New York Giants: News and notes for NFL preseason Week 1
By Curt Macysyn
As the preseason slate got started, the New York Giants dropped their opener to the Cleveland Browns, 20-10, on Thursday night.
New York Giants fans could have turned their televisions off after the first play from scrimmage. Dynamic rookie running back, Saquon Barkley, ripped off an exciting 39-yard scamper to jump start his professional career. Largely, that was the extent of the team’s offense against the Browns. According to ESPN, Barkley led Big Blue with 43-yards on the ground. That means he had only four yards in his other three carries.
Further down the running back depth chart, both Robert Martin (Rutgers) and Jalen Simmons (South Carolina State) created some excitement for Big Blue. Martin averaged 7.8 yards per carry, while Simmons had 38 rushing yards and the Giants lone touchdown.
Last week, quarterback play was clearly subpar for the New York Giants and must improve. Second-year man Davis Webb struggled through a woeful (9 completions – 22 attempts) evening. Webb’s quarterback rating was a lethargic 49.4. How bad is that? Well, Cleveland starter Tyrod Taylor garnered a 153.8 rating, while Browns’ rookie Baker Mayfield clocked in with a 125.4 rating.
By far, the biggest positive for the G-Men was their rush defense. The Browns ran the ball 33 times for 50 yards. That equates to 1.5 yards per carry! Stopping the run will be helpful in the competitive NFC East division this season. The G-Men will want to make their division foes one dimensional. Conversely, the team’s pass defense must improve, especially cornerback play.
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Injury bug in D.C.
The biggest news coming out of the NFL in preseason Week 1 was the injury to Washington Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice. Guice was lost for the entire campaign with a knee injury suffered in their defeat to the New England Patriots. The ‘Skins also lost tight end Manassah Garner to a similar knee injury in the same game, as well as wideout Robert Davis in the same week. Washington head coach Jay Gruden appears to be getting ticked off in having to deal with continuing injuries.
Per the Washington Post, Gruden said:
"“It weighs on me a little bit sometimes. I feel like I’m doing something wrong. You hate to see anybody get hurt. This time of year, when you’re trying to limit the contact and guys are still going down in a noncontact drill, it’s frustrating.”"
Veteran Chris Thompson will now have to carry the load, perhaps with Rob Kelley or Samaje Perine being given more playing time. Former Redskins tailback Alfred Morris also remains an available free agent, so a reunion could be arranged.
Ex-Giants in the news
Two guys, who cut their NFL teeth in East Rutherford with the G-Men, caught touchdown passes in preseason Week 1. Wideout Geremy Davis hauled in a touchdown pass from old friend Geno Smith in the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, according to Pro Football Focus.
"“It was largely a stagnant performance from the Chargers offense, but wide receiver Geremy Davis was one standout, as he showed on his spectacular 47-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter. That type of athleticism and concentration to go up and make a play on the ball with a defensive back draped all over you is quite impressive.”"
Can’t-Miss Play: Geremy Davis Gets Up for Head-Turning TD
Meanwhile, tight end Matt LaCosse scored on a 36-yard strike from Chad Kelly for the Denver Broncos in their loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Davis was a 2015 sixth-round draft pick of the New York Giants, out of Connecticut. According to Pro Football Reference, LaCosse was cut six times by the New York Giants before landing with the Denver Broncos last December.
Right now, both players are buried on their respective teams depth charts, but plays like they had this week definitely open eyes. When these guys were with the G-Men, neither one could be considered a game-changer. Both had talent that was evident, but they were not NFL-ready. And the NFL remains a win-now endeavor. Hopefully these guys have reached their peak and can contribute in the NFL this season with their clubs. They’ve certainly paid their dues.