While the New York Giants did indeed practice Sunday afternoon -- you can find our top takeaways from practice HERE. Most of the beat writers in attendance, however, were interested in debriefing head coach Ben McAdoo about the the Giants' preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins.
There was a lot to cover, and just like the game, it all started with quarterback Ryan Nassib.
Nassib got the chance to start the game when McAdoo decided that franchise QB Eli Manning wouldn't play. His performance, however, wasn't starting caliber to say the least. Ed, in fact, used the word "atrocious" to describe Nassib's play in his customary "Kudos & Wet Willies" post-game breakdown.
But as head coach, McAdoo was confident that his back-up quarterback would rebound from his poor performance. "Ryan's gonna bounce back." McAdoo said "He's a pro, he's a guy who's going to come in, prepare, and he's going to attack practice the same way he always has."
"Atrocious" wasn't a word many Giants fans were expecting, and certainly not hoping, to attach to Nassibs' game. Andre Williams, on the other hand, was fully expected by many fans to play his way off the roster. But contrary to expectations, Williams had one of the strongest performances of the night.
Williams lost 12 pounds of body fat and 4.5 inches off his waist over the offseason, and McAdoo credits that transformation, at least in part, for Williams' play Friday night. "He's sleeker, definitely sleeker." McAdoo said of his 3rd year tailback "He has a little more burst and he looks like a man on a mission."
What is that mission? Simple according to McAdoo, "I think he wants to touch the ball."
"There were a couple shots of him dipping in and running out, and showing nice burst there on the perimeter," McAdoo added. "Put his pads down, ran behind his pads. He's (Williams) always done that though, he's always been able to move piles. But he's a little sleeker now."
Despite the sloppy play and the sting of losing, there were a few bright spots to come out of the Giants' game Friday night. One of the more refreshing aspects was the good play by many young and under-the-radar players. One of which was Stansly Maponga, who had a sack and two tackles against the Dolphins.
"He does a nice job situationally." McAdoo said of Maponga "He'll flash in the pass rush for ya. I think he has a skillset to work with on the special teams. He just needs to put it all together and be consistent, and play with that fire every snap."
It wasn't all sunshine from the Giants' depth players. The offensive linemen, in particular, had a rough outing. Adam Gettis had been in the running to be the primary backup to starting center Weston Richburg. A poor outing, including giving up a sack, seems to have knocked him down the Giants' depth chart.
"He had a rough night, he needs to bounce back this week," McAdoo said. "We're going to give some other guys some opportunities in practice and in the game. Adam's gonna have to fight his way back into the mix. We're going to give a lot of guys opportunities and see who wants it more."
Giving a lot of players opportunities and fostering competition should only help bring out the best in the Giants' roster. It's a welcome attitude from the second-youngest head coach in the league. Despite his inexperience as a head coach, McAdoo isn't relying on grizzled veterans -- apart from Eli Manning. Instead he is giving his entire 90-man roster the opportunity to fight for a spot on the final team.
And while they will transition to more of a "regular season" approach as the preseason wears on, this part of the preseason is still all about seeing how players respond.
"We're still in training camp mode right now." McAdoo said. "We didn't do much to prepare for Miami, it was all about us. We wanted to throw guys into the fire and see how they responded. We'll do more of the same this week. We'll spend a little more time on Buffalo, but not much."
Between the rough play of Ryan Nassib and the good play of Andre Williams and Paul Perkins, the Giants didn't get a very good look at their wide receivers. The position group has had a fantastic battle throughout camp, with each player taking turns upstaging the others. The expectation that the fireworks would continue, but it just didn't work out that way. Geremy Davis lead the group, and Sterling Shepard was the star with a fantastic diving catch and several unexpectedly strong blocks in the run game. But for the rest of the players, the pickings were slim.
"That's tough," McAdoo said when asked about evaluating the receivers after Friday's game. "I need to do a better job getting those guys opportunities. That's my responsibility, we didn't get enough balls in the air to them. We need to take care of that this week, we need to give those guys a chance to make plays."
Finally, there is always concern regarding the Giants' linebacking corps. The linebackers, however, had a pretty good night against the Dolphins. Perhaps in part due to the stout play of the defensive line, but the competition in camp has likely helped the group grow as well.
"We have a lot of good competition right there, they're fighting through it," McAdoo said. "Jasper and Sheppard competing inside, BJ, he was in here a little bit ago, he played a lot of snaps the other night and we see him getting better with reps."