So lets see… I’d say it was a relatively good start to preseason seeing the Giants play the Steelers last night. I’m not jumping out of my chair claiming the Giants have got the season in their hands, but there were some good things. There were also some things the Giants clearly need to work on; and there were some amusing things that happened last night. Lets take a look. I’ll address some of the topics I was thinking about before the game, as well as what stood out:
Who was the Rock Star of the game? If you’ve read anything since last night, and if you’re reading this I am sure you have, the stand out rock star of the last night was most certainly young Damontre Moore (79). Wow rookie! If you continue to play with that kind of hunger, focus and determination; and if you continue to be humble after a showing like that… I’d say there’s a new rock star wearing blue. That blocked punt was just beastly! I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
Who played for a roster spot? Tyler Sash (39). Hands down that guy was there to make the team last night. In a Safety position that has little wiggle room – maybe 2 open spots to win a place on the 53-man team – Tyler Sash came to take one of those spots last night. His special teams play that included a touchback for a safety and 4 tackles was all in. I can’t wait to see him bring it next week. Keep the beard. We superstitious football people think it helped.
Linebacker competition: Well, with the exception of Spencer Paysinger (52), I would say it’s still a very open competition. While he was in, Paysinger seemed to be everywhere the ball was, and completed the game with 4 tackles and 1 assist. At the same time, while it was clear the linebackers were out there, they were a bit late to tackle and allowed too many yards, especially early on. Next week we’ll be looking for linebackers to be quicker to the draw, to miss fewer tackles, and to help stop the run game. With the exception of 52, nobody truly stood out last night.
Who gets a ‘we’ll see’ rating after the game? Before the game I said the running game was an area of concern for me. It still is. The running backs got off to a slow start here, and we saw very little from starter David Wilson up front. Can he power through these defenses to break away early? Andre Brown started off with an early fumble that resulted in a turnover (and we all cried ‘COUGHLIN’S DOGHOUSE’ simultaneously), but showed he was able to get up and do some things as the game went on. He had a good block I caught at one point that gave David Carr some time to throw, and a couple of good yardage runs. Rookie Michael Cox had a solid showing looking to make the 3rd roster spot against Da’Rel Scott and Ryan Torain (who didn’t play last night due to a concussion). I keep wanting to see Da’Rel Scott show the breakaway speed he did in preseason in his rookie year, but it hasn’t shown up yet. So the running game is basically a, we’ll see.
What made me excited after preseason Game 1? The Defensive front 7. Were there mistakes made? Yes. Does it look like those mistakes can be fixed quickly? Yes. Is this group versatile and able to play a myriad of roles on defense and special teams? Yes. Was there hunger? Absolutely. Do the Giants have depth at DT and DE? Oh yea! Somebody tweeted me after the game that they missed Osi. I didn’t think about Osi once during this game. With Tuck and JPP not playing, we still showed power and depth in this traditionally strong part of the Giants defense. Can’t wait to see how this group looks next week.
Where’s Adewale? And just as suspected, Mr Ojomo, my fellow alum from The U, was right there doing what he seems to do best: create sacks during preseason (officially counted as 1.5 last night for #71). I hope we’ll see more of that next week kid. Remember, with Tuck, JPP, Moore, and Kiwi, there may only be one more spot at DE to make the final roster. Play your heart out.
What made me nervous? While we have depth on the defense, I’m not so sure the depth is there on the Offensive Line. Of course, we didn’t see Chris Snee or 1st draft pick Justin Pugh play at all last night. The botched snap by McCants (that turned into the only Steelers touchdown) was abominable (not really sure why they had McCants at Center anyway so I sort of feel bad for the kid), and there was practically no protection to save poor Ryan Nassib from having a nightmarish start to his NFL career. The roots are there for a starting Offensive Line to protect Eli, but I do worry about any one of them going down at this point.
Of course it was good, so let me just mention it at move on: Yes, I was thrilled to see Eli connect with Cruz for the 57-yard touchdown. I am more than thrilled that after the offseason theatrics, Cruz and Eli seem to be well in sync. A few extra points to Victor, I do believe many other receivers would not have broken away after catching that ball to go the extra leg for the touchdown. Exciting to see. Yes, I did the salsa too.
And the comedy (or tragedy) of it all: For those of us who live outside the New York Metropolitan Area, and who had to watch the game on the NFL Network, we were not so lucky as to have the esteemed (and we’ll studied) Bob Papa and Carl Banks do our broadcast. We had the Steelers duo – I’m sorry, I don’t remember their names, but they sure brought some laughs. It was fairly comedic as they showed their lack of homework skills leading up to the game. I think forever more, the aforementioned Da’Rel Scott, will now be called ‘Scott DaReal’, and rookie Fullback, Ryan D’Imperio, apparently made his way to Defensive Back (Junior Mettle and D’Imperio share the number 49 as they audition for a roster spot). Of course the fact that Jason Tuck (seriously?) was absent, and #85, Martellus Bennett made a great catch (Ramses Barden is wearing 85 now and Marty is now a Bear). Come on guys. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would love to have your job. Do your homework.
Preseason is for coaches too! Even coaches get to try things out during preseason and it was great to see the first Tom Coughlin red flag of the season thrown out early on; and a good call it was as a reception was then ruled out of bounds. Of course, Tomlin got one too, later on.
How many guys named Brown are there anyway? It seemed like everytime I looked up, I saw a guy named Brown! The Giants have Andre, Josh and Stevie. The Steelers have Justin, Antonio and Curtis. I tweeted this mid-game, and Grant Hendricks came back and said, in case you are also curious, that there appear to be 35 Browns in the NFL right now.
Last comments: Man that Safety competition is going to be interesting. I’ll leave it at that. Looking forward to seeing more from Adrien Robinson, Brandon Myers and Larry Donnell next week. They were certainly out there, and I think it will be interesting to see how many Tight Ends the Giants keep this year. Some nice plays from guys lower on the depth chart, Charles James, Trumaine McBride, Julian Talley and Terrence Frederick last night. Well wishes to Kris Adams and Chris DeGeere on speedy and fully recovery from sustained injuries.
So many decisions to be made in the weeks ahead! Can’t wait for preseason game 2 versus the Colts and Andrew Luck on the 18th!
More soon… ALL IN!