Just got out of the locker room and will have some stuff as the day progresses. But here's a taste of the biggest story -- Osi Umenyiora's change of attitude since his Super Bowl week tirade over playing time.
Umenyiora spent much of this morning's practice working the second-team defensive line, behind starter Mathias Kiwanuka. That's an unfamiliar position for the eighth-year veteran. But rather than get mad about it, he's just doing his work and expecting that none of the coaching staff will hold his preseason hystrionics against him. And he fully expects to leapfrog into the first unit at some point early in camp.
If not, he'll be relegated to serving as part of the defensive end rotation.
"If I'm truly not the best player, then I'd be cool with it," Umenyiora said. "But I haven't played that way in my whole career, in my mind, so I don't think that's going to happen."
Umenyiora said he has received no assurances from Tom Coughlin or new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell about recapturing the starting job from which he was removed after the Denver game last year. But he has backed way off of his attempts to force a trade or gain some guarantee of playing time.
He seems to have grown up a bit.
"We have to win," he said. "There's no question about that. There's too much on the line right now. If I'm not in there, then I know truly in my heart that I'm not the best player."
As for any reprisals from the coaching staff, he doesn't think that's possible. He's expecting a clean slate, at the least.
"I just feel there's too much at stake this year," he said. "Last year went very, very bad. If we'd gone 12-4 and went to the Super Bowl, then there'd be room for that. But this year, the best players have to play.
"I'm a veteran here. I've been here longer than anybody. I would hope there'd be no biases here from last year. I'd expect everything here would be clean and fresh.
"It's definitely different. But you just have to have the intestinal fortitude to handle things like that. If not, then I'd just go out there and lay down and not do anything. I can't allow that to happen. I have to go out and play the way I'm capable of playing."
It sounded a lot like Umenyiora would have taken back many of his lesser moments last year, from his training camp blowout with then-defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, to his sub-par play against the run, and his reaction to being benched.
"It is what it is, man," he said. "I'm going to be rubbing off on a lot of people (like first and second-round DL Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph), so I can't have a negative energy. No matter what happens, I truly believe this year the best players must play.
"I made the mistake in the way I behaved last year, and it was very selfish of me. I wasn't thinking of the team, the total team concept."
That seems to be changing, at least on the surface.
One of the more interesting events of this first day is the Giants' first formal practice inside the new stadium, which is expected to be held in front of 30,000 members of the non-paying public.
"I think it'll perk them up," said Tom Coughlin. "They'll be excited."
But Justin Tuck said the players will have to take hold of their emotions. These are, after all, non-contact drills, so the Giants will be wary of any player who decides to show off for the onlookers.
"We've already talked about the crowd," Tuck said. "It'll bring some excitement to our fans and some of the younger guys. But me, I'm just going to go out and work on what we need as a football team and not really get caught up in practice.
"You should be excited to be on the football field in front of however many people are going to be out there. It's better than just being out there in front of (the media) and our coaches every day. But you've still got to understand what the reason is we're out there, just to work on things and get better."
The first day of the three-day mandatory minicamp saw 100 percent attendance from everyone who could be in uniform. That didn't mean they had a full squad, however. Safety Kenny Phillips continued to rehab the microfracture surgery on his left knee, and indicated he's on pace to participate in training camp.
Defensive tackle Jay Alford also sat out, having tweaked his left medial collateral ligament after falling over somebody on a pass rush last Tuesday. And long-snapper Zak DeOssie left the morning practice early after his back stiffened up on him.
We'll have some video later, but for now, it's significant to say that Jonathan Goff and fourth-round rookie Phillip Dillard took a near-even split of team snaps at first-unit middle linebacker. Veteran Gerris Wilkinson also worked himself in there later in the practice, but it's interesting that the early battle seems to be between Goff and Dillard.
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