This past Friday, the New York Giants played their first preseason game at MetLife Stadium, where they would lose their annual matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-12.
While it is only preseason and the score doesn’t necessarily matter, it is a great way to scout the players who have the opportunity to fill out depth roles on the roster. Here are some takeaways from this past Friday night.
The Competition for the Backup QB Spot is Not Pretty
Eli Manning is the starter, there’s no questioning that. Third round draft pick Davis Webb is guaranteed a roster spot on the Giants, where he will be designated as the third-string quarterback.
Now that leaves Josh Johnson and Geno Smith to battle it out for the backup role. From watching this game Friday, it is almost a given that this battle will continue until the very end of the preseason. Johnson took the starter snaps for the first half, and couldn’t get much going. Johnson completed five of ten pass attempts for just 31 yards.
Then Smith took the field, and looked relatively impressive. Smith completed ten out of 16 pass attempts for 114 yards. That’s good. Now here’s the bad. Smith threw one bad interception and was sacked three times. When taking out the bad, Smith was performing with relative ease. However, one interception and three sacks is something that you can’t overlook.
Johnson and Smith leave a lot to be desired after Game One. Giants fans are hoping that there is some improvement in the coming weeks.
Landon Collins Already Building Off Breakout 2016
In 2016, Landon Collins cemented himself as one of the best safeties in the league in just his second season. In Training Camp, Collins has already been the talk of the camp.
In a limited appearance this past Friday, Collins made his presence felt, having four tackles and three stops on ten snaps. Not only that, but Collins brought the boom on those tackles. On one, he absolutely crushed running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for a one-yard loss, as well as chasing down wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and stuffed him out of bounds for just a four-yard gain.
Collins has stated that he wants to start off the 2017 season strong, and that means preseason. Collins has put the league on notice as a strong Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He finished last season third in DPOY voting, and he is showcasing that he wants that award this year.
Perkins’ Starter’s Role Might Not Be Set in Stone
Entering Training Camp, sophomore Paul Perkins was unanimously named the starting running back for the 2017 season. As a starter entering the first game of the preseason, you’re not expected to have many carries. Perkins had five carries, but only rushed for three yards. Some of that can be contributed to the offensive line, but it is still some cause for concern.
Orleans Darkwa, however, saw his stock rise. Darkwa rushed for 18 yards on three carries. If Darkwa keeps this up, he can see himself earning a spot in the rushing rotation this season.
But let’s not forget about Shane Vereen. Reports have surfaced on Monday that head coach Ben McAdoo and the rest of the coaching staff are focusing on quick passes to compensate for the suspect offensive line. Nobody fits the bill well as Vereen, who made a name for himself as a pass-catching specialist. With the news of this scheme, Vereen may find himself taking a majority of snaps this season, which could hurt Perkins’ stock.
Giants D-Line Depth is Ridiculous
The Giants already boast one of the more starting defensive lines in the NFL. Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Damon Harrison make up the brick wall that inhabits the line of scrimmage. Pierre-Paul had the game off on Friday, while Vernon and Harrison only played in the first quarter. With that, we got to catch a look at the depth on the defensive line.
Kerry Wynn already might have made a stake at the backup defensive end position. In his performance on Friday, Wynn had three tackles (two for a loss), one sack, one QB hit, and one pass defended. That is very impressive on a limited performance by Wynn.
Jay Bromley also made his presence felt to earn the starting defensive tackle role alongside “Snacks” Harrison, recording three tackles (one solo, two assisted). However, Bromley really stuck out on third down and one at the 10:35 mark, where he burst past the Steelers offensive line and brought down running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for a two-yard loss.
Let’s not forget that the Giants also have second-round draft pick Dalvin Tomlinson waiting in the wings. The rookie out of Alabama has all of the potential to earn his spot next to Harrison, where he had four total tackles (two solo, two assisted in his preseason debut.
It’s safe to say that the Giants have an embarrassment of riches on the defensive line.
Roger Lewis Not Helping His Case in Preseason
Roger Lewis was assumed to be the Giants fourth wide receiver behind Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. Lewis did not help his case in Training Camp, dropping passes in practices, and had some brain-farts against the Steelers.
Lewis had two opportunities to have touchdown receptions. One he ran out of the back of the endzone, which negated the catch. The second opportunity literally slipped through his finger tips. His performance earned a shout out from McAdoo, and no the good kind of shout out.
With the likes of Tavarres King, Dwayne Harris, and Darius Powe chomping at the bit to earn the No. 4 WR role, Lewis will have to improve off of this performance if he wants to find his way onto the Opening Week roster.
The Giants are on the road against the Cleveland Browns next Monday, and we will see which Giants are increasing their stock, as well as which Giants are finding themselves plummet down the depth chart.