Kudos to ...
Daniel Jones — Um, gee, this one was a hard call. You may have heard by now that Jones went 5-for-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown pass in a one-series debut that was perhaps shortened by Mother Nature unleashing her fury on MetLife Stadium in the form of a 59-minute weather delay.
Jones put a dent in the arguments by those who think the Giants made a mistake by selecting him No. 6 overall. Quarterback competition/controversy or not, his play ratcheted up the volume for those arguing he should play sooner rather than later and turned up the heat on Eli Manning.
Corey Ballentine — The rookie sixth-round pick missed a tackle, had a pass interference penalty called on him and muffed his first kickoff return opportunity. But, forget all that. Boy, is this an impressive young man and a kid who is looking more and more like a terrific find for the Giants as a sixth-round pick out of Washburn.
Ballentine had an outstanding interception, running stride for stride with Tim White and making a nice catch of a ball thrown by Davis Webb. He had a pass defensed. Don’t overlook his special teams work, either. He had a tackle and gave a glimpse of potential as a kickoff returner with a 40-yard return from deep in the end zone. The kid is fast, and even more impressively he gets to top speed quickly.
Jake Carlock — An undrafted free agent from LIU Post, Carlock has become a “team favorite,” per coach Pat Shurmur. His deflection, catch and 59-yard touchdown return of a Davis Webb pass set off a sideline celebration.
“I know as a defender, once you get a pick, you never want to get hawked down from behind,” Carlock said. “So, I was running as fast as I could. After I scored and was celebrating, I couldn’t even catch my breath. It was a good time.”
Carlock added a sack and certainly improved his long-shot chances of making the roster.
Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta — The backups to the backup quarterback were, obviously, overshadowed by Jones’ spectacular debut on Thursday. Both, though, had excellent nights themselves. Tanney, playing two full quarters, went 14-of-19 for 190 yards, one touchdown and a 122.7 passer rating. Lauletta went 9-of-12 for 116 yards yards, one touchdown and a 132.6 passer rating.
By the way, just a mention here that ex-Giant Davis Webb went 2-for-7 with two interceptions and a 0.0 passer rating.
T.J. Jones — The former Detroit Lions wide receiver isn’t explosive, as evidenced by his three punt returns for a paltry six yards. Injuries and Golden Tate’s four-game suspension at the start of the season (if upheld) have created roster openings at wide receiver, and Jones became an early favorite to earn one of those on Thursday. He caught all six passes thrown to him, including making a nice adjustment to haul in back shoulder ball from Kyle Lauletta for a 31-yard touchdown. He finished with a team-high 72 receiving yards.
Wet Willies to ...
Eli Manning — It’s tough to give a 16-year veteran quarterback a Wet Willie after three plays in a meaningless first preseason game. But, c’mon on, Eli! On the first offensive play of the game the Giants ran a play action bootleg with Manning rolling right — to his throwing hand. With Rhett Ellison running wide open 20 yards down the field, Manning dumped the ball to Scott Simonson for a measly 3-yard gain, either not seeing or turning down an opportunity for a huge play. Not a good look on a night when Jones was as impressive as he could have been.
Paul Perkins — I have been saying for a while that I thought Perkins had a shot at taking a roster spot away from Wayne Gallman. He did not help himself Thursday. Perkins fumbled deep in Giants’ territory, dropped an easy pass and ran four times for 9 yards. Granted, it was Perkins’ first game action since 2017. If he doesn’t play better than that, he won’t be getting game action in 2019, either.
Nick Gates — This one might not be fair, but life isn’t fair. Gates is trying to make the Giants roster as a guard. With George Asafo-Adjei, Chad Wheeler and Brian Mihalik all out with injuries Thursday, Gates was forced to play left tackle. He committed three penalties — two for holding and one false start. Out of position or not, that’s not good enough.
Giants’ punters — Riley Dixon averaged 38.5 yards and only 33.5 net yards on a pair of punts. Ryan Anderson, the left-footed punter from Rutgers, averaged 44.7 yards on three punts. His net average, though, was just 27.3. The coverage may not have been great, but the Giants have to do better than that in the punt game.
Mother Nature — A 59-minute severe weather delay? In an August preseason game? You’ve gotta be kidding me.