The New York Giants' first preseason game is in the books. What have we learned and what do we have to look forward to during the rest of the preseason? Here are 'five things I think I think' about the Giants.
Ryan Nassib is No. 2
It has been clear from the beginning of OTAs that the Giants were going to give Ryan Nassib every opportunity to show that he could move into the role of being the primary backup quarterback for Eli Manning. Nassib's training camp and his performance on Sunday night vs. the Buffalo Bills make it apparent that he is on his way to securing that role.
The second-year man isn't perfect. There was an interception nullified by a penalty on Sunday and an ugly intentional grounding call. There were a lot of positives, though. He commanded the line of scrimmage and threw the ball with authority. Nassib has made strides from his rookie season, and that is what the Giants had hoped to see.
The Giants Will Run The Ball Better
You know Tom Coughlin hated being part of a team that was horrible running the football in 2013, and he talked a lot during the offseason about getting back to Giants football, to running the ball with power. After two unsuccessful series on Sunday, that is exactly what the Giants did to the Bills. They smashed them in the mouth with a power running attack.
The sad news about David Wilson is a blow to the Giants, of course, but it is one they have been preparing for since the end of the 2013 season.
Andre Williams looks like he could be a fourth-round steal. Rashad Jennings is a quality all-around back. Peyton Hillis ran with power and decisiveness Sunday night. Fullback Henry Hynoski did a nice job lead-blocking.
The Giants averaged only 3.2 yards per rushing attempt Sunday night, but as the offensive line comes together that will get better. Sunday showed potential for the running attack that had to make Coughlin happy.
One thing: Because of the loss of Wilson there is no need for the Giants to go scouring the rosters of other teams and looking to bring in another big-time back. Being ready for this scenario with Wilson is why Jennings, Williams and Hillis are Giants. Granted, none has the explosive speed Wilson possesses. The Giants, though, appear to have plenty of quality at the running back position.
No Reason To Panic About Offensive Line
Rebuilding last season's under-whelming offensive line was a major priority for the Giants in the offseason. There are, as Giants fans know, a host of new faces among the guys who block for Eli Manning. Sunday night's results were mixed, but it's hardly time fret.
Left tackle Will Beatty did not play, and Charles Brown did a decent job. In 33 snaps, he allowed only one hurry. Brandon Mosley, trying to win the right guard spot, played 27 snaps and allowed only one quarterback pressure. He had ups and downs, but showed some promise. Rookie second-round pick Weston Richburg played both guard and center, and looked like the real deal in his team-high 44 snaps. I have no idea what Pro Football Focus was looking at, grading Richburg at -2.9, including -3.2 in run-blocking.
This is a group that is just learning to play together, and there is every reason to believe that the offensive line debacle of 2013 won't be repeated.
The Corners Are As Advertised
Well, maybe that needs to be qualified. We don't know anything about Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie because the Bills stayed far, far away from him on Sunday night. They targeted Prince Amukamara with long throws to first-round pick Sammy Watkins and others, and Amukamara turned them away. They tried veteran Zackary Bowman to no avail. Charles James gave up five completion in seven targets, but only one -- a 26-yarder -- was of any consequence. Only Jayron Hosley did not play well, and with him suspended for the first four games of the season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy that doesn't matter a whole lot.
Wide Receiver Competition Getting Interesting
The fight for the final one or two wide receiver spots on the 53-man roster has gotten REALLY interesting. Head coach Tom Coughlin gushed about the play undrafted free agent Corey Washington made on his 73-yard touchdown catch Sunday night, and about his abilities on special teams. Preston Parker made himself noticed on punt returns. Marcus Harris caught four balls. Mario Manningham made an appearance and caught a pass, but I'm still not convinced he will be a big contributor this season -- or even absolutely certain he makes the team. Those four guys could end up fighting for one spot, maybe two. How that situation plays out will be one of the more entertaining parts of the preseason.