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Training Camp Guide

Mike Garafolo has provided us with a handy training camp guide. Don’t worry, we’ll post ours as well soon. This is just to hold you over:

The Giants arrive in Albany today, 18 months removed from a Super Bowl title but also six months removed from a meltdown in their first playoff game. A look at the story lines surrounding the team as it prepares for the 2009 season:FOUR DOWNS

The pressure’s on Eli. There’s been plenty of talk about whether the Giants’ stable of young, unproven wide receivers can compensate for the loss of Plaxico Burress and make this passing game go. Well, don’t forget about the guy that has to get them the ball. Eli Manning has made some excellent throws over his five-year career, but he’s often been erratic. Burress sometimes came to the rescue by jostling for position and reaching up or back to grab balls smaller receivers wouldn’t have been able to reach. And don’t forget Amani Toomer was pretty good at making some catches on the sideline and in the end zone while dragging his field in bounds. Bottom line: a few of the Giants’ receivers must emerge as go-to guys, but Manning has to make sure he finds them on a consistent basis.

The pressure will be on opposing quarterbacks, too. While many were pointing to the wide receivers last year, the Giants saw a problem on the other side of the ball with a defensive line that didn’t have a lot of depth and wore down as the season progressed. So they went out and signed tackles Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard and linebacker Michael Boley while drafting linebacker Clint Sintim in the second round. Add those players to ends Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka and tackles Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield and Jay Alford and that’s a lot of talented pass rushers to have to block. The only problem? Which players to use when and where. That’s a good problem to have.

How will Antonio Pierce play? He had a lot of fingers pointed at him last year when he got caught in a few 1-on-1 matchups with the Eagles’ Brian Westbrook. (Even though the Giants’ coaches admitted they screwed up by putting him in such a position.) Oh, and then there’s the little matter of possible gun-possession charges stemming from his role in the Plaxico Burress shooting hanging over his head. But Pierce was apparently focused and working hard this off-season after taking it a bit easy after the Super Bowl XLII victory. He’ll be an interesting case this year.

Who gets the ball? The Giants kept some stability in their running game by giving Brandon Jacobs a four-year contract extension in the off-season. That came right before they let Derrick Ward leave via free agency. Jacobs has yet to play a full season – even last year when he was trying to prove to the Giants he was more durable than they believed – so at some point this year, you’d have to figure the offense will take to the field with Ahmad Bradshaw as the starting running back and Danny Ware as the No. 2. Bradshaw has been an excellent late-game, change-of-pace back after Jacobs wore down a defense for three quarters. Will he be as effective in the first quarter? And is Ware, who has only two career carries in the regular season, ready for a much bigger role? Those questions will likely be answered soon.


The defensive coordinator: It would seem there can’t be any way Bill Sheridan could fail with as many pass rushers he has at his disposal. But it’s not as easy as it looks and Steve Spagnuolo was an excellent game-planning and game-day coach. The key for Sheridan might be that his defensive staff stayed mostly intact.

The rookie receivers: Hakeem Nicks looked like he was NFL-ready in the spring. And with the Giants’ receiver position in flux, he has a shot at playing time. Also, Ramses Barden has proven to be an extremely hard worker. If he can work on his technique, he might be a situational contributor early.

Kenny Phillips at starting safety: Last year’s first-round pick had an excellent off-season after flashing some potential in spot duty as a rookie. Last year, he displayed excellent range; this year, he’s added improved awareness, so he can use that speed to make plays, not just recover.


UAlbany: The Giants have been training here for 14 years. But their contract with the school expires after this camp. And with their new $90-million practice facility, perhaps they won’t be coming back. Or maybe their future visits will be briefer.

Jeff Feagles: The guy is 43 and still kicking. (Okay, punting.) Just don’t expect him to exert himself much in Albany. The Giants don’t have another punter on the roster, so they’ll use the JUGS machine to practice punt returns and coverage, while giving Feagles’ right leg a rest.

Turnover at linebacker: It seems like every year the Giants are shuffling the players on either side of Pierce. It’s no different this year, as Boley has been signed to play on the weak side. But he’s recovering from a hip injury and has been suspended for the opener, so his spot is up for grabs between Chase Blackburn, Bryan Kehl and Gerris Wilkinson. Speaking of Wilkinson, it’s time for the 2006 third-round pick to step up and win a job or risk being cut at the end of the preseason.


Don’t be surprised if Eli Manning has a new contract before he leaves Albany


Monday: 8:35 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.

Tuesday: 8:35 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.

Thursday: 8:35 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.

Friday: 2:35 p.m.

Saturday: 8:35 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.

Aug. 9: 2:35p.m.

Aug. 10: 8:35 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.

Aug. 12: 8:35 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.

Aug. 13: 2:35 p.m.

Aug. 14: 8:35 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.

Aug. 15: 2:35 p.m.

Aug. 16: 10:00 a.m.

Aug. 19: 2:35 p.m.

Aug. 20: 9:10 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.

Aug. 21:10:25 a.m.

Aug. 24: 2:35 p.m.

Aug. 25: 8:35 a.m.


Aug. 17: Panthers, 8:15 p.m.

Aug. 22: Bears, 8:00 p.m.

Aug. 29: Jets, 8:00 p.m.

Sept. 3: Patriots, 7:30 p.m.

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