Postcard from camp: Giants
Eli Manning is solid, but the Giants' quarterback depth is questionable
But wide receiver is so strong, Super Bowl hero David Tyree may be out
Injuries have hurt some defenders, but they should be well by September
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Peter King had to say about the Giants' camp in Albany, N.Y. For an archive of all the camp postcards, click here.
Setting The Scene
The Giants have trained at one of the oddest college campuses in America (oddly named, too), the University at Albany. The central campus has a couple of beautiful fountains, while the outlying parts look more office park than university. Funny thing about the place: I'd always heard the Giants trained here solely because Wellington Mara, when he was alive, loved going to the Saratoga Racetrack in August, and because the track is only a short drive north of here, he was able to satisfy both passions -- his football team and his love of the ponies. But son John, the Giants president and CEO, quashed that as urban legend to me, saying coming here was a football decision only. "My dad would stay in the dorms here,'' John Mara said. "He loved it. He'd have three or four of the grandchildren with him most of the time, and he'd always be on them to make their beds and clean their rooms.''
1. If this receiving corps had been in place in 2007, there may never have been the miracle David Tyree catch. The following pass-catchers are ahead of Tyree on the receiver depth chart, at least the mental one: Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden ... and just maybe Derek Hagan, the former Dolphin. Tyree is going to have to be a Steve Tasker-like special-teamer to make this team. It's so weird to think he'll be a Jet or Cowboy or Bill (can you imagine Bobby April with this guy as one of his gunners on the punt team?), but it might happen.
2. The Giants better hope Eli Manning stays upright. You saw, certainly, that he agreed to a new contract, one that will keep him in Giant blue till at least 2015 and means he'll never play a year in his prime in any state except New Jersey. But that's not the only reason. His relief is looking downright grim in this training camp. David Carr threw two wobblers in Wednesday morning's practice, and his accuracy was poor. The Giants must see something in him the rest of us don't. Andre Woodson and Rhett Bomar didn't distinguish themselves either, but Woodson looks physically leaner and a little quick to those who've watched practice every day.
3. I love the defense, especially the defensive front, but it must be maddening for Tom Coughlin to see stalwart after stalwart resting or missing time due to injury. In one practice this week, Justin Tuck (sore foot) sat, with Michael Boley (hip), Rocky Bernard (hamstring, shoulder) and Fred Robbins (knee) all on the PUP or Non-Football Injury List and not practicing. Osi Umenyiora (knee) and Barry Cofield (knee) are practicing once a day in a Coughlin preservation tactic. The Giants got all this defensive depth to throw waves of rushers and space-eaters at offensive lines, and they're all supposed to be ready for the start of the season. (Though Bernard's hamstring injury is troubling; the Giants had no idea he even had a hammy till he got to training camp.) It's not time to worry, because all of those players should be ready to play in September, but you'd like to be healthy in August, not already managing injuries.
New Face, New Place
Defensive lineman Chris Canty. The reason the Giants paid the former Cowboy $7 million a year in free agency is in large part because of his versatility. At 6-feet-7 and 304 pounds, Canty is strong enough to play inside in the 4-3 or at end, the spot he played most often in Dallas' 3-4 scheme. He'll probably play inside mostly. One of the reasons Coughlin and new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan like him so much is that he's relatively egoless, and he won't care where they play him as long as they play him. "That was the idea,'' said GM Jerry Reese. "We wanted to get a bunch of guys we could rotate on the line, because it's such a difficult area to have everyone stay healthy the entire season.'' Canty will help immensely there. In four Dallas season, he missed zero games due to injury.
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