As the New York Giants emerged victorious from their second preseason game against the New York Jets, there was a mixed bag of performances that should give fans pause as they try to get a feel for this team. Sure, Jayron Hosely's interception, Rueben Randle's catch, Martellus Bennett's blocking and even the score of the game were all signs that Big Blue is coming along. However, the Giants still had poor run blocking, Eli Manning threw an ugly interception and the team made a series of mental errors on offense that resulted in some embarrassing three-and-outs.
Granted, it's the preseason and that's what these games are for, but this team still has a long way to go if it wants to play with more consistency in 2012. With that, starting quarterback Eli Manning acknowledged how much work the team has to do as the regular season approaches.
"I thought we had a couple good drives and moved the ball. We converted some third downs, had some opportunities, but didn't get in the end zone. Whenever you play the Jets, you're always going against a great defense. They do a lot of different things and throw a lot at you. I think we communicated well to handle that. There is definitely still a whole lot for us to work on, but we're making progress," Manning said.
The most disconcerting aspect of Saturday night's performance was that the Giants got very little production from the rushing attack. Not only did Big Blue have the league's worst rushing attack in the league a year ago, but last night's performance made it look like they intend on holding that title for another season. In fact, while trying to run the ball 32 times, the team only mustered up 58 yards on the ground for a dismal 1.8 yards per carry against the Jets. The offensive line play was consistently bad, and needs to drastically improve before the games start to count. If they don't, this may become another lost season for the running game.
With all that said, no team has ever played a perfect football game. There are always going to be mistakes made and areas that need to be improved upon. Especially in the preseason.
Furthermore, there were a lot more good things to take away from last night's game than bad. The defensive line play was ferocious, the secondary was formidable, Victor Cruz looked to be in mid-season form, and the list goes on.
However, just like every other NFL team, the Giants still have a lot of work to do. There are areas of the roster, mostly on the offensive line, that have some serious questions to answer before the team's Week one bout against Dallas. As the deadline approaches to start cutting down the roster closer to the final 53 guys, the competition should become that much fiercer, which hopefully raises the level of play all around. Next Friday night against Chicago will be a great barometer in which to measure how far this team has progressed since the inception of training camp.
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