That’s right! Scrimmage or not, we had New York Giants football Friday night. That means ‘Kudos & Wet Willies.’ So, let’s review.
Kudos to ...
Football! — Empty stadium. Giants vs. Giants. Pumped in crowd noise. Whatever. This was a warm, breezy evening. A great night to sit in the MetLife Stadium seats even though it rained for a bit, which I did for a good chunk of the scrimmage, and watch football.
Lorenzo Carter’s play — You will read all sorts of differing numbers on how many “sacks,” which were really two-hand touches of the quarterback, Carter had. Some had him for as many as 4.5. I had him down for 3.0 because one that was announced as a Carter sack was clearly Leonard Williams. One play where some credited him with a half-sack was, to my view, a pass batted down by Dexter Lawrence.
Doesn’t matter. Carter was outstanding. He beat Andrew Thomas, Cameron Fleming and Levine Toilolo for sacks. He should have been credited with a strip sack of Daniel Jones, but Jones was incorrectly ruled to have been touched before the fumble.
Giants fans can only hope that Friday night was an indication that Carter’s play could finally be about to match his incredible physical tools.
Lorenzo Carter’s post-game speech — I don’t care what your politics are. I don’t care what your beliefs are on the state of policing in this country. I don’t care what your feelings are about the state of racial and social justice (well, I do but we’re not here to discuss that). No matter how you see any of that, you simply had to be impressed by Carter’s post-game videoconference.
He was eloquent. He was passionate. He showed a knowledge of the history of racial tensions in this country. He showed that his priorities are in the right place. He showed that he cares about this country, and that he wants to act on and not just complain about the injustices he sees.
He deserves to be applauded.
Wayne Gallman — A 44-yard touchdown run on which he made a nice cut at the line of scrimmage. A 5-yard touchdown reception. At times, I have wondered if Gallman might be an odd man out in the Giants’ backfield. The way he played Friday makes cutting him from the eventual 53-man roster seem unlikely.
“He’s a guy who’s really flashed over the course of the entire training camp,” coach Joe Judge said. “He’s a guy that we’ve challenged and told him we want to see how he responds in competitive situations. Obviously tonight, he had a good night.”
Tae Crowder — The final player selected in the draft, the guy known forever as “Mr. Irrelevant” showed on Friday there is a possibility he might not be irrelevant for the Giants at all. Crowder took advantage of extra snaps provided by the concerning absence of Blake Martinez.
Crowder showed his ability to cover running backs by blanketing Dion Lewis for a pass defensed. He was also active in the run game, with several “tackles” at or near the line of scrimmage. If he is competing with fellow rookie T.J. Brunson for one roster spot, Friday was clearly advantage Crowder.
Graham Gano — The veteran placekicker made all four of his field goal tries, including a 47-yarder and a 41-yard “game winner” as the clock expired.
Javon Leake — The undrafted free agent came to the Giants out of Maryland with a reputation as an explosive running back and kickoff returner. In the second half Friday, he showed both. Leake had a kickoff return out to the 34-yard line and also a nice run aorund right end that went for more than 20 yards.
“He did a good job in the return game right there. There was some space to hit it. He didn’t waste the opportunity,” Judge said. “He did a good job tonight in the run game. Took advantage of some opportunities.”
Wet Willies to ...
Daniel Jones — There were some nice throws, including a perfectly-placed slant to Darius Slayton that went for 40 yards. There were, though, only three points generated in five possessions. There was also the fumble caused by Carter, a play which was too reminiscent of last season for Jones.
Andrew Thomas — The rookie had his hands full with an obviously-inspired Carter. The fourth overall pick wasn’t Carter’s only victim — he overwhelmed Levine Toilolo and Cameron Fleming, as well. Friday, though, was quite the learning experience for Thomas. In his defense, Judge did say there were things the Giants might do in a real game to help with protections. Friday, they just left the rookie on an island to fend for himself.
Challenge flags in a scrimmage — C’mon, Joe! I get why Judge challenged where the ball should have been spotted when Saquon Barkley barely stepped out of bounds after catching a screen pass — he wanted to go through the mechanics of a challenge. But, geesh. Thankfully, officials took about 10 seconds to announce “stands as called” and moved on.
Nick Gates appeared to have a clean night at center .... Rookie Tyler Haycraft, bidding for the backup center job, bounced two shotgun snaps in the second half. Otherwise, he also looked like he had a good night ... Dion Lewis was busy, with a lot of touches. He was also a handful, having a productive night running and receiving ... C.J. Board probably didn’t help himself by muffing a punt and then foolishly fielding one near the sideline at about the 3-yard line. Board did have a productive night as a receiver ... Rookie Cam Brown opened the game by flying down the field to tackle Corey Coleman inside the 20-yard line on the kickoff ... Rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes had a good night, his best play being a pass breakup on a crossing route for Sterling Shepard. Let’s hope his “lower body injury” isn’t serious ... Colt McCoy is a really good backup quarterback. He was in command during his snaps in the first half. His best throw of the night was probably a well-placed back shoulder fade to Corey Coleman to set up a field goal at the end of the first half ... Rookies Niko Lalos (long-snapping) and Carter Coughlin stayed on the field to work for several minutes after the game ... Count me as officially concerned about linebacker Blake Martinez, who didn’t even appear to be in attendance Friday night. Judge was evasive about Martinez, saying he would “check with the trainers” about his status.