Saturday’s Giants practice was cut short by a domino effect for the New York Giants.
Middle linebacker Chase Blackburn had a sore thigh, so the team decided to hold him out of practice along with fellow linebackers Jacquian Williams (hip), Jake Muasau (hamstring), Michael Boley (hamstring) and Clint Sintim (knee), who is on PUP.
Rather than overexpose the remaining linebacker core -- Mark Herzlich, Mathias Kiwanuka, Spencer Paysinger, Keith Rivers and Greg Jones -- the Giants decided to cut a few plays here and there, and the result was a practice that ended at 3 p.m. as opposed to the usual 3:30.
Of course, it is Family Day at Giants training camp, so it’s not like anyone was complaining.
David Douglas continues to shine: A few people were surprised this week when coach Tom Coughlin mentioned wide receiver David Douglas as someone who was stepping up in training camp. The former University of Arizona receiver is built for the slot (6-1, 205), but he’s been able to make plays all over the field, including two rather impressive catches on Saturday.
The first catch was a bomb from Ryan Perrilloux over safety Will Hill; the second was a fade from Eli Manning in the end zone. In both instances, Douglas had to fight off a defensive back for the ball.
Wide receiver Dan DePalma (5-11, 192) is also built like a slot receiver, and he too made a nice reception along the sideline on a pass from Perriilloux.
One would assume that Douglas and DePalma would run traditional slot-receiver routes, but both have shown an ability to make all sorts of catches despite their limited size.
Bear Pascoe isn’t being handed the tight end job: Yes, Pascoe has two years in the Giants’ system and, yes, he performed well in the playoffs. But with Martellus Bennett rapidly growing more comfortable in Kevin Gilbride’s scheme, Pascoe's only advantage is a bit of familiarity.
“He’s heard it before and he can program it a lot quicker,” coach Tom Coughlin said of Pascoe, adding that the Giants have “some talented guys” at the position, including Bennett.
Coughlin said Bennett has made some “outstanding plays” but needs more time in the system.
Bennett not so hot against CB Jayron Hosley: On one particular screen pass, Hosley got a stiff arm to the face from the 6-6 Bennett. However, the 5-10 Hosley still managed to fight the oversized tight end out of bounds, which supports what we’ve been hearing about the rookie from Virginia Tech throughout camp: Don’t be fooled by his size; he’s not afraid to tackle anyone.
Hosley saw significant time at nickelback on Saturday along with Hill and safety Antrel Rolle, who was flagged for a pass interference penalty.
Justin Tuck revival continues: Tuck is healthier and happier after a 2011 season that saw him miss four games in addition to suffering the loss of several family members.
The good news is that Tuck has bounced back from off years before (he followed a six-sack 2009 season with 11.5 sacks in 2010) and seems poised to do it again.
“He’s healthy and he’s playing and practicing and really focusing on his game,” Coughlin said. “There were injuries and distractions last year for him, unfortunately. This year I think he’s more focused.”
Neither development is earth-shattering news, but Umenyiora hasn’t felt healthy since 2006 and Pierre-Paul did play a little light in 2011 (278 pounds). A more energized Umenyiora and a stronger Pierre-Paul could present a real headache for opposing offenses considering they combined for 25.5 sacks a season ago.
Beatty held out of practice again: In addition to the aforementioned linebackers and players on PUP, Beatty (back) and tackle James Brewer (back) both sat out of practice on Saturday.
However, Beatty insists his back is fine, and an MRI was done the other day to make sure it’s healing properly. Beatty had been dealing with a sore back since the spring, but he expects to be fine when he gets the green light to return to the field.