The New York Giants won a football game Friday night, beating the Detroit Lions 30-17. It was a preseason game, though, so the score really doesn’t matter. What matters are some of the performances we saw and what they might mean going into the regular season. With that in mind, let’s get to our traditional “Kudos & Wet Willies” game review.
Kudos to ...
Kerry Wynn — What has gotten in to this guy? After four seasons as a serviceable but generally unremarkable reserve defensive end Wynn has turned into a MONSTER this preseason. Friday, he made tackles on three consecutive kickoffs. He also had one of the two sacks of Detroit starter Matthew Stafford, and for good measure added a quarterback hit. He was a one-man wrecking crew.
Davis Webb — This was the performance you hoped to see from Webb after a shaky preseason debut. Starting in place of Eli Manning he went 14 of 20 for 140 yards and a touchdown. He threw darts of 27 yards to Sterling Shepard and 40 yards to Russell Shepard. He controlled his emotions and remained poised under pressure. The Giants, and Webb, needed this.
Aldrick Rosas — The second-year placekicker won the job in 2017 with a great preseason. He is doing it again, drilling a 55-yard field goal. His kickoffs were all short and returned, but my guess is that was by design just so Wynn could get tackles. Or, maybe so the Giants could actually work on kickoff coverage.
Olivier Vernon — The veteran outside linebacker/defensive end continued a dominant summer with a sack and a quarterback hit during his brief time in the game.
Wayne Gallman — The Giants continue to list Gallman as the No. 3 back behind Saquon Barkley and Jonathan Stewart. Use your eyes, though, and you have to wonder how long before the Giants recognize that Gallman is the better option. He’s younger, quicker, shiftier and more versatile. His two-touchdown night showed his skill set.
Robert Martin — I really don’t know if the Giants will have room on the roster for this undrafted free agent rookie from Rutgers, but he sure is making them think about it. He showed decisiveness, vision, quickness to make cuts and speed in the open field Friday while gaining 47 yards on 7 carries (6.7 yards per carry).
Pass rush — This is supposed to be an issue for the Giants defense, but it certainly wasn’t on Friday. The Giants had four sacks, getting to Stafford twice in his seven drop backs. Vernon, Wynn, Lorenzo Carter and Romeo Okwara all provided edge pressure. B.J. Hill and Josh Mauro were among those providing inside pressure.
Run defense — On the heels of allowing only 50 yards on 33 carries to the Cleveland Browns, the Giants on Friday gave up just 67 yards on 22 carries, 3.0 yards per carry. The longest run by the Lions went for 7 yards. It sure does help the pass rush when the run defense is that solid.
Wet Willies to ...
Ereck Flowers and Patrick Omameh — Webb and the Giants were lucky that what looked like a sack/fumble of Webb that would have given Detroit the ball was ruled an incomplete pass. That kick-started their 17-play, 79-yard, 9-minute scoring drive. They were also lucky that Flowers and Omameh, the right tackle and guard, respectively, didn’t get Webb killed. Webb was constantly under duress due to poor work from that side of the line. When the games count, the Giants are going to have to give help in pass protection to that side of the line.
Mike Jones — I kinda hate picking on an undrafted free agent rookie cornerback who just joined the Giants a few days ago, but I’m doing it anyway. Jones got penalized twice in the fourth quarter, missed at least one tackle and got picked on by the Lions while he was in the game.
Hunter Sharp — A muffed punt and a fumbled kickoff return are no way to win the return job. Sharp’s primary advantage over Kalif Raymond has been thought to be ball security. Well, maybe not.
Grant Haley — I know, I know. He got his hand on the pass that Ray-Ray Armstrong picked off. That, though, happened only because an open T.J. Jones failed to make the catch with Haley in coverage and the ball glanced off Haley’s arm. The undrafted free agent corner had, in my view, a rough night. He missed tackles, gave up completions and got physically outmuscled a couple of times.
Alec Ogletree’s pass coverage — Ogletree has now been victimized for long pass plays in each Giants preseason game. Friday it was a 42-yard catch-and-run by Theo Riddick, who beat Ogletree badly to the inside. That one play was really the only negative for the Giants’ starting defense vs. the Lions.