The last time the New York Giants concluded their preseason against the New England Patriots and then went on to also face them in the regular season was 2007. And while that theoretically has little impact on what will come for Big Blue here in 2011, Polybius’ theory of historic recurrence surmises that these two will ultimately meet for a third time in February of 2012.
For now, that’s neither here nor there. What we do have on the plate however, was a sloppy victory over what is widely considered to be one of the best and most complete teams in the league.
After falling behind 17-3 to the Patriots first team, the Giants clawed their way back into the game and dominated the second half, eventually walking away with an 18-17 victory. What was lost in the early portion of the game was the fact that the Giants’ reserves actually played quite well against Tom Brady & Co. Save for a Domenik Hixon fumble and one blown coverage, the Giants second string actually did a great job at shutting down what we’re led to believe will be an extremely high-powered New England offense.
For the fourth consecutive week, it was the young linebackers who stood out. Greg Jones led the way with a real “wow” sort of game that has fans wondering if significant playing time is soon coming his way. Additionally, Jacquian Williams really broke out of his shell and displayed the speed and determination that led him to be drafted in the first place. Furthermore, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich continued their solid preseason campaigns with flashes of dominance (especially Herzlich on delayed blitzes).
It’s an interesting problem the Giants coaches now have, even with Clint Sintim out for the remainder of the season. One or more of these guys are going to have to be cut, and even if they are placed on the practice squad, the team risks losing them all together. It’s bittersweet considering how depressing the Giants’ linebackers have looked in recent years. They finally have a ton of young talent and they’re ultimately going to lose some of it.
In addition to the rookie linebackers, running backs Andre Brown and Da’Rel Scott really stole the show. Brown displayed a significant resurgence last night and reminded everyone watching that he was drafted as a Derrick Ward clone and still maintains that ability…and more. Da’Rel Scott on the other hand, although still a hard runner, is all about the speed. And boy oh boy, does he have speed. The Giants have a serious weapon in him because he’s a threat to take it to the house each and every time.
It wasn’t just youngsters and rookies who made their presence felt last night and throughout this preseason though. Once again Devin Thomas stepped up and made some big catches, but more importantly, he’s proven himself a valuable special teams asset.
The same can not be said for rookie wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan though. His struggles as a punt returner have been well documented throughout the preseason and they continued to haunt him on Thursday night. And while he had some really nice catches in the passing game, including an incredible catch on a two-point conversation, he’s not the answer at punt returner. Still, Tom Coughlin said after the game that he will remain in the mix. That stubbornness may eventually end up costing the Giants a game.
All in all, it was a rough preseason. The Giants lost 12 players (not all of whom were slated to make the roster) for the entire season, and suffered a variety of other injuries that will effect them as they move into the regular season. There’s also a lot of concern regarding Eli Manning and the passing offense, as well as depth at defensive tackle and cornerback. Still, the future looks bright in many areas for Big Blue, but in a “what have you done for me lately” league, no one wants to look forward…they all want to win right now. And rightfully so. Coaches don’t coach for tomorrow, players don’t play for tomorrow and fans don’t root for next year. Sadly, while the Giants may be on the right path, injuries and development may mean they’re a year or so off from being serious Super Bowl contenders again.
But hey, this is the NFL and on any given Sunday…
Other Positive Observations:
- Michael Coe actually played well. He may not be a superstar, but perhaps he won’t be a terribly weak link either.
- Tyler Sash once again flashed signs of potential future dominance.
- Matt Dodge finally seems to have his head on straight.
Other Negative Observations:
- Bear Pascoe concluded what has otherwise been a terrible preseason. He may be in danger of being cut.
- Travis Beckum didn’t play because of an ankle injury. Oy.
- Rhys Lloyd looked horrible kicking field goals, and it’s unlikely he’ll stick around if Lawrence Tynes can get healthy.
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