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New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Preseason Week One Game Analysis

August 11th, 2013 at 10:30 AM
By Dan Benton

NFL football has finally returned, and for the New York Giants, they've gotten off on the right foot. Although things were a bit sluggish at times, they hung in and eventually walked away with an 18-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Head coach Tom Coughlin seemed pleased overall, but acknowledged there are some areas — namely the run defense — that need drastic improvement. Safety Antrel Rolle and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins reiterated those statements, and said it's a good starting point for Big Blue.

Key to Victory: Cruzzzzinnnnggg

In his first live action since signing what amounts to a six-year, $45.879 deal, Victor Cruz didn't see much action … and he didn't need to. He caught only one pass the entire the game, but it was a play typical of what we've come to expect from Cruz: a gamebreaker. He got behind the defense, Eli Manning hit him in stride and then it was off to the races. And then when the races were over, it was salsa time. Ultimately, the 57-yard touchdown was the difference between a win and a loss to start the preseason.

GAME POSITIVES

  • Damontre Mooore. DaMonster. The rookie made his presence felt immediately on Saturday with a blocked punt and then continued to disrupt things throughout the game. It seemed like he was routinely in the backfield, forcing the Steelers' quarterback(s) to flea the pocket and generally disrupting their offensive flow.
  • As noted above, Victor Cruz needed only one play to change the game. His 57-yard touchdown was the difference.
  • Fighting for a roster spot, safety Tyler Sash had a hell of a game. He was all over the place on defense, recording two tackles for a loss and a safety, and also made his presence felt on special teams, recovering a fumble.
  • Adewale Ojomo has been quiet in camp, but apparently he's a gamer. Much like he did a preseason ago, he came up huge in the fourth quarter with 1 1/2 sacks — including one that all but ended the game.
  • It won't get talked about, but Steve Weatherford punted the ball six times on Saturday night, averaging 49.5 yards with a long of 58 yards and two downed inside of the 20.
  • Rueben Randle said he wanted to make one big play to show the coaches he's not just a practice guy, and he did. He hauled in only one pass for 16 yards, but it was off of a great read, a good adjustment and then made some people miss. It's a great sign for the second-year wideout.
  • Brandon Mosley appeared to whiff on a block on the Giants' first series (forcing Eli to release the ball early), but that was about it. He wasn't loud, but he was solid starting in place of Chris Snee and James Brewer for nearly three quarters.

GAME NEGATIVES

  • Linebacker were, as many expected, an issue for the Giants on Saturday night. The first unit in particular failed to stay disciplined and were repeatedly getting beaten in their gaps. And despite an offseason focus on run defense, the Steelers carved the Giants up in the first half, and ended the game with 94 yards on 27 carries. And while the ypc average dipped as the game wore on, Pittsburgh did have seven runs of five yards or more.
  • The Matt McCants experiment at center was a terrible idea, led to a bad snap and, ultimately, a safety.
  • Ryan Nassib struggled mightily in his first NFL series, and ended up completing only one pass (a good catch by Julian Talley) for 29 yards. There's obviously a lot of room for improvement, but there's also a strong chance his nerves got the best of him.
  • Da'Rel Scott led the Giants with 10 carries, but averaged only 1.2 yards per carry (lowest ypc for any running back on either team).
  • If you were stuck watching the NBC broadcast of the game, you missed a lot of action. The camera work was downright terrible (they literally missed several plays), and there was the constant sound of an old rotary phone ringing throughout the entirety of the broadcast. At one point, there was also the sound of a loud engine idling for several minutes. A really poor job by NBC.

MIXED REVIEWS

  • Corey Webster didn't see much time on Saturday, but was the primary focus of the Steelers' offense on an early first quarter series. At one point, he got an excellent jam on a wide receiver who was attempting a double move (there didn't appear to be a safety over top) and it forced Ben Roethlisberger to throw the ball away. However, he was beaten on the very next play, but Antonio Brown couldn't keep get his feet down.
  • If not for a missed 38-yard field goal, kicker Josh Brown would have had one of the best all-around performances on the team. He consistently booted the ball out of the endzone on kickoffs, and seemed solid on three of his field goal attempts; but that miss from 38-yards is a bit concerning.
  • David Wilson did a good job making something out of nothing all night, but it was his pass protection and blitz pickup that were under the microscope. The verdict? He looked better than a season ago, but not quite all the way there yet.
  • Andre Brown also had a solid game, but a non-contact fumble? That's the easiest way to find yourself in the doghouse.
  • Defensive back Charles James made a lot of noise on Saturday night (two tackles, one tackle for a loss, one sack), but he also made a cardinal (football) sin: he returned a punt from inside the endzone. Tom Coughlin will not be happy about that.

