Ah, the first preseason game. It means nothing, and yet, it means everything. Everything for the second string defensive backs and nothing for the first string players that matter. We don’t really care that Eli Manning went 4-for-8 with 60 yards. We don’t really care that Ahmad Bradshaw rushed four times for 12 yards. We also don’t really care that Victor Cruz caught one pass on three targets for 28 yards.
However, rookie David Wilson gaining 43 yards on just seven carries is something that is inherently awesome. KID IS OFF THE HOOK. I had heard all about Wilson’s blazing speed, but I was impressed with his ability to bounce off tacklers. Of course, I’m not crazy impressed. Wilson was a first round pick and with that comes the expectation that he’ll eventually start in the NFL. Pretty much all starting NFL halfbacks can bounce off of tacklers to some degree. Here’s what coach Tom Couglin had to say:
He certainly did run the ball well. He ran the kickoff return back well. He did a nice job on our punt return team of getting downfield rapidly and helping to block the first defender down the field. He didn’t perform as well as you’d like in the pass game. He should’ve got out of bounds with one of his plays there towards the end of the game. He’s young and we’ve got to eliminate the mental errors.
Bad news: Jerrel Jernigan and Jayron Hosley each muffed a punt return as the Giants’ search for a punt returner has hit a snag. There are so many fast guys on a given football team that you’d figure it wouldn’t be that hard to find someone who could properly receiver punts, but the Giants continue to struggle in that regard.
Defensively, it was nice to see 2010 sixth round pick Adrian Tracy get a sack and a forced fumble after bouncing around the practice squad all of last season. Coughlin was encouraged by the performance.
When Adrian played, you can see the power. You can see the things that he can do well. You can see also there are things that are happening out there; he’s not in as good of control of himself as he would like to be. The bull rush, the power rush, he’s good at that. The edge, he’s good at that. He made some nice plays in the run. He made some nice plays from behind.
Not all was well on defense, though. The first Jaguars possession went for 89 yards and a touchdown and featured 2011 first round pick Prince Amukamara getting torched a couple of times. However, on the next Jacksonville drive, Amukamara forced a fumble that gave New York the ball back. It’s good to see corners make plays even when they’re not in coverage, but Amukamara needs to improve against the pass if the Giants are going to get better on defense this season.
Overall, the Giants’ pass defense allowed 157 yards on 32 pass attempts for a 4.9 average. That was helped a lot by an impressive six sacks for 43 yards lost. Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne were adequate for the Jags, but Jordan Palmer torched the back-ups for 110 yards on 9-for-13 throwing.
The Giants’ offense threw for 132 net yards on 25 attempts (5.3 average). David Carr threw for a pair of touchdown passes, one of which was a spectacular one-handed catch by Isaiah Stanback. Surprisingly, former LSU Tiger Ryan Perrilloux hit on six of seven passes for 59 yards. He threw a nice fade to rookie Rueben Randle for a touchdown, but Perrilloux took three sacks for 27 yards lost and his antics at the end of the game caused the Giants to run out of time before they could get into field goal range.
On the ground, the sides were pretty even. Led by Wilson’s nice night, New York ran for 126 yards and a 4.8 average. The Jags got 56 yards on 12 carries from Rashad Jennings and the team average 5.0 yards per carry overall.
Starting today (Sunday), the Giants are back in camp for three more days before heading back to New Jersey. The next preseason game is against those crazy Jets this Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
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