The preseason is now in the books, and the next time we see the New York Giants on the field, the games count for real.
But just because the Giants game today didn’t count, doesn’t mean it was meaningless — far from it.
The fourth preseason game is generally overlooked, but for many players it might be the most important game of preseason, if not the year.
Just ask Damon Harrison:
7 years ago during this preseason game I locked myself into a roster spot. Was on the practice squad/cut bubble but I played myself onto the team. There’s jobs to be won and lost in this game. The opportunity is there and the time is now! Today we hunt!!— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) August 30, 2018
So then, who were the winners, and losers, in tonight’s game?
Donte Deayon - The undersized corner might be the Giants’ biggest winner. Deayon is fighting for a roster spot, and his size — at 5-foot-9, 160 pounds — has always led to questions about his ability to play at the NFL level.
But one thing that has never been in question is his ball skills. Deayon had 17 interceptions and 25 passes defensed in college, and reports of him picking off one Giants’ quarterback or another were a regular occurance. Those ball skills showed up against the Patriots with a pair of interceptions in the first half, and nearly a third, as well as a pass defensed in the third quarter.
Amba Etta-Tawo - Etta-Tawo flashed in the offseason program, catching everything thrown to him. He didn’t appear to carry that momentum over to training cap and never really flashed in games. Until this game, when he got free on an innovative take on the “mesh” concept and turned a short pass into a 41 yard catch-and-run.
Chad Wheeler - The Giants wanted to get a long look at Wheeler, and he largely responded well. Wheeler got beat a couple times, but also had some very nice blocks.
Tae Davis - Davis played a huge number of snaps against the Patriots and had a nice game. He seemed to be all over the field as the moneybacker in the base defense and an outside linebacker in nickel packages. Davis has been stuck behind Ray-Ray Armstrong in that role, but he showed up in a chance to show what he has to offer.
Tyrell Chavis - The undrafted rookie defensive tackle is unlikey to make the Giants’ 53-man roster, but he consistently showed up in the Patriots’ backfield. The 291-pound defensive tackle proved to be too quick for New England’s reserve linemen. Penetrating defensive tackles are always coveted in the NFL, and Chavis might have shown enough to secure a practice squad spot.
Jhurell Pressley - Pressley has only been a Giant for two weeks, but he has flashed brightly in his limited time with the team. He has proven tough to bring down and explosive with some open field in front of him. Pressley might have forced the Giants’ hand when it comes to how many running backs they carry. At the very least he and Robert Martin have made excellent cases for the practice squad.
Darian Thompson - The other DB the Giants got in 2016 from Boise State comes up a loser this game. Thompson hasn’t do anything to hurt his case, except for get hurt. Thomas’ greatest asset as a free safety is his mental processing, but the Giants seem to want a free safety with cornerback skills. He needed to be on the field to show that he can play the free safety spot as deep as James Bettcher consistently calls it.
Andrew Adams - Adams didn’t get on the field until later in the game, which is a bad sign in and of itself, but then he showed up in a bad way on a pair of touchdowns by the Patriots. Both times he was drawn out of his free safety position by play action.
Kalif Raymond - It’s tough to call Raymond a “loser” tonight, because it isn’t anything he did wrong. In fact, he played well when he was on the field. He showed up as a receiver and on special teams. But, he always seemed to be victimized by mistakes on the part of players around him. Lauletta missed him on deep passes that would have been big gains if not touchdowns, and a long punt return was nullified by a block in the back.
Penalties - This was easily the sloppiest game the Giants have played this preseason. They routinely helped the Patriots by extending drives with penalties, including a trio for leading with the crown of the helmets. The Giants need to iron this out before playing the Jacksonville Jaguars next week — The Giants face a daunting test against the Jaguars’ defense and can’t afford to give their offense any help.