Throw out the 2-2 August record for the New York Giants, the preseason was more about building a solid foundation.
Unless you’re a family member of a player, the final preseason contest holds as much excitement as an oil change for your car. History will show that the New York Giants lost to the New England Patriots 17-12 at MetLife Stadium to end the 2018 preseason.
Other than the score, not much will be remembered from Thursday night. In the final preseason game, that’s a good thing. Head coach Pat Shurmur didn’t have to give much of an injury update. With star players like Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham and Olivier Vernon already on the mend, no one else needed to be added to the list.
Now that chapter of the 2018 New York Giants summer campaign is closed, what did we learn about the team? Here are a few observations on the good, bad and yet to be determined for Big Blue.
New York Giants
Offensive line play comes to the top of the list. Free agent left tackle Nate Solder has led the way. He was graded as the team’s top offensive player by Pro Football Focus with an 80.8 grade. In terms of pass blocking, the offensive line was third best in the NFL, according to PFF, with an overall 90.9 grade.
There still are concerns with run blocking, as well as with guard Patrick Omameh and tackle Ereck Flowers, but the key point is that the unit is absolutely trending in the right direction. The trade of Brett Jones to the Minnesota Vikings really cements the idea that team brass likes what it sees.
Additionally, we have seen signs that the pass rush will be a factor. That’s vitally important. In the middle two contests, against the Detroit Lions and New York Jets, quarterback pressure was the name of the game. The star players like Vernon and Damon Harrison stepped up in a big way, while youngsters like rookie B.J. Hill, Lorenzo Carter and Dalvin Tomlinson keep improving.
Finally, a shout out goes to all involved in getting the Odell Beckham contract situation ironed out. OBJ looks ready to go, and he will be the key offensive player that makes the offensive unit proficient (sorry Saquon Barkley fans).
The injury to rookie running back Saquon Barkley robbed him of important game and practice repetitions. We suppose annoying trolls will troll about this, since they that’s what they do. But I don’t see Barkley going for 150 yards at five yards a carry against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 with very limited game action. I’m sorry. Maybe I’m wrong, but we shall see.
I may be in the minority on this one, but I feel like cornerback Eli Apple just got to the point where he’s playing like a rookie. Once again, the trolls will have a field day with that statement, since we all know that Apple is entering his third season with the club. Overall, I feel like he’s grasping defensive concepts, but still making mistakes.
Hunter Sharp or Kalif Raymond? Kalif Raymond or Hunter Sharp? I can’t decide. Hopefully the Giants make the right decision, but I can’t say I’m overwhelmed by either guy. Big Blue could use a return touchdown or two this season, and let’s see if someone can get it done.
To Be Determined
The back-up quarterback position continues to be a work in progress. Now for the social media experts who told us that Kyle Lauletta was a fourth-round steal, please save it. Most times, the next franchise quarterback doesn’t slip through 31 teams 40 times. Yeah, everyone wants to point to Tom Brady, but isn’t that getting a little old?
On Thursday, Lauletta was 8 – 19 for 118 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He garnered a 41.0 quarterback rating for his work against New England Patriots back-ups and third stringers. Given the tepid endorsements that Shurmur has given Davis Webb, and the fact that he hasn’t put performance concerns to rest, the amatuer general managers should wrap their heads around the fact that Eli Manning’s successor may not yet be on the roster.
At any rate, Lauletta was not a “steal”. I’m not closing the door on future development, but please don’t slap a first-round grade on an totally unfinished product.
Second-year cornerback Donte Deayon continues to be the thing that wouldn’t leave. Two interceptions against the Patriots, and he’s likely made the roster. Doesn’t it always seem that each year one guy busts down the door, only to have the coaching staff hold him back? Making the roster isn’t enough, haven’t you found your slot cornerback?
I’m partial to a guy with a nose for the football, and that’s Deayon to a tee.
Finally, it may be a numbers game at linebacker, but I would find a way to keep Calvin Munson. His coverage skills are needed. I don’t see him sneaking through waivers and ending up on the practice squad. He’s a special teams performer as well. The Giants don’t need five safeties, but that’s where I see this thing heading.
The team won’t want to pull the pull on Darian Thompson. Right now, Landon Collins and Curtis Riley are the starters. Does the team cut Andrew Adams? Michael Thomas has played his way onto the roster. Maybe Dave Gettleman can work some trade magic. I’d rather have Munson on the squad than William Gay.