Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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.



  1. Haha Osi, guess ur threats did nothing, enjoy riding the pine u overrated DB! And please, JPP doesnt need any lessons, leave it to the coaching staff or other players on d who actually care about the team concept.

  2. Read a positive report about Phillips today. Running and cutting with no pain and no swelling. So far so good. If Kenny is able to beat the odds and make a comeback, that backfield is going to be awesome and that will help our pass rush immensely.

  3. @Wayno2424

    Do you a Dallas plant or something? Because if you are, you are on the wrong blog. Do you have love for any Giants' players? Because all the guys on the D last year sucked. The only stand outs were on offense.

    Besides Osi is here which is more than I can say for other disgruntled players on other teams.

    He had his outburst (Minor as it was) now it's time to play and show his old form!

  4. I have love for Giants who have heart, not a pretty boy puss like Osi. I bleed blue and am not influenced by the me first sportscenter influenced sports culture we live in. Just 10 years ago Osi wouldve been off the team because 80,000 fans would be booing him off the field after all the crap he has pulled in the last year. Check yourself when questioning love for the GMEN!

  5. Okay Boys...play nice.

    Here is my take. Good for Osi. All I asked is that he got his head on straight and it looks like he has. If he is focused and working hard he will get his snaps and make the whole unit better and that's all I want. I think he must have looked at the tapes from last years game and figured out he played very average.

    Chris B.