Rookies David Wilson, Rueben Randle and Jayron Hosley all played exceptionally well, and found that those young stars should contribute in some facet this upcoming season. Meanwhile, cornerback Prince Amukamara and the entire linebackers corps boasted disappointing performance on the night, with some underwhelming plays made in pass coverage by both.
The Giants did showcase an outstanding amount of depth against the Jaguars, especially at the linebacker and secondary positions. Injuries marred both units in 2011, so the Giants know they could never have too much depth. With two of the linebacker positions up for grabs and uncertainty surrounding the cornerbacks outside of Corey Webster, this preseason should make for an exciting battle for many of the players involved.
The No.3 receiver battle will continue to be the most-watched out of camp, however. Domenik Hixon continues to be the expected guy to fill that void, but he was forced to sit out with a strained hamstring.
Randle does not appear to let up, however, and had a great showing in Jacksonville in Hixon’s absence, including a six-yard touchdown reception that displayed his advantageous size in red zone situations. Giants tend to favor veterans, though, and Hixon is a player head coach Tom Coughlin and company clearly like.
This season, more so than any in recent history, the Giants have a ton of options for kick and punt return duties. For years now, New York has shuffled in whomever they can find with minimal results—and generally nothing positive. But Friday night showed some guys who could prove to be game-changers for Big Blue—something they’ve yearned for in the return game.
Wilson and Hosley stood out with impressive big gains on return, able to find the seam and pick up some yardage. Handling rookie Bryan Anger’s punt seem to give the Giants some trouble, though, as both Hosley and Jerrel Jernigan muffed on returns. Hosley’s fumble resulted in a scoring drive for the Jaguars, but Jernigan’s may have hurt the worst—the young receiver from Troy could be fighting for his life on the Giants roster.
With just one preseason game under their belts, it’s hard to really gauge what direction this team may be headed in, but you can expect them to work on improving the things they were unhappy with. It will be a few weeks before you can really get a feel for this team, but it’s hard not to be optimistic for an intriguing season filled with the hope of successfully defending their Super Bowl title.
Perhaps the most positive thing to walk away with from this game: no one got hurt. Preseason has cost teams so many times before in the past and the last thing you want to see is a player fighting for his job go down. The Giants were embattled with injuries throughout the 2011 season and still came out on top, but they would like to do all they can to ensure everyone is on the field and at 100 percent.
Any game unscathed is a good game during the preseason.