojans won in the 2004 season.

"I was surprised," Thomas said when apprised of the penalties, which could marginalize the mighty program for years after their probation ends. "It's four, five years later, and USC's always done a great job maintaining the talent level."

Thomas, a reserve cornerback on that championship team, came into the locker room this morning to a flurry of abuse from teammates.

"People were making jokes, saying the repo man was coming to get my rings, so I should lock them up," Thomas said.

But then he turned serious.

"It's unfortunate, especially about the scholarships," he said. "That's 30 kids who aren't going to go to USC."

That team's coach, Pete Carroll, is now the head coach of the Seahawks. Neither Thomas nor Smith had spoken to him as yet.

Smith, who had one of his best games of his college career in that Orange Bowl win against Oklahoma, said no matter what the BCS does, the Trojans won that championship with no outside help.

"We still went out and won it," said Smith, whose seven catches for 113 yards highlighted that 55-19 pounding. "It just kind of sucks because that was one of my best games as a Trojan. If they take away the record books, I don't want some kid who is looking 10 years from now to not see my name on it.

"But they can't take my ring away. They can't take the tape away. They can't take my memories away."

The NCAA said it will allow any scholarship players on the roster to transfer anywhere without serving the one-year waiting period to play again. That could have a positive affect on Smith's brother, linebacker Malcolm Smith.

"I just told him to stay focused and get ready for the NFL," Smith said.

The 30 lost scholarships could be deadly.

"I think it hurts," he said. "If I was a kid I don't know if I'd really want to go to USC, because you're not bowl eligible. And since this came down people are going to be looking at you under a microscope even more now."

Thomas bristled at the thought that people would think cash, cars, and travel accommodations helped that Trojan squad beat the Sooners, or any other team that year.

"We didn't lose the National Championship," Thomas said. "Those so-called extra benefits didn't win those games. The work we put in on the field during the week won those games."


Sintim Ready

Clint Sintim is just glad he's not a rookie anymore. No more running for doughnuts, no more carrying equipment, and much more responsibility.

Heading into next week's minicamp, the 6-2, 256-pound, second-year strongside linebacker said he feels the arrow is definitely pointing up after a rookie season that saw him mostly relegated to special teams.

"I've got a lot of expectations on me now," said Sintim after today's 12th and final OTA. "People expect me to be a player."

Especially defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Sintim had known Fewell from the draft process, anyway. But when Fewell took over the defensive coordinator's job, Sintim made it a point to pay a visit to his new boss and get the lay of the land.

"I was here already (working out) when Perry came up here," Sintim said. "I knocked on his door and sat down with him. I asked him what he was trying to do and what I wanted to do. We had a good talk, and ever since it's been about what I need to do to make this thing work."

"This thing" is a defense that has Sintim and other members of the defense excited. Sintim described it as a "run-and-hit" system.

"That's one of the first things (Fewell) said, that he wanted to have a run-and-hit defense," Sintim said. "As long as we're all running, we've got a chance.

"It's completely different from last year. This year, we're doing a whole lot of different things. This gives a chance for the linebackers to run and hit and just play like linebackers. I'm excited."

He should be. Sintim finished last season with just 11 tackles, including a sack, one for loss and a quarterback hit. He played up on the line a lot in the nickel defense, but now he expects to spend the vast majority of his time as a linebacker.

As such, he should get more than the occasional opportunity to blitz under the emotional Fewell's aggressive system. But he still has to progress a bit as he battles Chase Blackburn, rookie Adrian Tracy, and perhaps Zak DeOssie for playing time. There's a good chance Sintim could emerge as the strongside starter, since other potentials like Gerris Wilkinson and Bryan Kehl will be focusing on the middle spot.

"It's been good and bad," Sintim said. "The last few days have been more good than bad. I'm not dwelling too much on the bad practices. Just trying to to make the same mistakes again."


