Giant Takeaways: Preseason Week 3 vs. Jets
The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets 22-16 to win the MetLife Bowl on Friday night. As always, the score doesn’t matter in preseason, it’s all about the performance of the players. In particular, let’s look at the standouts for the Giants, both positive and negative.
Manning Shows Off Deep Arm
It’s been a while since Giants fans have seen longtime quarterback Eli Manning play significant time on an NFL field. Everyone got a good look at how Manning would play under Pat Shurmur’s offensive scheme. Let’s just say it’s the most aggressive fans have seen the 15-year veteran play in a while.
Manning finished the night completing 17-of-23 pass attempts for 188 yards and finished the night with a 97.7 passer rating. The veteran signal caller threw some deep passes on Friday night, and they were on the money. The most prominent pass came in the second quarter, throwing a 54-yard dime to Cody Latimer. Not to mention this all came against the Jets starting defense.
The Giants didn’t have Odell Beckham Jr. or Saquon Barkley on the field, which was expected, but Manning certainly looked comfortable in Shurmur’s offense, and silenced some of his doubters in the process.
It was certainly a chippy game form both the Giants and Jets. The most notable came late in the second quarter. Manning just threw a pass to starting tight end Evan Engram. However, he was sandwiched between linebackers Darron Lee and Avery Williamson, in which the latter player collided helmet-to-helmet.
Engram lost control of the ball, despite being ruled down by contact. The second-year tight end remained on the turf until he was assisted to his feet by medical staff, where he would walk to the locker room. Engram was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.
It’s unknown how severe the injury is for Engram, but we should know more about throughout the week.
Stewart’s Dreadful Preseason Continues
Jonathan Stewart was brought in by his former general manager in Dave Gettleman to be the team’s veteran back behind first-round pick Saquon Barkley. The Giants paid a hefty sum for Stewart, and from Friday night, he has not exactly been worth the investment.
Immediately after the aforementioned Manning completion to Latimer, Stewart coughed up the ball after being swarmed behind the line of scrimmage. Jets defensive end Leonard Williams scooped up the fumble and returned it to midfield.
A costly play for Stewart, who would end his night rushing for -7 yards on three carries. His preseason total? Ten rush attempts for -5 yards. With Jhurrell Pressley (12 carries, 71 yards) making the most of his carries on Friday night, as well as Wayne Gallman’s strong preseason, it makes it hard to see Stewart seeing a significant role on the team. However, his contract will likely solidify a roster spot.
Shepard Shreds Jets Secondary
Sterling Shepard is not usually the No. 1 receiver on the depth chart, but did he ever play like one.
Manning had his focus set on the third-year receiver, where he hauled in seven passes for 78 yards. The Jets secondary seemingly had trouble covering him throughout the game, as Shepard always found himself open. If this performance is anything to go by, Manning will have a confident option when Beckham is double-covered throughout the regular season.
Sharp Will Likely Earn Roster Spot…But Not on Offense
Hunter Sharp scored the Giants’ only touchdown of the game, where he returned a punt 55-yards to the house. But it wasn’t a normal punt return, as he unleashed a sick juke and a nasty stiff arm on linebacker Neville Hewitt to waltz his way into the end zone.
He looked good on special teams. Not so much on the offense. Sharp saw two easy third-down catches bounce off his fingertips, preventing the Giants’ conversions. It’s not like Sharp would have seen significant time on the offense anyway, as he’s behind Beckham, Shepard, Cody Latimer, and Russell Shepard on the depth chart.
The coaching staff likes what they see from Sharp on special teams, so expect him to earn the return specialist role for the upcoming season.
The prevailing thought entering preseason was that Ereck Flowers would be the weak point of the offensive line. While he has not been overly impressive, he is not the underperformer. That belongs to right guard Patrick Omameh.
The Giants took a flyer on Omameh after losing out on the Andrew Norwell sweepstakes. So far throughout the summer, Omameh’s strong suit was in run blocking and his struggles came in pass protection. On Friday night, the free agent acquisition had trouble in both aspects.
While yes, it’s just the preseason, the fact that here has been no improvement from Omameh through three games is a cause for concern. If the struggles continue, the Giants could consider throwing John Greco in at right guard for the start of the season.
Kerry Wynn-ing the Summer
The Summer of Wynn continues.
Kerry Wynn knows how to put himself on the highlight reel and that continued against the Jets. It all started in the second quarter, where a Sam Darnold pass was blocked by Giants third-round pick B.J. Hill, and Wynn almost hauled it in for the interception.
After missing out on that opportunity, he capitalized on his next one. That came when he sacked quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for a huge 11-yard loss. Wynn finished the night with three total tackles, the aforementioned sack, and one quarterback hit.
Wynn’s spot on the 53-man roster is all but solidified.
Giants Secondary Far From Perfect
The Giants secondary depth was questioned heading into the start of training camp. That appears to be the case. Eli Apple had his troubles at points, most notably a holding call on the first drive of the game. Yet, he made up for it a couple of plays later by breaking up a pass from Darnold to Robby Anderson on a hard tackle.
In the second half, Chris Lewis-Harris was picked apart by Teddy Bridgewater, and gave up some catches in the process. Not the best game for the 29-year-old corner.
Donte Deayon made his return from his lengthy hamstring injury, and finished the night tied for the most tackles with four. That certainly helped his case for a roster spot consideration, especially when looking at his competition in B.W. Webb.
The 28-year-old shined throughout the preseason, but he looked lost against the Jets. Webb was beaten by wide receiver Terrelle Pryor on his touchdown, and failed to register a single tackle. Regardless of the bad night, Webb’s play throughout the rest of the summer will speak volumes, and will likely result in a regular season roster spot.
As for the safety battle, Michael Thomas shined when he took the field in the second half. His veteran presence showed up on Friday, running down the field and showing the ability to play a variety of different spots in the secondary. Thomas had one tackle, including one for a loss. In fact, Thomas is the fourth-highest rated Giants defender this preseason, according to Pro Football Focus (79.6 grade).
As for Curtis Riley, he had a rather silent night, which isn’t a bad thing.
Darian Thompson is on the outside looking for the starting free safety role due to poor performance and injury.
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