Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants is tackled by Bryant Browning of the Carolina Panthers during their preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 13, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Before we get to the 'Kudos & Wet Willies' portion in our review of Saturday night's 20-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.
- The offense, especially the first-team offense, was sluggish. What did you expect, though? The Giants have undergone a transition in the offensive line, at tight end and at wide receiver. They have had 11 practices, just five in pads. New center David Baas has all of seven practices with the team. It will take some time, but there is an awful lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. It's called preseason for a reason.
- Don't put Jason Pierre-Paul in the Hall of Fame just yet. Loved what I saw from JPP, but let's see him do it when it counts.
- Special teams were pathetic. Lousy coverage, especially on punt returns. A miss on a makeable 37-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes. A blocked field goal that resulted in Tynes nearly getting killed. No return game to speak of (does anybody know how to throw a block?). Question: How can the Giants spend sooo much time on special teams at EVERY practice, and be soooo bad at them? Let's hope this gets better.
- One positive thing from the offense: No turnovers. No messed-up exchanges between Eli Manning and Baas. No fumbles. No interceptions, or even balls that should have been intercepted.
Kudos to ...
- Jason Pierre-Paul: The 2010 first-round pick was dominant. Two sacks, four tackles and a couple of pressures -- one of which helped convince Carolina quarterback Jimmy Clausen to throw a pass right to Giants linebacker Michael Boley.
- Domenik Hixon: Welcome back, Domenik. Five catches for 86 yards. He looked crisp and unafraid of re-injuring his knee. The leader in the clubhouse for the third wide receiver slot.
- Devin Thomas: A good night for Thomas with three catches for 23 yards and one decent kickoff return. Would have been a great night if he could have hauled in a long ball down the right sideline from Sage Rosenfels that he had to dive for. He got both hands on it, and could have made the play.
- Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford: For the most part, the coverage of their punts stunk. The punts themselves, though, were all excellent. Dodge hit a couple to the sidelines and got a fair catch on one.
- Chris Canty: A couple of nice plays in his limited time. Giants fans have to hope Canty has a big year.
- Michael Boley: A Pick Six earns him a spot here.
- Sage Rosenfels: A 13-for-19 night for 129 yards. That sets the bar pretty high for David Carr, who gets his shot to unseat Rosenfels as the backup quarterback next week against the Chicago Bears.
- Brian Witherspoon: A couple of tackles and two passes defensed for the guy who is likely to be the team's fourth cornerback -- at least until Prince Amukamara is healthy and up to speed.
- Others worthy of mention -- Mark Herzlich, Kenny Ingram, rookie defensive end Justin Trattou (three tackles) and Jonathan Goff all had good moments. Hey, three linebackers in that group!
- Aaron Ross: Spent way too much time in chase mode, especially playing against scrubs in the second half. Also missed at least two easy tackles.
- Special teams in general: See my comments above.
- The offensive line: Not really a cause for alarm with the limited time the group has worked together, but a couple of messed-up assignments and not much push in the run game. Calm down, though. This is a talented group, and will get better.
- Fans killing Kevin Gilbride's play-calling: In the first preseason game? Really? You have got to relax, people!
- The tackling (one defense and special teams): Pathetic is the kindest word I can think of. Best guess is there were at least two-dozen missed tackles. On several plays there were five or six. Awful. And probably a result of the lack of contact these guys have had thus far.
- Jerrel Jernigan: It's almost unfair putting him here, but he got nothing done on punt or kickoff returns. Of course, the rookie third-round pick didn't exactly get help from his alleged blockers. At least he never fumbled a ball.
- Tyler Sash: Four tackle, a pass defensed and a forced fumble for the rookie sixth-round pick. But he also got smoked for a touchdown by Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, and was badly beaten in coverage one other time.
- Michael Coe: Four tackles and a pass defensed for the reserve cornerback, but some awful work on special teams where he was out of position a couple of times and cost the Giants on punt returns.
I'm sure you guys have your own opinions. So, have at it.