Last night the New York Giants played the Carolina Panthers in their preseason opener, and with everything that went down this week in free agency, the fans were hoping for a good show from the Giants.
They didn’t get it.
While the defense played well at times, they still made a couple mental errors and by the time the starters were out, they were down 10-7. The only highlight of the day for the Giants was a interception by Michael Boley on the third play of the game which he returned for a touchdown.
Jason Pierre-Paul played incredibly well. He looked strong, athletic, hungry, and dominated two time Pro Bowler Jordan Gross the entire time the two were matched up. JPP ended the night with four tackles, two sacks, and two QB hits. This was in just over a quarter of action.
JPP was hardly the only bright spot on defense. Chris Canty made several plays in the run game, Marvin Austin played well with the backups, and Adrian Tracy was yet again the best looking linebacker in a preseason game, continuing his theme from last year.
Mathias Kiwanuka and Adrian Tracy each lined up at linebacker on first and second down, then put their hand in the dirt on passing downs. It seemed to work out very well as the Giants had pressure on the quarterback all night and ended with four sacks.
The offense and special teams were especially awful last night. Aside from the first drive which led to a missed 56 yard field goal, the Giants first team offense could not move the ball and punted on three of their four drives.
Eli over threw Nicks on two plays and didn’t see him up the seem on another. He finished 4/9 for only 36 yards and no touchdowns. The only positive you can take is that he didn’t turn the ball over.
I’m being hard on the offense, but the truth is they didn’t have Travis Beckum who is going to be a big part of the offense, and they were forced to use Jake Ballard at tight end most of the game. Bear Pascoe started at full back for some reason; most people agree Henry Hynoski is going to get that job.
Ballard was a big reason why the running game could do nothing to the outside. He kept getting thrown around and dominated.
The starting offensive line looked good, but they did most of their running to the right side and were ineffective to the left. I mentioned before that Will Beatty needs to improve his run blocking and apparently the Giants are not confident in him yet. Speaking of Beatty, he had his ups and downs but generally did a very good job protecting the passer. As a whole the first team kept Eli’s jersey pretty clean.
One thing that was particularly ugly last night was the special teams, and more specifically the punt coverage. Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford were blasting great punts all night, only to see half the team in coverage missing tackles, running out of control past people, and not staying in their lanes.
Not only that, but the second and third group on defense, who will be mostly special teamers, were missing tackles all night. Suffice it to say if I was showing film on good tackling, this would be the last game I chose.
Also, it appears the Giants have zero depth along the offensive line. That unit was especially terrible last night and Kevin Boothe did nothing to vindicate his signing this off season. On one particular play he just ignored the middle linebacker who came straight up the middle and pulverized Sage Rosenfels.
They are also responsible for letting Carolina block a field goal and possibly injuring Lawrence Tynes. Tynes took a helmet to his thigh on the play and gingerly walked off the field and to the locker room. After the game he wasn’t putting any weight on his right leg and was walking in crutches.
It’s not serious, according to the team, but it doesn’t look good.
The one bright spot on offense was Domenik Hixon, who ended the night with five catches for 86 yards. He appears the favorite to take over the third wide receiver spot. Despite the fact that he took over Smith’s old No. 12, Jerrel Jernigan did not do much last night in the passing game.
Obviously the offense missed Kevin Boss and Steve Smith last night, but it’s early and this was only the first preseason game. At this point we just have to accept that they were knocking the cobwebs off and hope they get it together by the third preseason game.