The NFL preseason is over for the New York Giants after Thursday's 20-17 victory over the New England Patriots. The game provided one final shot for starters to fine tune, and 'bubble' players to impress Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese.
It also provides one final opportunity for a preseason 'Kudos & Wet Willies'. So, here are my thoughts on who deserves praise, and who should not be very happy this morning.
Kudos to ...
- Jonathan Goff: Played three quarters or so due to Phillip Dillard getting hurt, and played exceedingly well. Seven tackles, many right at the line of scrimmage, and an interception. He was also much, much better in pass coverage than he had been against the Baltimore Ravens.
- Michael Boley: Seven tackles, a deflected pass and one excellent pressure on a blitz from the outside. Amazing! Two 'kudos', two linebackers. Who'da thunk it?
- First Offensive Line (even Adam Koets): Sorry, Will Beatty, but the Giants offensive line will stay as it has the past few seasons. That group did an excellent job in the first two series Thursday. I even hate to say it, but Koets is looking more and more comfortable at the center spot.
- Shawn Andrews: The big fella is an absolute earth-mover from the left guard spot. Did you notice how many times the Giants ran behind the former Pro Bowler when they needed yards Thursday night, and the fact they succeeded when they did it? It's only a matter of time before Andrews supplants Rich Seubert in the starting lineup.
- Rhett Bomar: His numbers don't tell the story. Two drops by Tim Brown, one by Derek Hagan and one by Victor Cruz make his nmbers (11-for-24, 171 yards, one TD, one INT) look a lot worse than they should. He air-mailed a couple of throws, but played fairly well, getting Coughlin to say "he did some very nice things." Did he do enough nice things to earn the No. 2 job behind Eli Manning? Honestly, I think that depends on which veteran quarterbacks become available in the next couple of days. Bomar, though, has done everything he can.
- Eli Manning: Aside from muffing the ball on that aborted flea-flicker, Manning (7-for-9, 91 yards, one TD) was outstanding. I will even give him props for ducking and not taking another hit to the head while chasing his own fumble. He's in one piece, and I'm happy about that.
- D.J. Ware and Gartrell Johnson: Both players had fairly nice nights. Ware (13 carries, 60 yards) and Johnson (12 carries, 50 yards) made impressive bids to stay on the 53-man roster. Unfortunately, I think only one makes the final cut, though.
- Matt Dodge: Terrific night punting the ball. Not so terrific holding it, though, as he muffed a snap. The seventh-round pick from East Carolina has shown tremendous improvement in three weeks, though. Now, let's see if he can carry it into the regular season.
Bryan Kehl: Might have saved his roster spot with nine tackles, including one on an impressive goal line stand from inside the one-yard line. Missed a tackle on a kickoff, though, which led to a big play for New England.
- Duke Calhoun: Three catches for 76 yards, including the game-winning 60-yarder, and a nice tackle on special teams. No shot at making the 53-man roster, but he is going to land on a practice squad somewhere.
- Lawrence Tynes: How many kickoffs did he put into the end zone Thursday night? Three? I lost count. The guy has kicked off exceptionally well all preseason, and has not missed a field goal.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: Four carries, 26 yards and one catch for 17. The guy almost always makes the first would-be tackler miss. There is a Pro Bowl berth waiting for this guy if he stays healthy all season.
- Kevin Gilbride: Busted out a reverse and a flea flicker while the first group was still in the game. Had a nice mix of run and pass going, as well. The Giants had 32 runs and 33 passes, which is exactly the type of balance they are looking for.
Wet Willies to ...
- Tim Brown: If you have been reading, you know how badly I have wanted to see Brown makes some plays and force his way onto the 53-man roster. Well, that is not going to happen. Two drops, including one on a perfectly thrown deep ball by Bomar, a one-yard punt return, a mistake running a kickoff out from 5-6 yards deep in the end zone. One 30-yard kickoff return -- the Giants best of the preseason -- is not going to get it done. The guess here is the Giants try to pass him through waivers and get him to the practice squad.
- Clint Sintim: He didn't do anything really poorly last night. In fact, he really did nothing -- except become a second-teamer. This is really a 'Wet Willie' for an incredibly unproductive preseason for a guy the Giants were counting on as a playmaker.
- Brandon Jacobs: Not his fault he got zero carries Thursday night. But, Jacobs needs to take a lesson from Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka and shut his mouth when it comes to yapping about playing time. Sorry, dude, Ahmad Bradshaw is better. Deal with it.
- Derek Hagan: Love ya, Derek, and you will be terrific on special teams again. But, you can't go dropping touchdown passes if you want to get regular season action as a wide receiver.
- Kickoff coverage: The Giants surrendered a 57-yard return, which was mostly Kehl's fault for whiffing on a tackle when the Giants seemed to be well-positioned.