PLAYER OF THE GAME – DE Damontre Moore

Is there really any debate about Moore being the player of the game? Sure, the argument could be made for Cruz, but this rookie loudly announced his arrival to the NFL. He ended the game with four tackles (three solo), one tackle for a loss, one QB hit and a blocked punt. However, it certainly seemed like a lot more than that as he was around the ball carrier on almost every play and was constantly disrupting the quarterback. It'll be interesting to see if he can follow it up with another good performance next week against the Indianapolis Colts.

GAME BALLS

DE Damontre Moore, S Tyler Sash, WR Victor Cruz, P Steve Weatherford

OVERALL PERFORMANCE GRADE

Considering this was the first preseason game of the new year, expectations shouldn't be too high. Still, after an entire offseason dedicated to beefing up the interior line and focusing on linebacker improvement, the Giants failed dramatically in stopping the run. It's been a primary concern of head coach Tom Coughlin and his assistants, and there's no way in hell they are going to be pleased with Saturday's performance. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, they continued to struggle inside of the redzone and settled for more field goal attempts than Kevin Gilbride would like to see. Also, that shotgun draw … yeah, apparently it remains in the playbook. But, at the end of the day, a W is a W.

Grade: C+

Photo credit: Big Blue89 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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Tags: Adewale Ojomo, Charles James, Damontre Moore, Football, Josh Brown, Julian Talley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rueben Randle, Ryan Nassib, Steve Weatherford, Tyler Sash

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42 Responses to “New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Preseason Week One Game Analysis”

  1.  Jason McEwan says:

    I’d grade the performance a little higher at a maybe B(-) on the grounds that we held the Steelers to less than 15 points. I like putting Nassib in the 4th so we could see him try and mount a comeback if needs be as well as the possibility of seeing him execute the 2min office. I don’t think Painter has a shot of making this team so it wouldn’t make much sense for him to be placed in that situation. I liked how Paysinger looked, getting off blocks and making the open field tackles. Sash was a beast; he was the only player that didn’t bite hard on that reverse play and was able to make the open field tackle for minimal gain. He played the right angle for that tackle. I can say that I feel a lot better now if Will Hill’s 4game suspension holds up (which I think it should).

    DaMontre Moore: Can’t find any negative in his play, even though he has.

    Flip Wilson did miss on a cut block which resulted in pressure in the middle but other than that I am pleased with how well he picked up the blitz.

    Not sure who number 49 was playing FB but he needs to go; he was unable to spring Michael Cox for what would’ve been a sizeable gain in the 4th QTR

  2.  Jason McEwan says:

    Seeing that pick 6 in the Chi-Car game makes me regret even more not getting Bostic in the 2nd instead of Hankins. He’s a true 4-3, super athletic LB that would’ve cured a lot of our ailments.

  3.  Krow says:

    Someone say ‘shotgun draw’ ?

  4.  BigBlueGiant says:

    at what point does Tuck’s declining play ( having another bad camp), and injuries allow Moore to take his starting spot?

  5.  Dirt says:

    Carr was beyond bad. It wasn’t the quality of the throws. It was the complete absence of a clue after playing quarterback in the NFL for 8 going on 9 years.

    His first play was a braindead as it gets – he turned and threw the ball to the flat without ever looking. As if balls to the flat aren’t the most jumped routes in football. Dumb.

    Later on 3rd and 1, on a screen pass, he sees a rusher coming at him from his right. Instead of firing the ball to the ground at the feet of the running back, he peels off and takes a 13 yard sack. Dumb.

    His decision making was wholly unacceptable for a veteran quarterback. His mechanics are on line with Tebow’s. And his facial hair is an embarassment to the storied Giants organization.

    I didn’t personally comment on Nassib, only Carr. But with respect to Carr, he absolutely sucked last night. Here’s hoping it was rust, because as we all should be intelligent enough to have known even before last night, Nassib will never boot all the other QBs off the roster so long as Coughlin is coach.

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    I think Dan’s analysis is pretty spot on (though I’d rate it a B-).

    I didn’t make note of Weatherford because I now treat him like Eli. It isn’t notable when he’s terrific, it’s nearly ALWAYS the case. The guy is HUGE for us. I still say he was the second most valuable player for us in Indy at the Super Bowl.

    I’m not worried AT ALL about our defensive tackles. We’ll be fine there and in the rest if the defensive front but we need “adequate” play at linebacker. I have a feeling we’re going to see Connor take the MLB job because he would be a better version of Blackburn. And as I’ve been saying for months, Paysinger is going to play a lot. He is solid, if not spectacular. “Spectacular” will have to come from outside the team. But I hope the coaches are now thinking about Tracy as a possible OLB in a more regular basis. Williams was “okay”. Rivers looked bad. They need to fix this.

    Barden and Scott do not belong on the roster. Barden may make it because they don’t have enough bodies, but he stinks. I’d take Cox over Scott without thinking twice.

