What did we learn Friday night as the New York Giants were defeating the Detroit Lions 30-17 in NFL preseason action? You mean, aside from the fact that coach Pat Shurmur played it smart and kept Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. anchored to the sideline? Well, read on and find out.
What backup quarterback competition?
Davis Webb started with Eli Manning joining Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. on the sidelines, and put last week’s difficult game vs. the Cleveland Browns in the rearview mirror. He went 14-of-20 fo 140 yards with a touchdown and a 106.2 passer rating. He engineered a 17-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that lasted more than nine minutes. He threw some beatiful balls, a 27-yarder to Sterling Shepard and a 40-yarder to Russell Shepard among them.
Kyle Lauletta had an interesting night. He led the Giants on two scoring drives, running for a 10-yard score and helping to block on an 11-yard touchdown run by Wayne Gallman. He showed some poise under duress. He completed only 2-of-5 passes, though, and all three incompletions were off-target balls to open receivers that should have resulted in nice gains for the offense.
Bad news for Brett Jones
Jon Halapio was a game day captain. If it wasn’t already obvious that the center competition is over and Halapio is the starter, it certainly is now.
Alec Ogletree is a liability in coverage
In the Giants first preseason game, the veteran linebacker was victimized by tight end David Njoku for a 36-yard touchdown. Friday, he was badly beaten by running back Theo Riddick for a 42-yard gain. If he’s going to be on the field for all three downs the Giants are going to need to find ways to limit his exposure in coverage.
The helmet rule is madness
What, exactly, is Mark Herzlich supposed to do here? Allow himself to be blocked? Try to run around the blocker? Beside which the blocking back, Theo Riddick, launched himself helmet first into Herzlich. So how is that a 15-yard penalty on Herzlich?
It’s Kerry Wynn’s world
I seriously am starting to believe the Giants put kickoffs in play only so the 265-pound Wynn can barrel down the field, crush would-be blockers and make tackles. Wynn made the tackles on the Giants’ first three kickoffs Friday. For good measure, he tossed in a sack, a quarterback hit and two total tackles on defense.
Kyle Lauletta has wheels ... and he can block!
If things don’t work out for Lauletta as a quarterback, maybe he has a future as a ball carrier. Lauletta made several Detroit defenders miss on a 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Lauletta rolled left, juked a couple of defenders and dove for the score. Impressive stuff.
On an 11-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run by Wayne Gallman it was Lauletta who threw the final block. Well, sort of. The rookie mostly got in the way of a defender or two, allowing Gallman a clear path to the end zone. Still, not shabby for a quarterback.
The Giants aren’t showing much on defense
That’s not to sat they aren’t playing well. Aside from Ogletree’s adventures in pass coverage, the starting defense has played well in two preseason games. It means they aren’t showing much schematically. The Giants three- and four-man lines vs. Detroit, but didn’t show a whole lot in terms of stunts, blitzes or unique looks. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher is saving that stuff for when he needs it.
Cornerback clarity? Nah!
Chris has already offered up a nice look at winners and losers in the Giants’ position battles. I just need to discuss cornerback for a minute. I was hoping the Giants would emerge with some clarity here, but I don’t think that was the case. Unless you want to say it’s clear they really need to be scouring the waiver wire once teams make cuts at the end of the preseason.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I need to rain on the Grant Haley parade. He had little to nothing to do with the interception by Ray-Ray Armstrong. Had Detroit’s T.J. Jones done his job and made the catch that’s a completion in front of Haley, not a ball that glances off Haley’s arm and gets picked off by the Giants linebacker.
Haley, an undrafted free agent bidding for a roster spot, gave up a touchdown, a number of completions and missed a couple of tackles. A step backward.
I thought veterans B.W. Webb and Leonard Johnson took steps forward.
In the end, I’m still confused about who should/should not make the roster. And, is William Gay a corner or a safety? Or both? Or neither?
A surprising development
On a number of occasions I have written or said that I am concerned about the depth at inside linebacker behind Ogletree and B.J. Goodson. For the second straight week, Armstrong (2 tackles, an interception, a pass defensed) and Herzlich (7 tackles) played well.