Camp Comments

After 6 years, posting is more work than fun, and that is why there has been less posting.  But that doesn't mean we aren't watching the Gmen. 

One way to get better dialogue and thoughts in between posts is to follow me on Twitter.  I'll try to reply to your questions and comments, whether they be in the middle of a game or here in the middle of training camp.

1) Hail Jerry Reese.  I just loved the tone he set at the opening of camp when he reminded all of the players that making the playoffs in only 1 of the last 4 years is unacceptable.  We are very grateful for having won a Championship in 2011, but let's not forget that the Giants got that playoff bid as 9-7 Division winners.  Think about this juxtaposition from the last 4 years:

Winning the Super Bowl in one season… Missing the playoffs in the other 3.

23-9 in the first half of the season… 13-19 in the second half of the season.

The juxtaposition tells us volumes.   There has been enough talent to go 23-9 and win a title in that joyous postseason.  There has been enough underachievement to come up short in the balance of those Novembers and Decembers.  Jerry Reese did an excellent job of pointing out that this franchise holds a higher standard than making it to the playoffs by chance or some of the time.  In the NFL of 2013, when all you NEED is to make the playoffs to have a credible shot at going all the way, you have to take care of business and get in.  Eli Manning is in his prime.  Every year in this QB-driven league you have to seize the opportunity.  I have said it on record that Eli Manning has another title in him.  Get 11 wins and get that playoff bid so that he can make the magic.  His cool demeanor is what makes it possible when the pressure gets turned up in January.  LET'S GET TO JANUARY!

2) When is Hakeem Nicks NOT hurt?  Should we start calling him Nicked?  Vacchiano went hyper about how badly the Giants need Nicks.  I disagree, believing that Randle and Murphy can and will have good seasons, assuming they are healthier than Nicks.  To be fair to Ralph, Hakeem Nicks IS that good, and is extremely important to have suited up and playing.  But Randle is already off to a great start in camp, and the reps he is getting without Nicks on the field is going to mean a lot to the 2nd year player.  Somebody needs to tell Nicks that he needs to take yoga or (speak to Amani Toomer about) karate.  He'll get hurt less, not to mention the other benefits.

3)  Tuck apparently received a lot of cr*p from all sides about his conditioning and repeated injuries in the offseason.  If we can get 16 healthy games from Tuck, I KNOW we will be in the playoffs.

4) If the Offensive line comes together, there is no reason why the Offense can't be a juggernaut this year.  Beatty and Boothe just need to keep doing what they are doing and continue to make improvements.  Baas is a terd in the run game but he does give decent pass protection.  Pugh needs to unseat Diehl as fast as possible and show us that Reese did not reach for him too early in the draft.  Snee needs to get off the PUP and do what he does best, ie block and pass protect like the veteran OLineman he is.  Throw in playmakers like David Wilson, Andre Brown, a healthy Nicks, Cruz, Randle, Myers, Murphy with an improved Eli (nowhere but up in 2013), and this offense can be powerful.

5) I wish I could say the same thing about the defense.  Too many holes.  But there are some things that we are seeing already in camp that are good, like Prince Amukamara playing solidly in what will be his 3rd year.  When you think about all of the time he has missed, this is another player that just needs to stay healthy, because he is improving when he is on the field.  We saw it last season, how Prince started making fewer errors each game and became more reliable than Webster.  Ugh, Webster.  I love CWeb, but his best days are behind him.  Hoping Holsey can step it up.  

5a) "One of the few things that went right for a disappointing defense in 2012"

6) PUP list- JPP, Thomas, Hynoski and Snee are all on the PUP.  The lartgest question here is how quickly JPP can get back to being an impact player, given the offseason surgery.

7) Now that Garafolo has left for Fox Sports, Giants beat writer coverage has dropped a notch. We'll miss him.

Camp Comments

1) all the flack about the exchange from center is purely because the Giants did not re-sign Grey Ruegamer. No credible backup. Giants almost ‘lucky’ that O’Hara was out so that the first team could see how deficient it is.

2) Defensive tackle Fred Robbins was activated from the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and participated in individual drills. Coughlin said he might begin to take part in team work tomorrow on a limited basis.Anything we get from him will be good,” Coughlin said.

Well, this is unexpected and very good news. We felt that Robbins would be on the PUP at the start of the season, given how difficult it is to get immediate success with microfracture surgery, combined with the knees of an aging DLineman. Looks like we’ll be wrong come Week 1, assuming Robbins continues to make progress. Whether this translates to Robbins making a meaningful contribution is another matter altogether, but it will be impossible for him to make less of a contribution while activated than on the PUP.

3) “Beckum has gotten a little bit better each day,” Coughlin said. “The thing I think he’s started to do a little better is the physical aspect as a blocker.” Let this remark by Coughlin be a sober reminder to all of us that these rookies (Beckum, Barden, Nicks, Brown) are not going to get on the field to make an impact on offense unless they are first able to block up their assignment. It’s good news to see Beckum at least headed in the right direction. So often these guys disappear their first year because they are not fundamentally sound.

4) A little nugget on Bradshaw from Coughlin..

Q. How has Ahmad Bradshaw’s camp been so far?
A. Good.

Q. What’s the biggest challenge as his role is changing?
A. He’s caught the ball well. Obviously, if he can continue to do that, he will help us out tremendously. He runs the ball well, he’s been out there on kickoff returns and punt returns. He’s done a pretty good at picking it all up. Also, his pass protection has really improved. As we go forward, that’s going to have to continue to be a solid part of his game.

We have always felt that #44’s blocking/blitz pickup was improving and that he was okay there. The Achilles.. his fumbling. It is not mentioned here in the Q&A. But without parsing out the words too aggressively, “good” means the caveat is still there- as long as Bradshaw protects the ball, he is going to have a very good season. He should be able to get the touches and this will be explosive for the team when he gets them. We need a guy like this to move the chains, to be a threat out of the backfield. He stretches the opposing defense, causing problems for them the same way that a Westbrook causes problems once the defense has dropped into coverage. Bradshaw does not need to be Westbrook. He just needs to be Bradshaw.

5) Wonder on the Eagles: WOW !! IF, IF, IF the rumors are true, Eagles lost Cornelius Ingram for the SEASON with a torn ACL…if so, HUGE LOSS, not only for this year, but for the future..he’ll never be the same again..I thought he was a STEAL in the 5th round….Eagles keep losing guys…AND their OL is really IN FLUX due to injuries as well…IF so, might be able to overpower their OL and blitz the bleep out of them…and put McNabb on his big old butt…!!