    The offense will be great. I’ve said that for months and I feel ever more strongly about it now. Myers, Robinson and Jernigan are assets and when added to what we were already sure of this is gonna be fun to watch.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      Hey, I said from the start of the season that this WILL be the year that Reese realizes that we need a LB’er. All you guys thought that these guys are going to be a good bunch because they’re young and hungry or whatever all you saw in them.

      They looked lost out there. And although Paysinger looked like the best of the bunch, i don’t think he’ll be spectacular.

      Tracy might be a good addition to the plugged in bunch.

    •  Dirt says:

      FF55,

      You’ve been the biggest Scott hater for years. Last night, his lack of ability was on full display, especially when Cox came in after.

      How does he stick on the roster this year? I don’t know.

  7.  BigBlueGiant says:

    Also, seems like i was right about Ojomo being a game time player and not a practice player.

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    I have longed liked Carr and felt like he was a high quality #2. But what I saw last preseason and last night make me strongly question my confidence in him if he had to start a game this year. His first pass was a horrible dropped pick 6 and many other passes weren’t NFL accurate. Nassib played with one of the worse OLs I have seen. And our 3rd-4th string WRs are nothing to write home about. Last night only showed that Nassib needs to get more snaps. Any snaps for Painter is a waste.

    Ojomo I keep on saying needs to play earlier. I still don’t know if the kid can really play versus NFL talent because he’s dominating non NFL OLs. He needs to get snaps ahead of Trattou and Broha.

    Cox is what It thought he was. He’s very talented and can’t be risked on PS. Scott provides something because if Wilson doesn’t improve his pass blocking Scott is our backup 3rd down back. Scott could be a Ware type 3rd back with more speed.

    I thought it was clear most of the issues with the run defense was on the LBs. I’m not going to panic yet because it’s the first game. If next game is the same thing then it’s time to panic. Curry seemed to be our most physical LB and might really have a chance to start. One thing for sure is the starting LB spots are even harder to figure out after this game.

    McBride was great but he’s a 27 year old journeyman. I thought Frederick and James also looked good and given their age and we have them under control I rather keep those guys. I don’t like going into next year with only Prince and Hosley as young CBs. Webster, Ross nor Thomas are under contract after this year.

    Moore looked good enough that he will be stealing some snaps and DE concerns for next year without Tuck look fine. As a rookie in his first preseason game playing early I don’t recall any guy we have had look better. Today I already feel like we have hit on Moore, Hankins and Cox. I feel good about Pugh, Nassib and Taylor but if someone in 3 years told me barring injury or something off the field that Moore, Hankins and Cox weren’t quality players I would be shocked.

  9.  Andiamo P says:

    It’s hard to put too much into the first game, but if you ask me:

    This offense could still use a healthy Hakeem Nicks.
    Snee and Pugh will help the running game
    KG needs to stick with the run

    Fewell needs to be more aggressive. He’s gotta get those LBs on the Line and fill those gaps. He’s got everyone reacting and he’s not helping his DLine.

    Connor could still start in the Middle.
    JWill could still start at WILL.
    Keith Rivers looks good at SAM.

    Fewell calls a different scheme on almost every play. one play got the the SAM on the Line. Next he got a 43 Cover 2 all LBs in space. Next he got a 43 Single High. Next he got a 34 zone.

    Coaches still want nothing to do with Barden

    Josh Brown missing a 30+ yard FG is disconcerting.

    Play calling on O just never changes

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      Tough to plug those LB’s to fill the gaps when they dont know what they’re doing out there and can’t shed blocks. You put the Lb’s on the line to stop the run pre-snap, any decent QB will just dump a pass to the TE for 10-15 yds every time.

      Connor hopefully won’t start at MLB, Jwill looked bad, and Rivers looked worse. Not sure what game you were watching with Rivers but he looked bad out there.

      It’s preseason, so i’m sure that the different defensive Schemes that Fewell was calling was just to test things out. But our LB’s simply aren’t good enough to manage those schemes.

      •  Andiamo P says:

        I saw Herzlich lost when he was asked to fill multiple gaps.

        I saw Rivers blowing up his lead blocker like he should.

        JWill IMO will compete because nothing from Paysinger was too impressive.

        •  BigBlueGiant says:

          interesting. Paysinger looked like the best of the bunch.

          and as much as I want Herzlich to be good at this level, i just don’t see it.

          •  Andiamo P says:

            I think Paysinger knows where he’s supposed to be, he showed that yesterday. he’s a solid player. But you’d like your WILL to be your more athletic LB. I think Jwill is more of a dynamic player than Paysinger. if asked to pursue from the weak side, blitz, cover a RB or TE….that’s the guy Id sooner have out there.

            I could be wrong tho

          •  Jason McEwan says:

            I agree, Paysinger was the only LB that did a serviceable job last night. He made the open field tackles and fought off blocks. Barring injury, he should win the WILL spot over JWill

  10.  ERICHONIUS says:

    I feel nassib was not as bad as the performance looked… He had absolutely nothing at oline. He had a few good throws, including a decent back shoulder pass.

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