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Minicamp report: New eye in the sky spies on Giants

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants debuted the use of a remote controlled drone that recorded part of the 11-on-11 work done by the team in Wednesday’s minicamp.

The drone, a DJI Phantom 3, was sent about 60 feet into the air, providing coaches with a chance to study plays from a straight overhead angle, which wasn’t previously possible.

The Giants experimented with the drone for three weeks, using it on an unoccupied field to test the device’s capabilities and limitations. On Wednesday, the team’s video department put the device to the test, having it record one segment of the 11-on-11 drills for the first time.

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who did not speak to the media after Wednesday’s practice, declined to comment about the drone’s use through a team spokesperson until he had more information on which to form an opinion.

The concept of using a drone is hardly new in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys use a drone to tape their special teams practice. The New England Patriots also use a drone.

The drone, which retails between $1,200 and $1,400 and upwards per unit, captures information that is downloaded into a tablet and the video is then dissected according to the coach’s desires.

It’s not known if the Giants plan to use the drone moving forward. The device reportedly carries a short battery life, which would make it difficult to rely on to film the entire practice, but it could be used to film key segments moving forward.

That’s if punter Steve Weatherford doesn’t hit it with one of his moon-shot punts.

“You have to hit a really good ball to hit that drone,” he said, adding. “It’s doable.”

Not that Weatherford will be purposely trying to nail the drone if the coaching staff keeps it, but if they do, the outgoing punter had a friendly advisory.

“That won’t be a good idea to put that thing up there when I’m punting.”

–The Giants had their first scuffle of the spring, a brief dust-up that involved defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton and offensive lineman Eric Herman.

The dust-up occurred during an 11-on-11 running play when one man took exception to how the other conducted himself during the play.

Teammates and coaches quickly jumped in to stop the dust-up from escalating into a full-blown brawl.

“Tempers get hot, sometimes,” said Herman, a backup offensive lineman who is trying for a third straight year to land a spot on the 53-man roster after spending his first two seasons on the practice squad.

Afterward, the two teammates as well as those who were involved in making sure that the incident didn’t escalate into something worse shook it off, attributing it to the competitive nature of the game.

“You’d rather have two wolves than lambs,” defensive end Robert Ayers said. “At least they were mature enough to leave it on the field.”


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