Postcard from camp: Giants
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
1. If this receiving corps had been in place in 2007, there may never have been the miracle
2. The Giants better hope
3. I love the defense, especially the defensive front, but it must be maddening for
The confidence of Eli Manning. I turned around after spending 10 minutes with Mario Manningham at lunchtime, because I could feel a PR aide moving in toward me, about to nudge me. And there was Eli Manning, waiting for me. I'm not much for reading looks on players' faces, but I've never seen Manning so confident. I asked him about his offseason. "Every year you find something to work on,'' I said. "What was it this year?'' Said Manning: "The deep ball. We've just got to get better at it. Last year, we led the league in times inside the red zone, but we just didn't have enough pass plays over 20 yards, and you have to be able to threaten people deep in this league to have a great offense. So we worked on that a lot.''
The Giants were probably the first team to be really attentive to making their training table healthy and innovative, and they must lead the NFC in quality food choices (NO ONE leads the Browns, so I have to differentiate by conference here). On this day, players could choose between about nine entrees or sandwich choices by my count. I went with the lo-mein stir-fry, with a flat noodle underneath a carrot-broccoli-mushroom-water chestnut-light soy sauce mix, straight out of the wok. Fabulous. In addition, I stole half of a charbroiled turkey cutlet off lunch partner
To drink, I had raspberry water. Delicious, no cals. Functional.
Not a big fan of the Edy's soft vanilla ice cream for dessert. The players should be eating nonfat frozen yogurt anyway (listen to Mr. Nutrition, going for the ice cream and then ripping it), and this ice cream was a little tasteless for my taste.
1. The Giants have two home games before the World Series. With four of the first six on the road (Dallas, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and New Orleans), they're just lucky the schedule doesn't whack them early with impossible games to win.
3. Quietly, second-round pick
4. Quirk of the Schedule Dept.: For the second straight year, the Giants finish the season with Carolina at home and Minnesota on the road, in that order.
5. I came here expecting to hear that it'l be a breakout season for Mario Manningham. It still might be, but Manning ("I think it'll be receiver by committee'') and others knocked down my perception that it's going to be a 70-catch, 1,100-yard breakout year for the kid. It could be, and he's good enough, but the other guy in the passing game who could put up some gaudy numbers is Kevin Boss, who looks good and has Manning's total trust.