OTA Today

The Giants have their 12th OTA today, and yours truly will be using this as a warmup to next week's minicamp. So we'll have some stories from the locker room later. No video today -- camera's out of order -- but I'm hoping it'll be back in shape for the minicamp.

Talk to you guys later.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Minicamp Viewing

If you're planning to come out next Tuesday for that afternoon's public minicamp practice, here's a piece you should read. It outlines all the parking and ticketing requirements, and what's available to you in the new Meadowlands Stadium.

Giants To Hold Minicamp Practice in New Meadowlands Stadium on Tuesday
By Michael Eisen

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Giants fans will have an opportunity to see both their favorite team and their new home Tuesday, when the Giants hold a minicamp practice in the New Meadowlands Stadium that is open to the public.

Tom Coughlin will put his team through their practice paces from 2:50 to 4:30 p.m. on the new stadium field. For many fans, it will be an opportunity to simulate the game day experience.

Parking for the practice session is free of charge, and the parking lots will open at noon, almost three hours prior to the scheduled start of the practice. Fans are asked to enter the stadium through the Pepsi Gate, which will open at 1 p.m.

Seating for the practice will be in the sideline sections, Concourse 100 in the lower bowl (except sections 101,149,103 & 126,124,128) and the Gridiron Club (Mezzanine West). The East Club, Mezzanine and Upper Bowl areas will be available for tours and seat viewing. Fans can ask members of the stadium’s Guest Services staff for directions.

There is no assigned seating for the minicamp practice. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To attend the practice, fans are simply asked to fill out the complimentary registration form (http://www.giants.com/minicamp.asp) and bring their printed invitation to the entry gate. There is no limit to the number of tickets per group. Each adult (21 and older) attending is required to complete the complimentary admission form, which can be found on Giants.com and bring the form to the event as their “ticket.”

You must be at least 21 years of age to receive your complimentary ticket. If those under 21 would like to attend this event, please have a legal guardian over the age of 21 fill out the form above. There is no age limit to attend the event.
Concession stands will only be open on Concourse 100, the Great Hall and the Gridiron Club.

Fans with questions regarding their current accounts are asked to call the following numbers:

Ticketing & Parking – 1-201-935-8222
PSLs - 1-877-NYG-2010

Those fans interested in new seats in the stadium may arrange a private/personal tour and discuss seating options by contacting 877-NYG-2010. Appointments can be made for the open practice on Tuesday or alternate meeting dates can be scheduled. Sales staff will be at the open practice event and available to meet with ticket holders.


No More Moose

The Giants won't have to worry about one Panthers receiver that tormented them last year when they open the new Meadowlands Stadium Sept. 12.

Muhsin Muhammad, the receiver who grabbed three passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants Stadium curtain-closing 41-9 no-show Dec. 27, is retiring today. It's true that Muhammad was no longer the receiving threat he was in the early part of the decade, but he could still create problems as a possession guy.

That doesn't mean the Panthers will be left naked in the passing game, however. They've still got the ever-dangerous Steve Smith. So the Giants might want to step up the heat on Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Terrell Thomas at the corners, not to mention Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant at safety, in next week's three-day, mandatory minicamp.


Different Strokes

Just a wild shot here, but don't think the Giants will go for this naming rights offer. First of all, it's only for $25 million over five years, which is well below the $250-$300 million over 10 the Giants and Jets are reportedly looking for.

Second, it's, well, shall we say, a little creepy. The website is for people looking to have extra-marital affairs. Can't quite see the God-fearing Mara family hanging something like that on their new stadium.

The flip side of that issue does offer interesting possibilities, however. Lorena Bobbitt Field, perhaps?


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Traveling Shoes

The moment everybody knew was coming has finally happened. You may now make your travel plans for the summer.

The Giants completed today a deal with the University at Albany to conduct their training camp up there this year, with two option years through 2012. In other words, it's a better-than-good bet that the Giants will continue training in Albany for the next three summers.

