Let’s call a spade a spade here people. Game One of the NFL Preseason, for most teams, is nothing but a glorified scrimmage with no game planning. You throw your vanilla offense and defensive schemes out there, and what you mostly want to see is if individual players flash or standout. The MAIN takeaway from these games is to come out healthy.
Now, I get that the Giants were 3-13. That will lend itself to eager fans looking for instant improvement of what would be, to many, the worst season they have gone through as a Giant fan. Now, what they saw outside of Barkley’s first carry, a 39-yard highlight reel play, was an up and down (and mostly down) performance.
I just want to reiterate, this was a glorified scrimmage. From reports, the Giants did not game plan for this game, and the Browns, who were coming off a 0-16 season, did. They also featured their #1 starting QB for most of the game going against the Giants 2nd and 3rd stringers.
Baker Mayfield, for his part, looked phenomenal. You can definitely see he has the tools to succeed in this league. Davis Webb on the other hand………well, he didn’t look so hot. That’s about as mildly as I can put it. The guy was a complete train wreck from a nerves stand point. He seemed to be making all of the right throws (save for one bad decision into double coverage), but everything was coming out high and with little to no touch on it. I am not going to rush to judgement and call him a bust after only his second appearance on a football field in the past 2 years, but he DESPERATELY needs to improve this Friday against the Lions to have any kind of grasp on the #2 QB spot..
That was the main talking point in the Giants 20-10 loss. Here are a few other bullet points that I saw from Thursday Nights game, most from a depth standpoint.
- The Starting Offensive Line got about 2-3 series in. They looked uneven, which is not surprising for a unit with 5 new starters on it. On the whole, aside from a communication issue between Halapio (starting Center) and Jonathan Stewart, I thought the unit did okay. Rookie Will Hernandez looked like a rookie, so I expect him to improve.
- Speaking of Jonathan Stewart, he looked painfully slow. Hoping he is saving his legs for the regular season, or it might be a long year for him. On the flip side, running backs Wayne Gallman, Jalen Simmons, and Robert Martin all flashed some really good things (most important in that group is Gallman, who should see a ton of PT this year, especially if J Stew is really cooked).
- Talked about Webb’s game already. On the flip side of that, 4th Round rookie Kyle Lauletta looked the part. He made some nice throws and just looked way more comfortable out there than Davis Webb. There is a guy with anticipation and touch on his passes, quite the opposite of Webb.
- From a Wide Receiver standpoint, Russell Shepard stood out in a positive way, and Hunter Sharp in a negative way.
- Run defense looked VERY good all game long. This I think, will be a theme going forward, as the front seven will be aggressive and attacking. I’d be surprised if this defense didn’t finish Top 10 against the run.
- The Pass Defense, well, they did not look so great. Alec Ogeltree got burned badly on the first TD to Njoku, taking what was a bad angle and a late start. Hoping he is just learning the system and will fix that. Eli Apple looked like a rookie out there, flashing his usual form by not locating the ball whatsoever. The Pass Rush also didn’t seem to create too much havoc, but again, there was no scheme, so cant expect much there (which is also part of the problem, since James Bettcher, it seems, will always have to scheme up a way to get pressure).
We will have a much better look at the starters and backups in Friday’s Lions game. We will get another look at the Webb and Lauletta combo to see if Webb bounces back and if Lauletta can continue his play. More schemes involved in Game 2 as well, so we will get a better look at what the offense and defense can do. Personally, I am just excited to see some Giants football back in my life.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s Take:
I will save you all the hot takes until after the 2nd and 3rd preseason games, but until then, I urge my fellow Giant fans to relax. This is a team with new coaches and players just about everywhere. It will take, at the very least, a few Preseason games for the coaches and players to acclimate to the schemes and each other.
This team was without arguably its best play maker in Odell Beckham, who opens up things for both other receivers and the running game. Let’s see how everyone comes out in Game 2.
The most important win for this team, is that it gets through games healthy, and they did that in Game 1.