Rookies Get Good Taste of What It's Like to Be a GiantYesterday I was privileged with the opportunity to attend Day Two of the Giants' annual Rookie Mini Camp.
I joined a small group of media people that included the local beat reporters in observing the latest crop of youngsters chosen to don the vaunted Giant blue.
The morning session contained two influential outside forces that made everyone a bit uncomfortable. The temperature, which rose to the mid-80's by 11am, and a ridiculously loud rock music festival being held in the parking lot.
The team did get some things done, however. The results were mixed, as few players were able to distinguish themselves. Coach Tom Coughlin made his rounds, checking each unit as they worked through drills in his steward-like fashion.
First-round selection Jason Pierre Paul was hindered by back pain that Coughlin classified as back spasms. JPP later told us that it wasn't spasms but a pinching sensation that he gets at the beginning of football training each year. He said it usually goes away after a few days. Coughlin commended JPP on fighting through the pain.
"He suffered a little bit" said Coughlin "but he hung in there." The coach also told us that his new DE was versatile and "he learns every time he goes out there."
You can see why the Giants liked JPP enough to take him at #15. He is a good natured kid with a lot of natural talent who they feel they can mold into a quality football player. He has a fairly steep learning curve ahead of him though.
Second-round pick Linval Joseph could easily pass for a veteran. He stoked his lagging teammates on the field as if he had ten years in the league. "I like to keep everybody up tempo, upbeat."
He was very much at ease with the media as well. He shows confidence in himself and his game and had no problem discussing his recent weight loss. "I really try to stay in shape. I sleep in the weight room."
When I asked him if he heard that scouts called him "a player made for the NFC East" he replied by saying "it doesn't matter what division I'm in." He especially liked the word "smashmouth" when I mentioned it to him and reiterated that he liked to hit people.
Some quick hits.....
Coughlin said second-year QB Rhett Bomar has to show that "he is the second-best quarterback" if he is to make the roster. It would also help if he could hold for kicks.
The place kickers were both game, but Sam Swank seems to be a better candidate to challenge Lawrence Tynes this summer than Austin Signor.
The punters (Jy Bond and Matt Dodge) kicked in the the afternoon session which was held indoors due to the noise. Both showed they can kick, but the job may go to the one who can hold for kicks. That was Jeff Feagles' job. Coughlin did not rule out Feagles coming back to tutor the young punters. "He's available."
Of the walk-ons and free agents who may have a shot at sticking with the team.......hard to tell since everyone was in "shells", but Ohio State TE Jake Ballard showed good hands and RB Andre Dixon of UConn looked impressive on offense.
On defense, CB Seth Williams of Richmond, LBs Lee Campbell of Minnesota and Micah Johnson of Kentucky and former marine DE Brandon Crawford could continue to get their shot next month at mini-camp.