Workouts will start on Sunday, August 1 with a single afternoon practice at 3:15 p.m. The three-week camp concludes on August 20. Giants training camp will feature five evening practices. The first night practice is slated for Thursday, Aug. 5, at 6:05 p.m. All five sessions are preceded by a morning workout at 8:35 a.m. The other day-night workouts are scheduled for August 7, 9, 11 and 13.

The Giants will not practice on the days following preseason games. On the day before a preseason game, the team will hold a one-hour jog-thru session. The Giants will practice 16 days on campus, including seven double sessions.

The entire schedule for their 15th summer in Albany, the longest stretch for any one training camp location in team history, can be accessed through www.giants.com or www.ualbanysports.com.

"Albany has been an ideal summer home for our football team," said Giants president John Mara. "With the support of President Philip and his predecessors and Mayor Jennings and the rest of the staff at the university, in addition to the great facilities, we have felt for 15 years that starting our season in Albany gives us the best chance to succeed each season."

Tom Coughlin has long felt that going away to Albany helped team bonding, a view he maintained even after the opening of the state-of-the-art Timex Performance Center training facility that stands in the shadow of the new Meadowlands Stadium.

"I can’t say enough about the cooperation we receive from the university and its staff," Coughlin said. "The spirit of a common purpose and objective allows our team to get the work done that is necessary for us to compete at the highest level at the outset of the season. Our coaches and players appreciate the opportunity the University at Albany affords us to be the best we can be."

In the 14 years since the Giants began training at UAlbany, the camp has averaged more than 33,000 fans per summer. The camp attendance mark of 46,960 was established last year, the fourth time figures have surpassed 40,000-plus. One of the fields used is now known as Mara-Tisch Field, and was dedicated on Aug. 16, 2007 in honor of the team's former owners Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Kiwi Done With Motorcycles

My guy Ralphie was out at Giants camp today -- I was otherwise preoccupied -- and he spoke to Mathias Kiwanuka about his recent motorcycle accident that left his brother in intensive care.

Here's his story, in which Kiwanuka said he's done riding those things I like to call Donorcycles. Especially without a helmet.


Friday, June 4, 2010

On John Wooden

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden passed away yesterday afternoon at the grand old age of 99.

So what has that got to do with me and the Giants? Quite a bit, actually. In a very tangible way, Wooden had a profound affect on my life recently, even though I had never met the man. The closest I'd ever come to him, in fact, was watching him coach his great UCLA teams on TV.

But Tom Coughlin had met him, in 2009, just after the league meetings in Southern California. I was only a couple of weeks back from an unfortunate absence that lasted throughout 2008, when Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon called with the news that the coach wanted to see me. Had a story I might be interested in. So I showed up at Giants Stadium at 11:30 a.m. that day, and for the next 1 1/2 hours, the coach told me the story of his meeting with John Wooden.

I learned a lot about Wooden that day. But I learned so much more about Tom Coughlin. He was truly humbled by being in the presence of a great man, and spoke about his visit in reverent tones one usually reserves for papal audiences. But more than that, he showed an uncommon humanity toward me. He knew I'd been through a tough time, as he and the Giants had kept in touch throughout 2008 with much-needed moral support. And he knew a story like this would make my re-entrance into the working world that much easier. For that, I will forever hold this Giants coach in highest esteem.

Coughlin is not the type that summons cameras and notebooks whenever he does a good deed. He may well cringe when he reads about this one. But it bears mentioning, only to point out that the two coaches shared not only success in their respective sports, but kindness and generosity, too. And some how, I think those last two qualities are much more important than the first.



Mikey G. had a good story on Justin Tuck from his charity pool tournament last night. Tuck said the Giants' got "spoiled" from their 5-0 start last season and became complacent.

Of course, we'll argue that that was only part of the problem. Injuries and a resulting lack of depth had a lot to do with it, along with a massive communications issue on the defense. But Tuck said that appears all behind them now, and he's getting excited over the new season.

