Happy Friday, New York Giants fans! In just a few short days training camp will officially begin and things will pick up tenfold. In the mean time, please enjoy these morning headlines over your first coffee of the day.
Eli Manning says he’s energized and revitalized, ready and excited to learn a new offensive scheme for the first time in a decade. And next week, when the Giants open training camp in East Rutherford, their two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback will finally get to show it.
The non-contact minicamps and OTAs are done, and the time for slow improvement is over. When camp begins on Tuesday, Big Blue will be hoping to see big progress from Manning.
The offense seemed to click by the end of spring workouts, and Manning said he’d seen his group improve “like night and day” by last month’s minicamp, but he still has work to do. A year ago, Manning threw a career-worst 27 interceptions, and some blamed deteriorating mechanics. To that end, Manning must polish his fundamentals, while also still honing his knowledge of the McAdoo “O.”
You remember the picture picture. Y.A. Tittle is on his knees in the end zone after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Swollen hands on his thigh pads, eyes fixed on the grass, he is helmetless and bleeding from the head, one dark stream snaking down his face, another curling near his ear. His shoulder pads make him seem hunched over, resigned, broken down. The black-and-white photo was taken in 1964, the final year of Tittle's career. It hangs in a silver frame at his home in Atherton, California, not with the prominence befitting one of the most iconic pictures in sports history but lost among many mementos from a Hall of Fame career. The picture is now 50 years old, and Tittle is now 87. He does not remember much anymore, but that photo is seared in his mind. "The blood picture," he calls it. He hates it.
On a December morning, he's sitting in his usual spot on his couch, flipping through a photo album. His breathing is labored. There is fluid in his lungs. Waistline aside, Tittle doesn't look much different now than he did in his playing days: bald head, high cheekbones, blue eyes that glow from deep sockets, ears that have yet to be grown into. His skin is raw and flaky, and when he scratches a patch on his head, a familiar line of blood sometimes trickles down. He shares his large house with his full-time helper, a saint of a woman named Anna. His daughter, Dianne de Laet, sits nearest him, leaning in as he touches each yellowed picture.
Remembering his Texas days seems to bring a youthful spirit out of him, which is why Dianne gave him this album today. But then he flips to a photo of himself during his college days at Louisiana State, and something slips. "Where did you get these pictures?" he says to Dianne. "I haven't seen them."
She knows that he has seen these pictures many times, of course. Some even hang in his house. Dianne is 64 years old, with blue eyes shining from a face that she tries to keep out of the sun, and it is hard for her to watch each old photo bring the joy of a new discovery. She lives feeling a loss for her father, a loss that he doesn't feel for himself — until something stirs it up. That happens when Y.A. mentions that his phone has been strangely quiet, considering that Christmas is in a few days. He suddenly realizes that he hasn't heard from his best friend from high school. "I don't think Albert died, did he?" he says.
The Quest Diagnostics Training Center will host the first practice of the 2014 New York Giants Training Camp this Tuesday.
For some, the opportunity is there to earn prominent roles for the first time in a new-look Giants lineup.
1. TE Adrien Robinson The competition for the Giants’ fifth starting tight end in as many years is open to five players: two new veterans signed this offseason, a pair of homegrown pros, and an undrafted rookie. Adrien Robinson falls into that middle group, struggling to find playing time for a variety of reasons since being drafted by the Giants in 2012. Robinson, who has played in just three games with no receptions in his first two seasons, enters camp without an incumbent to compete with after Brandon Myers — last year’s leading tight end for Big Blue — signed with Tampa Bay in free agency.
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Tags: Adrien Robinson, Brandon Myers, Eli Manning, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Y.A. Tittle