Given the Giants poor performance so far in the preseason, fittingly the first part of my Giants stock watch dealt with downward trends. However, despite the poor play from the starters, there have been some preseason surprises among the Giants depth players. Below are some Giants players who have been trending upwards with their performance so far.
Corey Washington – The 6’4 undrafted free agent from Newberry has had an absolutely tremendous preseason and training camp. Corey has hauled in the three game winning touchdowns so far for the Giants, amassing 7 receptions for 116 yards in limited snaps during the first three games. He not only has been a big red-zone threat (two TD’s on fade passes), but showed he could also stretch the field with a 73 yard deep bomb TD catch against the Buffalo Bills. So far the young man has shown he can do it all. Now it is time for the coaching staff to get him some first team reps to see if his production can continue when going up against stiffer competition.
Devon Kennard – Outside of Washington, Devon Kennard might be the biggest surprise of camp for me. I wasn’t completely sold on the Giants fifth round pick out of USC, but he has turned me into a serious believer. Jon Beason’s foot injury opened up an opportunity for the young man to get reps with the starters and he has certainly grabbed the bull by the horns. He has not looked over matched, and his size-speed combination is prototypical of today’s NFL linebackers. He hasn’t only caught the attention of Giants’ fans, but also that of his fellow teammates. Add Beason to Kennard fan club:
Add Beason to Kennard fan club: “He’s 250 and superlean, fast strong. You see him hit people and it’s like wow. He’s gonna help us alot” — Ebenezer Samuel (@ebenezersamuel) August 18, 2014
Damontre Moore – Last year’s highly touted third round pick from Texas A&M looks to finally be rounding into form. He has two sacks in three games and has been very disruptive in the back-field. Given the pass rushing production being less than adequate so far, look for Moore to start seeing more time on passing downs with the starting unit.
Ryan Nassib – Admittedly, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Ryan Nassib, but the quarterback who Jerry Reese believed in enough to trade up to grab in the fourth round of last year’s draft has improved by leaps and bounds from last season. In the last game against the Colts, Nassib showed serious guts on the final game winning drive. After appearing to be a bit shaken up by a big hit on a 3rd & 16, he came right back on the next play and threw a perfect strike to tight end, Adrien Robinson, to convert the improbable fourth down situation:
That Nassib to Robinson play on 4th and 16 after Nassib took the big hit was real, real impressive — James (@bigbluebloggers) August 17, 2014
He also showcased touch with a very nice fade pass to Corey Washington that ended up being the game winner. Overall, he was an efficient 11-for-15 passing for 158 yards in just one quarter of play. Nassib’s performance on Saturday should go a long way in giving the Giants’ coaching staff the confidence in keeping him as the back-up quarterback. Quite frankly, I believe Nassib has actually run McAdoo’s offense better than either Eli Manning or Curtis Painter. The offense tends to run with more tempo and rhythm when he is at the helm.
Overall, the Giants as a team are probably trending downwards, despite being a perfect 3-0 in the preseason. The offensives starters have looked horrible, so far, and the defensive starters have been up-and-down. The coaching staff should be encouraged by the fortitude and play of the second and third teamers, but once the season begins, the Giants will need to rely on their starters to step up their play big time. The last thing Giants’ fans want is to see their team begin 0-6 again, but if some of the kinks don’t get worked out quickly, that could be a realistic possibility.