Domenik Hixon answered many questions with one superlative play.
The veteran receiver made one of the highlight plays of training camp today when he soared over Prince Amukamara to catch a long pass down the left sideline from Eli Manning when the Giants' ran a two-minute drill at the end of practice. Hixon demonstrated that he still has the speed to go deep, still has the moves to elude an outstanding cornerback, still can leap high for a ball, still has Manning's trust – and, perhaps most importantly, still doesn't have to worry about his right knee, where his anterior cruciate ligament was surgically repaired each of the last two years.
As soon as he picked himself off the ground, Hixon took a quick inventory and realized his knee was pain-free.
"It was one of those things that you react and play out there and try not to think about it,' he said. "Besides me being tired, I'm good. I'm up and running. It was a good feeling."
It was also a terrific catch that showed the explosiveness and dependability that Hixon can bring to the offense.
"Prince is a talented guy," Hixon said. "He was drafted in the first round for a reason. So going against him and making the play, that's definitely big. It feels great to get up and kind of go to the next play."
The catch impressed coach Tom Coughlin, even if it prevented the Giants from running as many plays in the drill as he had hoped for.
"You know he's going to try to make the play," Coughlin said of Hixon. "This guy is something else. He has no fear. He just went up for the ball, and he got it. If I had scripted it, I wouldn't have done it that way. I probably wouldn't have had him in there, you see him go down. He makes an excellent play. Eli gives him a chance to make the play, and he does. You're looking for multiple two-minute type calls, and the ball goes down the field in three plays, and that's your drill. It's not exactly what we had in mind."
Does that mean the offense was too successful for Coughlin's liking?
"The first time you do it," he said, "you'd like to run some plays."
Hixon missed the entire 2010 season and all but two games in 2011 because of his knee injuries. One of his top objectives in training camp at the University at Albany is to get back in sync with Manning.
"That's something that we're trying to build up again," Hixon said. "Hopefully, we'll be back there like a couple of years ago, just being on the same page and him throwing the ball up and me trying to make the play."
Hixon is also trying to take his comeback a few steps forward in each practice.
"Everyday I'm trying to get better at something else," he said. "I had a couple of things that, maybe from the media's eye they didn't see, but different reads and stuff that I'd like to do a lot better. Everyday I'm just trying to get better at something else. Just be back and comfortable with everything. Just try and get better."
The catch he made today indicates he's well on his way.
TRAINING CAMP NOTES
*After the workout yesterday was cut in half by the threat of lightning, Coughlin was pleased to get in a full practice in hot, sunny weather.
"We needed it, we needed it badly," Coughlin said. "So we got it, and it was good work out here. Guys competed well; I think we made a little progress today. Even the X's and O's, the mental errors seemed to be down a little bit today. It was good work. Two more good days like this will really help us."
*Replacement officials worked the practice and will return tomorrow.
"We're glad to have them here," Coughlin said. "Any time you can create that type of environment, where we are getting the calls and we can reinforce at night with the players exactly what was called during the day, I think it's a good thing. So, we're glad to have them."
*Free agent wide receiver David Douglas continues to impress. He elicited perhaps the loudest cheer of the day when he dove and made a sensational one-handed catch downfield of a Ryan Perrilloux pass.
*Offensive lineman Matt McCants, safety Chris Horton and cornerback Jayron Hosley left practice early with dehydration/cramping. Hosley had earlier intercepted a David Carr pass.
"Right at the end Hosley went off with what I think was a calf cramp," Coughlin said. "We had some guys who lathered up pretty good today, so it was good for them. The big guys lathered up real good."
*Linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring), linebacker Jake Muasau (hamstring) and offensive lineman James Brewer (back) did not practice.
*Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka and tight end Martellus Bennett scuffled briefly following the last play of practice. But they shook hands following the team's post-practice stretching.
*Today's attendance was 2175.