I have -- finally -- had the opportunity today to re-watch the New York Giants-Chicago Bears preseason game and put together my thoughts on the Giants' 41-13 victory. So, here is your better late than never edition of 'Kudos & Wet Willies.' Let's just say that once you get past Terrell Thomas' injury there were a lot of things to feel good about coming away from this game.
Kudos to ...
Devin Thomas: Special teams in general were outstanding, but Thomas deserves to be singled out. When is the last time you have seen a Giants player return kickoffs like that? A 73-yarder and a 34-yarder en route to averaging 46 yards on three returns. By the way, Michael Clayton is an outstanding lead blocker on kickoff returns. He absolutely blew up a Bears defender on Thomas' 73-yard return.
Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford: The next bad kick by the two Giants' punters will be their first of the preseason. Both were oustanding against Chicago, Dodge averaging 54 yards on two punts and Weatherford 49.5. The Giants gave up only 21 return yards total on those four punts.
Greg Jones: A blocked punt for the sixth-round pick, a play on which he asked for permission to rush. Jones also got in on three tackles.
Aaron Ross: Monday night was as well as I can remember Ross playing since his rookie season. Two tackles, two passes defensed (officially). I counted more than that. With Thomas down, Ross's importance to the Giants' secondary cannot be understated. Monday night he showed he might be up to the challenge.
Justin Tuck: It was just one play, but Tuck chasing down Matt Forte 40 yards downfield to save a touchdown after a Chicago screen pass was simply extraordinary. That type of effort -- in the second preseason game -- cannot go unnoticed. It's the kind of play a lot of NFL players would not make, simply because they wouldn't put in that kind of effort.
David Baas: The Giants new center had a terrific night. On a screen pass to Ahmad Bradshaw Baas got out in front and wiped out three Chicago defenders by himself. On Jacobs' 18-yard touchdown run Baas -- as picked up by the ESPN crew -- deftly adjusted the line call when Eli Manning audibled to the run, and the play blew wide open for a touchdown. I think we can stop worrying about this guy.
Brandon Jacobs: Eight carries, 48 yards and his juke of Major Wright on his 18-yard touchdown run was beautiful. Jacobs ran exactly the way the Giants hope to see him run -- hard and decisively. Also, 'kudos' to ESPN's Mike Tirico for a tremendous call on the play. If you missed it, Tirico said 'somebody pick up Major Wright's jock" as Jacobs blew past and headed for the end zone.
David Carr: Nine-of-11 with two touchdown passes, plus a nice scramble for 17 yards. Carr has now matched serve with Sage Rosenfels for the backup quarterback job, making this an interesting decision for the Giants.
Mathias Kiwanuka: Only two tackles for Kiwi, but what I noticed was that he was around the ball all the time in the first half -- against the run and the pass. Good work as he re-adjusts to playing linebacker.
Rocky Bernard: Yeah, you guys think he's a big, fat waste of a roster space. The veteran defensive tackle made five tackles Monday, though, including at least two on tremendous hustle plays chasing down a play from behind.
Victor Cruz: Manning had to keep helping Cruz line up, but the guy made plays. His 21-yard catch on fourth-and-4 was beautiful. On top of which, he made a nice special teams tackle for the second consecutive week.
Spencer Paysinger: Speaking of around the ball all the time, that is exactly what I kept thinking watching this undrafted free agent linebacker from Oregon. He was in position at the point of attack on almost every kickoff and punt coverage, and played pretty well at linebacker in the second half. He finished with eight tackles, and I think he has pretty much guaranteed himself a spot on the 53-man roster.
Mark Herzlich: A tremendous play on his goal-line interception, and three tackles, He was active both at linebacker and on special teams in the second half.
Da'Rel Scott: When you almost fall down at the goal line, then make a beautiful cut to daylight and go 97 yards for a touchdown you get 'kudos.'
Wet Willies to ...
Bear Pascoe: I love Bear, but he spent the night getting blown up by defenders while he was at fullback and having guys run around him while he was at tight end. The fact that the only time I noticed rookie Henry Hynoski all night was when he got blown up trying to lead block for a running play can't make the Giants feel good about the fullback or blocking tight end spots.
Kenny Phillips: I can't swear that each play was Phillips' responsibility, but Chicago completed three long passes Monday night and both times I watched the game it sure looked like KP was late on all of them. Plain and simple, he needs to be better than that.