Approach to the Game – New York Giants at New York Jets, August 16, 2010: This is a game I would rather not play and I can’t wait for it to be over. But it’s the first Giants’ game since January! How can you say that?
Because what should be a relatively meaningless game will be turned into a circus show by the fans and the media, with far too many judgments being made on the outcome.
Let’s get one thing straight. The first preseason game rivals the last preseason game in terms of meaninglessness. It’s usually a glorified scrimmage. The third preseason game is the primary dress rehearsal, followed by the second preseason game.
The Giants and Jets usually play in the third preseason game – the most meaningful one. But with the opening of the new stadium, the game was moved up for obvious reasons.
I hate playing the Jets in the preseason. Their well-earned inferiority complex vis a vis the Giants makes both the Jets’ franchise and their fans take this game far too seriously. The goal of the preseason is not to win games, but to prepare your team for the regular-season. I would gladly get pounded 100-0 in every preseason game than to lose a key starter to injury.
But to the Jets’ self esteem issues, add the excitement that will be generated from the new stadium, a nationally-televised game, the focus the Jets are receiving both nationally and locally as New York’s true Super Bowl favorite, and the likely dickhead behavior by Rex Ryan, and you have a recipe for a game in which the Jets come out blazing in a game that the Giants will likely treat as a relatively minor affair.
My point? Relax. I’m sure younger Giants’ fans and some less wise, older ones will make too big a deal over the outcome of this game. It doesn’t matter folks. Just get out of the game healthy.
But I still expect the Monday and Tuesday meltdown in The Corner Forum.
Giants on Offense: I fully expect the Giants’ offense to look pretty bad on Monday night. Why? First, both starting guards will likely not play, and even if Rich Seubert does get a few snaps, he will be playing with one hand in a cast. Remember how poorly the Giants did on offense in the last two regular-season games of 2009? Much of that had to do with William Beatty and Kevin Boothe playing for injured starters. The Giants’ offense is a far different machine when Diehl, Seubert, O’Hara, Snee, and McKenzie are playing – both in terms of running the football and passing.
Just as significantly, Eli’s two main security blankets: WR Steve Smith (groin/hip) and TE Kevin Boss (ankle/hamstring) will not play. Those are major losses against a very good, aggressive, attacking defense like the Jets. When Eli doesn’t trust his targets, like most quarterbacks, he tends to be a little reluctant to pull the trigger. Don’t be shocked to see sacks or interceptions by the “starting” unit.
With four of the five tight ends out, Bear Pascoe will likely be worked to death on Monday night. In two tight end sets, the Giants will have to use OL Herb Taylor as the second tight end.
If I’m the Jets and trying to make a big splash in a meaningless game – like I’m sure Mr. Ryan will try – I just load up against the run and blitz a lot to make the Giants’ starters look foolish.
Now let’s move on to what really matters for the Giants, the positional battles/situations:
QB: How big a drop off is Jim Sorgi from David Carr? Do the Giants keep Rhett Bomar on the roster? The preseason will determine that answer.
HB: The top two dogs are Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. I would not play either very much on Monday. But who is the #3 back? Will it be D.J. Ware or Andre Brown?
FB: Madison Hedgecock has been blocking better in camp now that he is healthy. Jim Johnson has looked good catching the football, but can he block?
TE: Bear Pascoe is going to be one sore and tired camper on Tuesday morning. The other tight ends need to back on the playing field. It’s starting to look like another wasted season for Travis Beckum. Who is the third tight end on this team?
OL: With Snee, Seubert, and Boothe out, this will be a big game for Guy Whimper and Mitch Petrus. How has Will Beatty progressed at tackle? The Giants’ second and third team offensive lines historically look like crap during the preseason and I don’t expect anything different in this game. It might be a long night for Sorgi and Bomar.
Giants on Defense: The Giants are a bit healthier here though the secondary may not look too sharp with Corey Webster (glute), Terrell Thomas (leg), and S Kenny Phillips (knee) either not playing or not playing much. It’s a far different secondary for the Giants when those three are in the game.
This will be an interesting test for the Giants’ defense. The Giants’ defense is not built to stop physical, power running attacks. Why? Because there are not many of them in the NFL as most teams are now finesse, passing attacks. The Giants’ emphasis on rushing the passer served them well in their amazing playoff run that resulted in upsetting the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. But the Jets are not an ideal match-up for the Giants. If the Giants are to get off the field, they will have to get nasty and stuff the run.
DE: Giants are supposedly deep and talented at this position, but let’s see it on the field because they were not in 2009. I am very curious to see Jason Pierre-Paul.
DT: Chris Canty is a very nice player to build around. Barry Cofield may have Linval Joseph breathing down his neck. And Rocky Bernard and Jay Alford are coming off injuries that either affected their play or prevented them from playing last year. Both have a lot to prove.
LB: How long can Jonathan Goff hold off Keith Bulluck? Who is the future middle linebacker on this team – Goff or Phillip Dilliard? Can Clint Sintim play 4-3 strongside linebacker in the NFL? Are Bryan Kehl or Gerris Wilkinson ever going to justify being drafted? I am very curious to see Adrian Tracy.
CB: With Webster and/or Thomas out, much pressure will be placed on Bruce Johnson to perform. Who is the fifth corner on this team? Rookie Seth Williams? Journeyman Courtney Brown? D.J. Johnson reportedly has not been sharp at camp.
S: Kenny Phillips will likely be held out. Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant are good. With the loss of Chad Jones, Michael Johnson has a new lease on life. What can he do with it? Is there a diamond in the rough among Sha’reff Rashad, Michael Greco, or John Busing?
Giants on Special Teams: My biggest worry about this team other than injuries is punter Matt Dodge. He is very inconsistent.
And the loss of Domenik Hixon is huge. Who is the team’s primary punt returner? Kickoff returner? Do the Giants risk using a high profile player like Aaron Ross on punt returns?