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Preseason Week 2: Tweets from the Giants’ win

NFL: Preseason-Carolina Panthers at New York Giants John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants 21-19 win over the Carolina Panthers engendered positive feedback, as the Giants’ first team offense cruised down the football field for six points on a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Daniel Jones was decisive with the football, and the Giants coaching staff schemed creative looks against Carolina’s first team defense.

The rapport between quarterback Daniel Jones and Darren Waller was obvious on the latter’s first - and only - drive as a Giant. Waller caught three passes for 30 yards on four targets, with plays like this:

This is the first play of the game. Mike Kafka motioned Waller (12) to a boundary stack and had him mirror Darius Slayton’s (86) route to allow the receiver to clear-out space on an inside break. From a scheme standpoint, this is easy money for the Giants and currency is much easier to attain when the team has players like Waller:

Waller’s route running keeps defenders guessing until it’s too late. The ability to deceive until it’s too late is coupled with his massive frame and elite athleticism; this makes it easy for Waller to create space against defenders, and the Giants clear out the field side and allow Waller (as the number three) to easily come open for a twelve yard gain.

Waller’s impact goes beyond catching the football. He motioned directly behind Daniel Bellinger (82) to remove the outside cornerback and occupy attention. At the snap, Waller ran through the outside shoulder of the initial defender tasked to guard Bellinger. The second year tight end blocked for a second and released outside of Waller, who was creating a legal pick and drawing C.J. Henderson’s (23) attention. The two defenders inside-out Waller, and Bellinger goes unnoticed for six.

The offense’s ability to scheme multiple options into one play - beyond the mesh point in the RPO - is as innovative as it is brilliant. A 12 personnel PISTOL look RPO with Matt Breida (31) wrapping around Jones to the boundary, with both tight ends heading to the field side flat. This is a game of numbers and responsibilities; the defense respects the run while the field safety matched Bellinger to the flat and the MIKE assumes Waller from the backside as his responsibility. Slayton took two defenders deep to clear out for the two flat routes and the backside cross from Isaiah Hodgins (18).

From a defensive perspective with the boundary cornerback in outside leverage, who is going to cover Hodgins on the cross? One linebacker respected the run, the other took Waller, the safety to that side went with Bellinger, and Slayton’s inward stem and turn took both defenders deep; so who has Hodgins? And, who has Daniel Jones and his legs? The answer is no one in good position. This is elite scheming and Jones has several options to one side of the field. If he doesn’t love what he sees, Jones can rush and pick up several yards. We saw plays like this last season, and I expect to see it more frequently this year.

The creativity in this offense extends beyond the conflict generated by the passing attack. Last season, offensive line coach Bobby Johnson experimented with different blocking approaches to allow for free releases from offensive linemen up to the second level. We saw that above on Eric Gray’s (20) rushing touchdown.

The tactic of trap and wham blocks is one that Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland have used for years. Bellinger’s ability to effectively throw these blocks is an unheralded trait that makes the offensive line’s job easier. The Giants wham the 2i-technique with Mark Glowinski (64) kicking outside on the end man on the line of scrimmage. From the single-wing, Gray isn’t touched for five yards as Evan Neal (73) and John Michael Schmitz (61) easily climb to the linebackers.

It’s a good physical run by Gray, but the genius is in the blocking approach up front. Speaking of blocking up front, here are all of Neal and Schmitz’s snaps from the game:

The rookie center flashed his tenacity by finishing this block with authority:

Schmitz wasn’t the only offensive rookie to have an impact on Friday. After dropping a deep horizontal cross, Jalin Hyatt motioned to the number three spot and influenced the safety inside with an inward leaning stem before he ran a corner route isolated against the safety that went for an easy score:

Here are all of his routes run from Friday’s win:

The defensive rookies were also impressive. Here are all of Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III’s snaps from Friday:

One of the traits that appealed to Wink Martindale was Banks physicality as a press defender. He showcased that in the play above; not just with the jam, but with his ability to squeeze the veteran receiver off the red line and toward the boundary.

Tre Hawkins III may have been a sixth-round pick, but his processing doesn’t suggest a neophyte. He does a great job understanding where he was on this play below:

We have all been impressed with Hawkins III’s ascension and coverage skills, but his most impressive collegiate trait was his physicality and willingness to run through the souls of his opponents:

Wink Martindale has a penchant to run smaller personnel. Cornerbacks who execute run fits like the one we see above will find the football field early and often, and will allow Martindale the flexibility to go small if it matches the offense. Elite play from Hawkins, but, again, these hits were littered through his college tape.

The run defense looked crisp against Carolina, and it was pleasant to see competent linebacker play:

The strength shown by the Giants run defense translated to rushing the passer, as we see below:

Dexter Lawrence’s (97) strength is way too much for the center and Bobby Okereke (58) ran through the running back in protection. Carolina doesn’t have the best roster in the league, but that is a first team offensive line. Here’s another look at the play:

Rookie seventh-round pick Jordon Riley continued his scorching hot summer with several impact plays, and snaps with the first team defense:

Last, but not least, Kayvon Thibodeaux:

Shortly before this play, Thibdoeaux (5) sacked Bryce Young (9), which largely transpired because of an Icky Ekwonu miscommunication. Thibodeaux was hardly touched on the sack. On the play above, Thibodeaux smoothly transitioned from a power fake (bull-rush) to a rip move, which allowed the second-year edge defender to corner into the pocket. Hand usage was precise and efficient.