The Giants opened up their Preseason schedule with one of the most preseasoniest preseason games in recent memory. The New York Giants’ 32-21 exhibition loss on Friday night to the Jacksonville Jaguars was sloppy, inconsistent and ugly for both teams on the field. Muffed punts, blown coverages, fumbles and the struggles of the nervous replacement officials made this game show exactly why there is almost a full month left until the start of the regular season. Everyone needs a little more time.
With that said, the Giants did get some good looks at key players and key position battles across the field. That is what the preseason is all about. There is no meaning to these games. It’s merely an observation for us to report and discuss.
Martellus “The Black Unicorn” Bennett was brought in for his tremendous blocking ability. Bennett had three catches for 27 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown grab. He calls himself “The Black Unicorn” because of his speed and size. He will be counted on for his blocking, but he is off to a great start by showcasing his receiving skills last night.
The running backs battle going on for the backup position is a main focus in camp this preseason. We got the first sighting of a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw and he looks fantastic in minimal playing time. D.J. Ware got the first crack at backup last night and he was quick and elusive. He finished with 30 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. His two-yard touchdown run came on a great second effort at the goal line. Andre Brown was next in line and finished with 25 yards on seven carries. He gained 19 yards on his first two carries but was held in check on his next five. Rookie David Wilson was the last running back to be seen and he showcased his potential. His second carry was an explosive play up the middle for a 26 yard gain. Wilson finished the night with 43 yards on seven carries for an impressive 6.1 yards-per-carry average. Even running behind a backup offensive line, Wilson showed that he is capable of a big gain.
Prince Amukamara started and had a rough outing giving up a three yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts on the opening drive. He did redeem himself by stripping Shorts later in the first quarter to give the Giants the ball at the Jacksonville 29-yard line. It’s just the first preseason game and too early to make assumptions, but Amukamara is the guy the Giants want to step up and fill the hole left by Terrell Thomas. So far, we have seen some positive and some negative.
With Domenik Hixon out with a hamstring injury, the rest of the number three wideouts were able to step in a deliver a reason as to why they should be the number three wideout. Ramses Barden got the start and looked good, using his massive size to shield himself and the ball from receivers. Jerrell Jernigan just missed a touchdown catch in the end zone but was held. Rookie Rueben Randle looked good late, using his size to gain an advantage in the end zone with a touchdown grab.
Mark Herzlich has had a full offseason with the Giants strength program and that looks to have had some effect on him. Herzlich is no longer a success story: he has developed into a dangerous linebacker. He is quicker and better in pass coverage, and his football IQ is through the roof. He will be in a battle with Chase Blackburn for the MLB position and it looks as if the Giants have struck gold with Herzlich.
Rookie Jayron Hosley had an impressive debut returning punts until he muffed a fair catch. Hosley had a sack and looked good in coverage. Adrian Tracey had an impressive strip sack. Rookie Will Hill saw some action as the third safety and delivered some hits. Isaiah Stanback made a circus catch in the end zone in the second quarter. Marvin Austin continues to look rusty in his first game in over two years. Steve Weatherford picked up right where he left off nailing perfect punts.
Next up for the Giants is an away game against the Jets (0-1) on August 18 at Metlife Stadium.
About the Author
Written by Matthew Stapleton
Ridgewood, New Jersey