Book it, New York Giants lose to Cleveland Browns 20-10

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The first one is in the books for the New York Giants, as Big Blue drops its preseason opener to the Cleveland Browns by a 20-10 score.

The reaction for New York Giants fans has to be somewhere between concern and euphoria. Granted that’s a wide spread, but let’s consider it’s the preseason under a new regime. In some respects, preseason games become the purest form of football. Teams work hard during practice, and then essentially run a bare bones playbook. In order to win, players must make plays from a vanilla script.

We definitely saw that with Saquon Barkley’s first play from scrimmage. Hopefully his 39-yard run becomes ordinary, for him, over the course of time. From the looks of things, and granted Odell Beckham was not in the line-up, the G-Men definitely appear to be trending to a run-first offense.

Conversely, the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks, primarily Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield, were certainly a notch above the Giants pass defense. For me, the result was still disappointing. Say all you want about different areas being a work-in-progress. Quite honestly, the Browns can make the same argument.

More from GMEN HQ

Cleveland’s offensive line took a huge hit with the retirement of Joe Thomas.  And  talk about state of flux, both Browns quarterbacks are newcomers. I’m not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water, but it would be nice to see tangible improvement in the form of big plays.

Time to re-rack

There are several areas that fall into this category, most notably quarterback and the secondary. Surely Dave Gettleman and company would have loved to transition seamlessly from the Eli Manning era right into the Davis Webb era.  It may not happen. Ironically, when I break down his play, Webb reminds me more of Dave Brown than anyone else.

Coach Shurmur tried to place everything in the best light, but his comments tinged with  concern. At the post-game new conference, per the team’s official website, Shurmur was reticent:

"“We had a stretch there in the middle of the game where we didn’t get it done in the passing game and I was trying to throw the ball a little more than the law allows with Davis Webb in there.”"

In other words, Shurmur tried to shoulder some of the blame for Webb not performing. Hogwash. Since the entire playbook wasn’t utilized, Webb should be able to run the plays as called. While it’s concerning, let’s see how he bounces back against the Detroit Lions in practice and the game. It’s a big week for Davis Webb.

The cornerbacks did not distinguish themselves as a group either. Keep in mind that Jarvis Landry was on the Miami Dolphins last season, so it isn’t like facing Brady to Edelman. Landry doesn’t know the Browns system. Plus he’s working with two completely new quarterbacks, yet he still ran routes and made plays.

The window continues to close on safety Darian Thompson. Curtis Riley was listed first on the unofficial depth chart, but he missed the game. Riley’s injury handed Thompson another chance, and he still looks tentative.

Solid starts

I have little doubt that the G-Men will be difficult to run the ball against. With Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson and newcomer B.J. Hill, don’t expect anyone to push the defensive line around. On the other hand, pass coverage cannot give up big plays, especially after the line stuffs two running plays.

Safety Landon Collins always comes ready to play, and finding his complement at safety will be crucial. Veteran corner B.W. Webb was about the only back-up who made a case from himself in the defensive backfield.

Speaking of Collins, his attitude about preseason football is perfect. According to, he’s always ready to go:

"“It felt awesome, honestly. Just to be able to let it boom with somebody, come out with my hips, explode and hold, and not hold back. It’s not training camp anymore, it’s football season. Just to be able to do that was a fun time, brought back old memories and trying to make new ones.”"

If this attitude could get bottled for the other players, that would be awesome.

Where was Cody Latimer? It sure looks like wideout Hunter Sharp will make the team as a return specialist, but his skills as a receiver are also apparent. Kalif Raymond and his east – west style did not get it done in the return game. In my estimation, he sank on the depth chart further.

New York Giants legend Carl Banks breaks down the 2018 team. dark. Next

Let’s face it, there will be many adjustments via the game film. Accounting for first game jitters, this week now becomes part of the measuring stick. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary – good or bad. Truthfully, I wanted to be wow’d. So it’s time to study the film, make adjustments and get ready for the Detroit Lions. Let’s see where we stand next week.