John Fennelly, Lead Writer
On this off day, it’s time to reflect on who had made an impression thus far at Giants’ camp and who has not. Yes, there is still a long way to go until first cuts (from 90 to 75 by August 26, and then to 53 by August 31), but it’s never too early to take the team’s temperature. The five preseason games will reveal a lot, too, but for now let’s cover what’s been going on…
“Good Vibrations,” the song I have traditionally started my summer off to for the past 47 years. Some of the players have given off those good vibrations in camp this summer are rookie LB Devon Kennard, TE Larry Donnell and CB Walter Thurmond III.
Kennard looks like a seasoned veteran out there – confident, savvy and quick to the ball. How he fell to the fifth round of the draft is puzzling, but who cares? He’s in blue now and just be thankful. The Giants have noticed, too. Kennard is getting a ton of reps at several positions. When Jon Beason comes back from his foot injury (he was running on a treadmill yesterday) he’ll be the MLB.
Free agent signee Jameel McClain, who looks fairly confident himself this summer, will be one OLB and unless my eyes need to be checked, Kennard should be the other. You finally have some LBs, Giant fans.
I’ll admit, the TE competition has been kind of uneventful, but Donnell has made some plays and is growing into the role. He’ll surely make the team again at this rate and perhaps become the seam receiver the Giants have been yearning for. Veterans Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis should be the other two TEs. Fells has shown some receiving prowess of his own and the gigantic Davis is a big blocker and massive short yardage/red zone option.
I will tell you, the rumors of the Giants’ secondary wagging the dog these days is true. It is the best unit on the team. Prince Amukamura, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown will be your starters, but free agent Thurmond will see a lot of action as well. He’s a go-getter, a physical kid who hustles past the whistle. He brings that Seattle swagger to the Giants. Hopefully he can bring the results as well.
Where’s there’s a riser, there naturally has to be a faller. LBs Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams seem to have fallen behind a bit. Both are still quality players and will be on the roster, but the prediction here is that Kennard will start ahead of both.
For TE Adrien Robinson, the pursuit of greatness may be over. He has been just OK thus far at camp and the team will do him nor themselves any justice if they cut one of the above TEs in favor keeping him.
Some other players who I’ve been asked about….
C JD Walton – He’s starting for now. Rookie Weston Richburg will either be moved to RG or watch from the sidelines until further notice. Walton has done nothing to lose his spot. In fact, he’s looks pretty spry out there. If he can stay healthy, chalk up a win for Jerry Reese.
DT Jon Hankins – Yes, he’s going to be a good one. The veterans (Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson) will get the early starts, but look for Hankins to earn an increase in snaps as the season unfolds.
QB Ryan Nassib – Still waiting for a signature moment from him. Maybe he’ll look better in the preseason games. Has he convinced the Giants they can count on him as the primary backup over Curtis Painter? I say no. It is very possible they go with three QBs again this year unless something changes radically in the next month.
RB Rashad Jennings – The real thing. Jennings is a complete back. His ability as a receiver is what attracts me the most. If the Giants can successfully establish a short passing game that features the running backs, it will make the deep passing attack that much more deadly.
DE Damontre Moore – “Damonster” can only be appreciated in real time. He is a big, quick kid that has field sense and a knack for getting to the ball. The Giants were disappointed last year when injuries caused him to lag behind. This year, they will turn him loose. Don’t waste your time looking for him. He’ll find you.