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Giants-Panthers ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review: Daniel Jones, Darren Waller edition

Which Giants played well, and which did not

Carolina Panthers v New York Giants Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Let’s review the New York Giants’ 21-19 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Friday night in our typical ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ style.

Kudos to ...

Daniel Jones — The quarterback’s preseason debut, and probably his only action of the preseason, could not have gone much better. Jones went 8 of 9 for 69 yards and a touchdown while engineering a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in his only series on Friday.

Darren Waller — The veteran tight end caught three passes for 30 yards and came out unscathed after taking a big hit from Panthers’ safety Vonn Bell. Waller did drop one Jones’ pass but said he would “make it up to him.”

By the way, if you want to feel good about the Giants this morning check out all of Baldinger’s breakdowns of the offense vs. the Panthers.

Jordon Riley — The Giants found this guy in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Riley has a lot of work to do yet, but he certainly looks like a player who is going to outplay his draft stock.

Kayvon Thibodeaux — The second-year edge defender had a sack, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit while playing just two series. He made the kind of play the Giants need him to make in the second quarter. With the Panthers at the Giants 10-yard line and knocking on the door of a game-tying touchdown, Thibodeaux sacked quarterback Bryce Young for a 7-yard loss. Carolina eventually settled for a field goal.

Go the 2:10 mark of the clip below and watch what Thibodeaux does to 2022 No. 6 overall pick Ickey Ekwonu, Carolina’s left tackle, on back-to-back plays in the red zone.

Jalin Hyatt — The rookie third-round pick rebounded from a dropped pass to haul in a 33-yard touchdown pass on the next play. Love the resilience, and the team’s willingness to go right back to Hyatt.

Eric Gray — The rookie running back had a hard-nosed 9-yard touchdown run, and made good decisions while handling kickoff and punt return duties.

Wet Willies to ...

Matt Peart — Playing left tackle in relief of Andrew Thomas, Peart committed a pair of holding penalties in pass protection. One negated a 14-yard pass play. The other negated a 17-yard run by Jashaun Corbin. I don’t know what Pro Football Focus will think of Peart’s work. I just saw it as typically inconsistent, making him a difficult player to have faith in.

Fourth-quarter defense — The Giants gave up two fourth-quarter drives for touchdowns, turning a 21-3 lead into a tight 21-19 victory. Most of the players on the field for the Giants during those two drives won’t make the roster because, well, they played like they don’t deserve to make the roster.

Zyon Gilbert — The second-year cornerback was victimized by fourth-string Carolin quarterback Jake Luton for a 20-yard touchdown pass. He also dropped a potential interception with the Giants clinging to a two-point lead at the two-minute warning. That’s not how you make the 53-man roster.