The Giants completed their crazy week on Monday night with an uneven performance against the New York Jets. That will most likely be the last time we see the starters in action as a unit until week one in Washington September 11th. The Giants were granted a waiver from the league, as previously reported here on GMENHQ.COM, and were allowed to keep extra players for what now is basically a scrimmage against the New England Patriots Thursday night in Foxboro. The team will have to trim to 80 players on Friday by 4p.m. Est, and then to 53 by 4p.m. Est on Saturday. Here is where we stand.
The Offense: The Giants moved the ball very well against the Jets. Now the Jets are not very good against the run, as Pittsburgh proved last year in the playoffs, but they are a top defensive team in the league and it was a good measuring stick. Brandon Jacobs looked solid and ran committed. He ran over a few Jets on his way to 51 yards on 10 carries, and more importantly ran well in short yardage situations. This also shows the O-Line is starting to come together and working as a unit. The receivers however, as a whole, look confused. Hakeem Nicks made some nice catches against a very good secondary, and Mario Manningham was open a few times, but Eli failed to make the throw, and this is where the problem lies this off-season. I think Eli has had to take too much on his shoulders what with a new O-Line, in particular a new center, and new receivers. On certain plays Monday night Eli seemed to have to speak to every player on offense individually. he would call the protections, then move the backs, then look at each receiver, then try and get people to move or go in motion at the proper time. While I think Eli is a good Qb, he is going to need help as the season progresses. I think some of these receivers are doing a great job, but at times they forget where they are. They have taken penalties for illegal motion, illegal formation, they have not read blitzes correctly, and have run some bad routes. It is all part of the growing pains of playing in the NFL, but these guys are going to need to step it up, become professionals, and be consistent on every play. Travis Beckum, Victor Cruz, Devin Thomas, and Domenik Hixon are going to have to contribute something for this sesaon to be a success.
The Defense: This will be another strong unit this year. Even with the loss of Terrell Thomas, the Giants proved the other night that they are deep enough and talented enough to be a top defensive team this year. Aaron Ross continues to play like he did his rookie year. Antrelle Rolle quietly, well quietly for him, has moved to the nickel corner in passing situations and looked good on Monday night. The defensive line has learned to get pressure using just the 4 linemen, and that is a big key to success. If you can rush a QB in this league using just the four guys upfront, your chances of success go way up. Of course the addition of Osi and “The Prince” down the line will only improve this unit. The much maligned linebacking core has even looked good this pre-season, and will continue to improve as we move forward. Giant fans love their Defense, and this unit will make you proud this year.
Special Teams: And now for the bad news. Wow, as good as they seemed to look the week before, that’s how bad they looked this Monday night. A step back for most units. The punt return situation has remained the same….awful. As a Giant punt returner your main job has always been to secure the ball first and foremost. That became a major challenge Monday night. I think Thursday night will be a test for some young players, and some veterans, to see what we can accomplish in this area. I am hoping it was just an off night by a young player trying to impress. We will see. Kickoffs will be returned by Devin Thomas, and he will be a major upgrade over the 17 yard average from a year ago. The punting competition continues, and the health of Lawrence Tynes will determine who the place kicker will be.
So, Thursday night will be a last ditch effort by some players to show something, but I imagine the final 50 if not 53 has already been determined. Stay tuned to GMENHQ.COM for all roster moves when they are announced on Saturday, and as always, enjoy the game!