Observations From Giants Training Camp
On Saturday, the New York Giants took the practice field at the newly renamed Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford for what was the official (unofficial) start of the 2013 NFL season. With their first preseason game less than two weeks away and the season opener in Dallas scheduled for a little more than a month from now, the first day of training camp marks the beginning of the final stretch of the offseason.
The Giants looked eager to get back to work on Saturday, and the weather couldn't have been more favorable for the first day of training camp. The team emerged from the training center and onto the practice field at around 1:30 to slightly overcast skies and got right to work. A few players recuperating from offseason surgeries stayed away from organized team activities and instead worked out separately on the far field with team trainers. Jason Pierre-Paul, who was placed on the PUP list after his back surgery in early June, was out there working out with Terrell Thomas, Chris Snee and Markus Kuhn — all of whom are also on the PUP list.
It was a welcome sight to see Thomas out there on the field in his No. 24 practice jersey, and while it's still hard to tell how he will recover from his back-to-back ACL injuries, he looked to be in good shape despite the fact that he was held back from participating in any of the scrimmages or 7-on-7 activities. It was also a welcome sight to see Hakeem Nicks on the field catching balls from Eli Manning in passing drills. While Nicks missed the OTAs earlier in the summer, he was present on Saturday and looked to be back in top form, making several impressive catches during the team's scrimmage and two-minute drill. Speaking of the wide receivers, Victor Cruz, fresh off the signing of his new contract, elicited more than a few "Cruuuuuuz" cheers from fans while participating in passing drills with the quarterbacks.
The Giants had four quarterbacks participating in drills on Saturday. David Carr, rookie Ryan Nassib and fourth-stringer Curtis Painter all donned red jerseys and took snaps in the passing drills. Nassib drew quite a bit of attention from fans, and made a few impressive throws throughout the day. Also impressive were the running backs — all five of them. David Wilson, Andre Brown, Da'Rel Scott, Ryan Torain and rookie Michael Cox were all present, and all were focused on competing for a spot on the depth chart once the season opens up. They'll each likely get carries during the preseason and a chance to stand out, but Wilson got started early on Saturday, showing off some of that explosive speed that fans caught a glimpse of last season.
The defense also looked to be close to top-form, and the secondary, one of the team's biggest question marks heading into this season, made a few impressive plays in the team's scrimmage, including an interception by Prince Amukamara. All defensive units looked sharp for the most part, and defensive captain Justin Tuck seemed to be in good spirits, newly invigorated after a productive offseason. After one particularly impressive sequence by the defense, Tuck triumphantly threw both of his arms into the air, which drew a chorus of cheers from the fans in the bleachers.
We also got our first look at rookie OT Justin Pugh, who lined up at right tackle with the second team on the first day of practices, while David Diehl lined up with the first team. However, this is not an indication of what will ultimately happen when the season begins. Expect to see a lot of different combinations on the offensive line as training camp and the preseason wear on, as the team tries to find which lineups are the most effective together and which units are able to gel and develop a rapport with one another.