Good to hear. Would be better to hear him say his left shoulder is 100 percent A-OK, but even he'll have to wait for training camp for definitive proof on that.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

View Minicamp

The Giants have never opened minicamp to the public before. Well, that apparently is changing. The afternoon practice of the first day of the three-day, full-team workouts on June 15 will be open to the public.

Here's the link with all the info. The tickets are free, but you have to sign up through the Giants' website to receive them. Best thing is, they'll be holding the practice in the new stadium. For those who didn't bother with NCAA lacrosse or Bon Jovi, this might be a good first -- dare I say only (for those who didn't buy PSLs) -- look at the new joint.


Cultural Change Needed

Interesting story out of Baltimore concerning a conference on concussions where one doctor said the NFL needs a culture change to combat the growing issue.

Couldn't agree more. When you look around and see players like Ted Johnson and the like, as they suffer depression, memory loss, and motor impairment because of repeated concussions, you realize more and more that something needs to be done. It's good the NFL is talking about this stuff, and seems to be taking it seriously. But until some real changes are made in equipment and in-game reporting of concussions, this problem is going to linger for a long time.

At least it's no longer a laughing matter. When I was in high school, back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, a friend of mine was on the football team. Kid we all called Kaz, short for Kaznowitz. Anyway, this one game, he got clocked real good, and a photographer caught him on the sideline with the coach. The coach was obviously yelling at him, trying to make himself understood while Kaz stood there, eyes crossed and a real stupid look on his face. The professor lecturing the village idiot.

Today, he'd have been pulled out of the game and, at the very least, tested. In those days, he went back in. Kaz told us later he didn't remember the game at all. The picture became a joke with us for a long time. Roared, we did. Great fun.

Kinda glad for the Kazes of today that things are changing. More needs to be done faster, though.


Getting Older

One more sobering sign on a nothing day that I'm getting older. Ken Griffey, Jr. retires today at age 40. I covered his old man during his stint with the Yanks, when Billy Martin insisted the guy who made a living hitting left-handers couldn't hit left-handers. Drove Griffey crazy. Little Ken was a youngster then, and I remember when Martin threw him out of the clubhouse after a loss. Big Ken never forgave him for that.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Something To Like

Seems the defensive players are enjoying new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's new system. At least that's what general manager Jerry Reese said at the Giants Foundation golf outing yesterday.

He said DT Barry Cofield told the general manager he was especially pleased with Fewell's plans.

"I feel good about my role in this defense," Reese said Cofield told him.

Reese said he expects to hear that from others, too.

"I think guys are going to feel good about what they’re doing," Reese said. "He’s going to be solid, he’s going to be aggressive. You see him at practice, he’s got a lot of energy. I think the players like that. … (The defense is) attacking. It’s fundamentals. He stresses fundamentals and details. The players like to be held accountable in that way. It should be fun for them."

Given the animation reporters saw from Fewell during the rookie minicamp and beyond, it's obvious he's going to be a big change from the placid Bill Sheridan. That's a good thing. There's nothing wrong with a cerebral approach, but a little emotion to get the players' blood pumping can do wonders for a unit coming off a down year.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting Better

The brother of Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who was listed in critical condition after the two were involved in a motorcycle crash Friday, has been upgraded to stable, Giants general manager Jerry Reese said today.

Speaking before the 19th annual Giants Foundation Golf Outing today at Westchester Country Club, Reese said he expects Kiwanuka to be present later in the week for OTA work. Mathias was apparently unhurt in the mishap, though police still are not sure whether either man was wearing a helmet.

Tom Coughlin has been exchanging messages with Kiwanuka, but has not spoken to him directly.

"Let's just hope and pray his brother is better," Coughlin said.


Coughlin's Response

Here's Tom Coughlin's response to Antonio Pierce's comments the other day about his old coach being on the hot seat because of last year's results.

Again, I don't particularly believe Coughlin is on any hot seat, unless the whole franchise falls apart. When that happens, all coaches are vulnerable.