For the New York Giants, Friday marked day one of their Super Bowl title defense. Although the game itself didn't count, it was the first major step towards evaluating their current 90-man roster, and for many, a very important part of their offseason as they're currently on the fringe and looking to make an impression. Overall, the first and second teams looked like champions at times, but not everyone performed at such a high level as the remaining reserves, in Tom Coughlin's words, looked "sloppy."
Alas, the Jacksonville Jaguars roared back in the fourth quarter, took the lead on a two point conversion and the game ultimately ended on a sack following a botched call by the replacement referees. With the final score 32-31, the Giants will head into week two with a meaningless 0-1 record against the New York Jets. And hopefully, by then, the normal referees will be back by then as the NFL can't afford much more of this embarrassment.
- Adrian Tracy – Despite an offsides penalty, Tracy really took advantage of the absence of Justin Trattou, putting serious pressure on Jaguars QB’s, including a strip sack of Blaine Gabbert. It may only be one preseason game, but he went a long way in proving he belongs more than a Practice Squad spot. He arguably had one of the top two performances of the night.
- Martellus Bennett – The Black Unicorn was brought in for his tremendous blocking ability, and he certainly lived up to that tonight. However, he also proved he’s an offensive threat, hauling in a couple long passes, including a touchdown from David Carr.
- Mark Herzlich – Watch out, NFL. Herzlich is no longer just a success story; he’s developing into a hell of a linebacker. He looks quicker and better in pass coverage than a year ago, and his football IQ is through the roof. He blew up a run play on 2nd-and-short in the first quarter that showed exactly what a MLB is supposed to do. He carried that success throughout the rest of the game.
- D.J. Ware – Say what you want about Ware, but he’s ready to make the most of his opportunity this year. He ran really hard on back-to-back plays, which led to a touchdown. He also leaped over a defender at one point for a few extra yards.
- Isaiah Stanback – Stanback made an incredible, highlight reel-like one-handed touchdown grab on a pass from David Carr. He’s overlooked with the success of David Douglas in training camp, but fighting hard for the #6 WR spot. He certainly helped his cause.
- Dwayne Hendricks – Former Giants 101 writer Simon GC said prior to tonight’s game that Hendricks would open a lot of eyes. He did. Like Tracy, he’s battling for a spot and made the most of his opportunities, blowing by offensive linemen on a number of occasions, putting a lot of pressure on the opposing QBs.
- Osi Umenyiora – A healthy Chief is incredibly dangerous, and he appeared to be in mid-season form tonight. He is so quick off the ball it looks like he’s offsides every time, but he’s not … he’s just that much quicker to react than anyone else.
- Marvin Austin – In one of the first games Austin has played since 2009, he look quite rusty. He was swallowed up on a few plays, and driven to the sideline on a handful of others. He made next to no positive impact.
- Greg Jones – With Herzlich playing so well and Chase Blackburn's familiarity with the team and defense, Jones needs to have a tremendous preseason or he runs the risk of being cut. He got off to a bad start tonight, looking more than just a little rough around the edges. He didn't seem to adjust well in certain situations, and seemed sluggish trying to change directions to keep up with plays.
- Stevie Brown – Brown found himself in the wrong place several times in the third quarter, and the one time he was in the right spot, he was absolutely demolished on a touchdown run.
- Referees – It doesn’t matter if they are the regular guys or replacements, they’re terrible. But these ones are just a little bit worse. They missed calls against both teams, including a blatant pass interference against Jerrel Jernigan on a would-be touchdown. They also called Hosley for a hold despite the fact that he was the one with the ball.
- Brandon Mosley – Tom Coughlin said Mosley has been inconsistent in camp, and that continued tonight.
- Jerrell Jernigan – Jernigan said earlier this offseason he had been working hard on improving his punt returns after a year of struggles, and then he promptly joined Hosley in muffing a punt. You can bet Tom Coughlin is not happy about that … at all. Here's to the health of Domenik Hixon.
- Justin Tryon – Playing in his first game since breaking his arm a season ago, Tyron had a rough night, getting physically beaten to a few balls, and failing to drop deep enough into zone on a few other occasions.
- Prince Amukamara – Prince looked rough on an early Jaguars drive, twice looking back at the quarterback and losing his man. The first time led to a third-down conversion, while the second led to a touchdown. He did however, make up for his mistakes later on by forcing a fumble which led to a Big Blue score.
- Eli Manning – Overall, Manning looked like Manning, but he also forced a few bad throws that were nearly picked off. Not to worry, though. It’s Eli freakin Manning.
- Andre Brown – Brown looked good on a few runs, but got blown up on a blitz in the third quarter, leading to a sack of David Carr. Then again, it was a direct result of a missed block by Mitch Petrus.
- David Wilson – Fast. Very fast. He used that game-changing speed to break a few long runs, but then almost immediately followed them up by being tackled behind the line. However, one of those losses came as a result of a missed Bear Pascoe block.
- Jayron Hosley – Hosley did have two good punt returns, but he went backwards at one point (made up for it with a long run) and then muffed a fair catch after taking his eye off the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, he looked quite good coming off the blitz.
The observations above are just quick hit pieces that will be rounded up and made whole tomorrow when Giants 101 offers a full game analysis. We know we missed some, so be sure to check back in about 18 hours!
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