The Giants fell to a 31-27 defeat against the Jets last night, and after two wins and a loss, the preseason is over. With the regular season fast approaching, let’s look at some talking points.
Davis Webb’s preseason performances have been impressive, and although he is unlikely to see the field this season, the familiarity he has shown in this offence has given us glimpses of what may be to come for Daniel Jones once Brian Daboll’s system clicks. Davis came into the game late in the first quarter following Tyrod Taylor’s untimely exit due to a back injury and once again carried the team forward.
Normally, focusing on stats is pointless in preseason, but glossing over Webb’s would be doing him a disservice. He finished yesterday’s game with 30 completions on 38 attempts for 202 yards, rushed four times for 13 yards, and threw a touchdown to Tight End Austin Allen. If you look at the whole preseason, he was also joint 5th for passing yards with 457 and had 60 completions on 81 targets, which is the highest number of completions across the NFL.
The majority of Giants fans would agree that the biggest concern this offseason, other than the injuries, has been the state of our cornerback group. Outside of Adoree Jackson, it is very much a patchwork group with no standout backups ready to step in. Sunday’s game was an opportunity for one of them to step up, but unfortunately, it ended by raising more concerns.
Multiple players had rough days, with both Aaron Robinson and Cordale Flott missing tackles that will cost the Giants dearly in the regular season. However, it’s probably fair to say that neither struggled as much as Khalil Dorsey did on the Jets’ final drive. With the Jets on the Giants’ 36-yard line, Dorsey was flagged for pass interference, placing the Jets on the 10 yard line. Four plays later, he was beaten on a corner route and the Jets scored what ended up being the game winner.
Austin Calitro signed with the Giants a month ago, and the much-travelled Linebacker who is on his 9th team, has been fighting for a roster spot ever since. Calitro, a life-long Giants fan, has had an up and down preseason. After impressing against the New England Patriots, he struggled against his previous team, the Cincinnati Bengals, but last night’s showing could just see him avoid being cut and make the Giants’ 53-man squad for the season.
His impressive showing yesterday started with a fumble recovery after fellow Linebacker Micah McFadden forced the ball out of Michael Carter’s hands. Then, in the second half, a poor throw by Joe Flacco was straight at Calitro, and he took the gift all the way to the endzone for the Giants’ first touchdown of the game. By the end of the game, he added five tackles (two solo) and one tackle for a loss to his stat line.
When Will It End
In what seems to be a weekly occurrence, another smattering of injuries has disrupted the Giants’ preparations for the upcoming season. During the weeks joint practise with their final preseason opponents, the Giants saw second-year Edge Rusher Azeez Ojulari leave the field hobbling with what was later revealed to be a lower leg injury. This was only days after one of the stars of preseason Wide Receiver Collin Johnson was ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury.
The injuries didn’t let up during Sunday’s game, although we can be thankful that on paper they don’t look to be as impactful as a number have been in the last few weeks. Tyrod Taylor left the game with a back injury on the dreaded cart, but seemed to avoid a serious injury. Tight End Daniel Bellinger and Defensive Lineman Jalyn Holmes were also both ruled out after they were evaluated for concussions.
As Sign of Things to Come
After sitting through last year’s abysmal offensive play, Giants fans were intrigued when the tandem of Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka were brought in to overhaul the playbook. Early signs in camp pointed to a more modernised offence and, although it is still very much a work in progress, it would seem that the pieces are starting to come together.
Looking at the three games that the Giants have played in the preseason, they averaged 25 points a game, something they only managed three times in the entirety of last season. Couple this with the 272.7 Passing Yards per game and the 382.7 Total Yards per game (both of which were the highest in the league) and you have a reason to be optimistic.
Obviously, this is only preseason, so it cannot be interpreted as a foreshadowing of what is to come, but for a team that has struggled so frequently in recent years, it’s a breath of fresh air and long may it continue.