New York Giants 6 (2-2) – New England Patriots 3 (2-2)
By rnargi for BigBlueInteractive.com
Game Summary: Giants 6 Patriots 3. I remember these games.
When I was a kid, I used to watch the pre-season games on TV with my brother and Dad. I hate to admit this, but I rooted hard in the pre-season because I felt that the Giants had arguably their best chance to win against teams that weren’t playing many of their starters. I remember being absolutely pissed that even the other teams’ rookies and backups kicked our rookies and backups.
Last night it felt like one of those games I watched at 9 years old. For the most part it was bad players and bad football. Some of you are with me and remember those pre-season games. This used to be the precursor to a very disappointing season; a season we knew was coming and just had to take it.
Not anymore! The Giants are still one of the best teams in the NFL despite what amounts to a thin offensive line and possible thin cornerback and defensive tackle situations. The preseason is over and in the next couple of days 22 players will not realize their dreams of being a New York Giant as the team gets down to the final 53. As I see it, the following list of players should make the team, leaving only nine spots for the open roster:
QB – Manning, Carr
RB – Bradshaw, Wilson, Ware
FB – Hynoski
WR – Nicks, Cruz, Randle, Hixon
TE – Bennett, Pascoe, Robinson
OL – Beatty, Diehl, Locklear, Brewer, Snee, Boothe, Baas
DE – Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Umienyiora, Ojomo
DT – Joseph, Bernard, Kuhn
LB – Boley, Kiwanuka, Rivers, Williams, Paysinger, Blackburn, Herzlich
CB – Webster, Amukamara, Hosley, Coe
S – Rolle, Phillips, Hill
P – Weatherford
K – Tynes
LS – DeOssie
That leaves just 9 spots left for the final 22 to fight for. I believe Terrell Thomas will get on to the exemption IR slot. Other IR’d players are likely to be DT Marvin Austin and DT Shaun Rogers. DT Chris Canty will begin on the PUP list and S Tyler Sash will begin the season suspended for the first 4 games, which is why I put Hill down on the made the team list. It will be interesting to see what happens when Sash returns.
I’m not even going to list the stats of the game. None of them mattered. The only thing that mattered is that the coaches were able to see a lot of players in a lot of situations and now they have to spend the next two days figuring out who can help them more than others. Good luck, there is a lot of depth in a lot of places on the 2012 New York Giants. The other thing that mattered was that there were no apparent major injuries.
Significant Accomplishments, Offensive Players:
New York’s offensive starters (minus several that were rested) played four series into the second quarter. The Giants starters looked out of sync and couldn’t put a drive together. The real story was of the backups, however, as many jobs were on the line.
Hakeem Nicks finally returned to the lineup playing a couple of series and making one catch for six yards. By all accounts Nicks has been shining in practice and looks like he’s ready for the season coming off a broken bone in his foot. Now that he has game time under his belt with no setback, he should be ready to go against Dallas on opening night.
The most fun competition to watch last night may have been for the final running back slot. Bradshaw didn’t play, so David Wilson got the first shot at the Pats second defense (New England opted to sit starters on Wednesday). Wilson didn’t exactly light it up as he gained only 13 yards on 8 carries.
The opening drive of the 3rd quarter belonged almost exclusively to Andre Brown, who rushed 4 straight times for 37 yards. After a pass from Carr to Barden, Brown toted the rock 5 more straight times for 15 more yards. He also caught a 9 yard pass on the drive, which ultimately resulted in the tying field goal. Most impressively, Brown converted 3rd and 1 and 2nd and 1 plays. On the negative side of the ledger, Brown and Carr seemed to become confused on what appeared to be a direct snap to Brown and the ball fell between them and the play was aborted when Brown covered it.
RB Da’Rel Scott also played well, gaining 32 yards on 9 carries with 1 reception for 18 yards. Scott has also continued to work on kick returns, returning a kick in the game for 32 yards (23 net). That may be the thing that keeps Scott on the team, his value on specials.
D.J. Ware didn’t play much, which may mean he’s the clear-cut number 2 back which would anger Corner Forum contributor Joey in VA to no end.
One of the biggest question marks going into this season is the reworked offensive line. Jim Brewer doesn’t seem ready, as many thought he would be, to take over at RT. Will Beatty has a sciatic nerve issue that has had him limited a great deal this pre-season, and Sean Locklear is manning the LT position as the defacto starter for right now. Against the Patriots, Chris Snee was out and G Mitch Pretrus filled in. He was not very good. A poor attempt at one block led to a sack of Eli Manning. The running game didn’t do a thing in the first half.
One of the other bright spots on offense was WR Ramses Barden, who picked up where he left of last week by making four catches for 31 yards. Another catch was called back due to penalty.
Significant Accomplishments, Defensive Players:
The other area that was worth watching was the play of the defensive line. Before we get into that, however, it’s important to note that the players who served as the starters did a fantastic job all pre-season. New York’s first and second team defenses gave up just 24 points in the first half of the four pre-season games, a six point per game average.
I believe DE Adewale Ojomo made the team. He continues to make plays, evidenced by his late strip sack. I don’t know what that means for DE Adrian Tracy who has also flashed, but Ojomo seems to be this years’ Victor Cruz. That brings us to Matt Broha who also made a lot of plays this pre-season. I can’t see the Giants keeping all three of these guys. I believe Broha will be cut or at the most make the practice squad.
Middle linebacker Mark Herzlich is the heir apparent to Chase Blackburn. He had another impressive game last night, including a stop on a 3rd and 1 at the NYG 3 yard line. Ironically, the guy many people feel is on the bubble, Greg Jones, had his best night. Spencer Paysinger, who I thought didn’t have a prayer of making the team going into training camp, has had a solid preseason and LB Jacquian Williams is getting better and better. New York is on the verge of having the best linebacking crew in a very long time.
Significant Accomplishments, Special Teams:
Nothing of consequence to report. With both K Tynes and P Weatherford already playing at Pro Bowl caliber levels, the Giants special teams looks like it’s rounding into form. Jerrel Jernigan, Da’Rel Scott, David Wilson, Dominak Hixon and Ruben Randle appear to be in the mix for the returners, but I’d be lying if I said I had any clue that anyone has won a job outright.
Well some cuts are already starting to leak, and word is that DJ Ware is already out. Instead of going back and amending my thoughts, I’m going to roll with them and comment about the results at a later date. I will amend this on Monday with my thoughts on the Final 53.