Henry Hynoski – © USA TODAY Sports Images
NEW YORK GIANTS 35 – NEW YORK JETS 24
It may have just been a blip, but for the first time this preseason the New York Giants’ offense showed life.
Was it pretty all the time? No. In fact, it was downright ugly at points. But it was progress and at this point, that’s all Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and others can ask for.
Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images
The catchless Victor Cruz has been the go-to punchline for the Giants for nearly the entire preseason. Ben McAdoo’s offense is supposed to fit Cruz’s talents to a ‘T,’ but through three games the receiver hadn’t caught a pass that didn’t end in a fumble. It didn’t take long for Eli Manning to get Cruz the ball, in fact it came on the first play. After that, Manning went back to Cruz again and again. When the night was over, Cruz had a team-high four receptions for a team-high 61 yards.
The second-year defensive end finished with four tackles and two sacks, but what was more impressive than anything was the fact his first two possessions in the third quarter came playing against the Jets’ starting offensive line. Moore chased down Michael Vick (no easy task) for a sack on the first play of the second half, then recovered a fumble one play later. Again, working against the starters, the next series, Moore recorded a tackle for a loss on Chris Johnson. Moore has proven he can dominate a team’s second-string left tackle, a task he should be able to accomplish. On Friday he showed he can be a good player versus the starters, too.
The Giants love versatile players. The more you can do, the more the team fawns over you. Parker is beginning to earn that reputation with the Giants. The receiver can return kicks and punts, but Friday he showed he can make plays as a receiver, too. Parker caught three passes for 52 yards including a 39-yard touchdown on a bomb from Ryan Nassib. Parker reached out and made a finger-tip grab. With the injury to Marcus Harris – and struggles of Jerrel Jernigan – Parker may have earned himself a spot on the Giants’ 53-man roster.
Jenkins put a huge hit on Geno Smith early in the game and pressured the quarterback countless other times. Last year, Jenkins was one of the more underrated players on the Giants’ roster and looks to have built off that season and is looking good in Perry Fewell’s scheme.
Maybe it was because he scorned the team to sign with the Giants, but the Jets went at Rodgers-Cromartie time and time again. The result? Nothing. DRC made two huge pass breakups, including a beautiful one on Eric Decker in the end zone. He did get called for a defensive holding, but then again, who doesn’t nowadays?
Ryan Nassib – © USA TODAY Sports Images
In preseason and training camp, I was one of Ryan Nassib’s biggest critics. I ripped him when he played poorly and truthfully saw little to instill faith that he had a future in the NFL. The last two weeks, he’s made me a believer. Nassib was accurate, showed a strong arm and extended plays with his legs. I’d like to see him play with the starters because honestly, I’m starting to think the Giants have found their quarterback of the future.
The front office likes Jerrel Jernigan. The coaching staff…not so much. Jernigan didn’t help his cause after all but being called out by Giants’ Coach Tom Coughlin earlier this week. The former third-round pick dropped an easy one on third down for the Giants which caused the punt team to come on. Jernigan played very well at the end of last season, but he has not carried that over into 2014. The Giants have started to work Marcus Harris, Preston Parker and Corey Washington into the lineup more frequently, possibly to see if others are a better fit than Jernigan.
I know, it’s a wrong to pick on someone who was carted off the field. But prior to his injury, Schwartz was downright dreadful. Muhammad Wilkerson manhandled the Giants prized free-agent acquisition and put constant pressure on Eli Manning. There were a few times New York’s franchise quarterback was running for his life. The culprit? Pressure right up the middle and past Schwartz.
Charles James II
Giving up a long completion down the sideline, a touchdown and then getting a personal foul…not good for a player on the roster bubble. If you didn’t know anything about the Giants, you’d think James was an All-Pro with the way he carries himself. That’s great, but his play needs to match it. Tonight it didn’t. Truth is, aside form his voice, James hasn’t done much to stand out in a cornerback group littered with talent.
Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images
Drive to End the Half
Driving 91 yards in 11 plays is nice. Doing it in one minute and 48 seconds? Wow. For one series..and literally that’s it…Ben McAdoo’s system worked. Seriously! It looked like a real offense. We outlined the drive specifically in our game recap.
I saw some positive things from Eli Manning, but not enough to make him a ‘Stud.’ The result? He falls into “the good” category. Manning completed 12-of-21 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown. His quarterback rating was 93.2 percent and he hit Rueben Randle for a nice 26-yard gain down the sideline. The reason he isn’t a ‘Stud’ is simply because he still doesn’t look like has faith behind the Giants offensive line. Then again, can anyone blame him? He also made a poor decision on a throw to Cruz that was almost intercepted.
Another strong outing for the rookie 5th round pick. Kennard led the team in tackles with seven.
Skipping ‘The Bad’ and going straight to the ugly, the Giants offensive line was downright brutal again. The Jets’ starters manhandled them and had Manning running for his life on multiple occasions. The fact Geoff Schwartz is now out certainly doesn’t bode well.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images
Enough is enough because it really is getting out of hand. Twenty total were called and nine resulted in first downs. That’s not including the ones that were declined. There were some that I saw that I agreed with, but not 20 of them. Something needs to give because it’s getting out of hand.
We outlined some of the more serious injuries here, but the Giants were hit hard. Zack Bowman (triceps), Geoff Schwartz (toe), Marcus Harris (shoulder) and Markus Kuhn (lower leg) all left with injuries and Schwartz and Harris seem to be serious. The Giants need to stay healthy, but tonight wasn’t a healthy outing.
The Defense and Missed Tackles
The biggest and most glaring issue that I saw with the Giants’ defense was the missed tackles. It didn’t matter if it was Chris Ivory or Chris Johnson, nor did it matter the defender, the Giants were lacking in their tackling fundamentals and the Jets made them pay. Jason Pierre-Paul missed tackles, Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich and many others. The Jets ran for 146 yards on 32 carries (4.6 yards per carry) versus the Giants’ defense. Not to mention, every Jets quarterback had a rating over 100 percent.