This past Monday night, the New York Giants lost to the Cleveland Browns by the score of 10-6 in a sloppy and injury riddled game.
Odell Beckham left the game after suffering an ankle sprain that came off a questionable hit by cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Brandon Marshall left with a shoulder injury after taking a hit by rookie safety and former Paramus Catholic standout Jabrill Peppers. Not a pretty game to say the least.
Despite the quality of the game, there were plenty of things that stood out on the Giants’ side of the ball.
The Offensive Line Will Be the Giants Biggest Enemy This Season
One of the most intriguing matchups entering the Monday Night matchup was the battle between polarizing left tackle Ereck Flowers and Cleveland’s first overall pick, defensive end Myles Garrett. Flowers did hold his own, but Garrett did power his way through Flowers on a couple of occasions.
The Giants did not really address the offensive line in the offseason, and it shows. Despite the bevy of weapons that the Giants possess on the offense, the line is going to create problems, especially in the run game (we’ll get to that later).
It does not appear that head coach Ben McAdoo or general manager Jerry Reese will make any changes on the line. If that is the case, the Giants are going to be doomed throughout the course of the 2017 season.
The Backup QB Race Remains Murky
Let’s be honest, Geno Smith in Big Blue is the same Geno Smith that donned Gang Green the past couple of season. While there were slight glimmers of hope, Smith would proverbially shoot himself in the foot with turnovers and lack of pocket presence.
Johnson did not see much time on the field in Cleveland, as Eli Manning and Smith took the majority of the snaps. That does not give us a lot to judge about Johnson this week.
Smith appears to be making a permanent stay in the McAdoo doghouse with his costly interceptions. However, who knows, he may find himself on the team this season.
The Running Game is Essentially Nonexistent
Let’s get this out of the way: the run game is nonexistent do a lackluster o-line. Paul Perkins has not really shown the hype that has followed him ever since the end of last season. On six carries, Perkins rushed for 10 yards, however, he did have a 16 yard run.
Shane Vereen was eased into preseason action, where he rushed for 16 yards on two carries. As stated in the previous takeaways article, Vereen is expected to see a bulk of the carries, as the Giants are expected to use a plethora of quick passes in order to compensate for the insufficiency of the o-line.
Rookie Wayne Gallman looked the most impressive out of all of the running backs. On five carries, Gallman rushed for 22 yards and hauled in two receptions for 20 yards. That was all well and good, but Gallman might be joining Smith in the McAdoo doghouse after fumbling the ball. Gallman shows that he can be an effective rusher in the backfield, but he has to learn to hold onto the ball. Fumbles do not equal to more carries.
The Defense is the Giants’ Bread and Butter
The Giants defense will be the strong point entering the 2017 season, to the surprise of no one. The defensive line is scary, the backfield is scary. The whole defense is scary.
Olivier Vernon had the most impressive performance on the defense and it all came on one play. With the pocket collapsing, rookie QB DeShone Kizer ran out of the pocket and chucked the ball downfield to rookie tight end David Njoku. Little did they know that defensive end Olivier Vernon would be covering the rookie 30 yards down field and knocking the ball out of the path of Njoku.
Rookie cornerback Donte Deayon is making a case to cement his spot on the opening day roster. Deayon showed impressive pass coverage in Monday. In fact, Deayon had himself a phenomenal interception. However, the INT was negated due to a defensive penalty. With Valentino Blake leaving the team to take care of personal matters, Deayon could find himself on the Week 1 roster. Something that he has proven that he rightly deserves.
B.J. Goodson was drafted last season as the starting middle linebacker of the future. However, he did not start last season. This preseason, the middle linebacker job is Goodson’s and Goodson’s alone. On Monday, Goodson posted seven total tackles (5 solo, 2 assisted) and one sack, which is his second of the season. The Giants have been missing a formidable middle linebacker over the years, but it appears they have their’s for the long haul in Goodson.
Roger Lewis Has Been Gifted a Spot on the Opening Day Roster
Harsh assessment, I know, but that’s the only way to put it. Lewis had an unimpressive Week 1 of the preseason, where he had two touchdowns negated. One for running out of bounds before catching the ball. The other, he dropped with the ball being in his hands.
What looked to be the swan song for Lewis is not so. Darius Powe was waived/injured due to a hamstring issue, which is ashame, as Powe was very impressive throughout camp. Tavarres King left Monday’s game with an ankle injury. Dwayne Harris has an upper body injury. Not to mention the injuries to Beckham and Marshall, who will likely be limited for the remainder for the preseason.
This is the ultimate gift for Lewis. Let’s see if the he can rise up to the occasion, or crack under the pressure.
The Giants walk into MetLife Stadium as the home team on Saturday to compete against the New York Jets for the coveted “Snoopy Bowl.”