Compared to last week’s sloppy performance against the Panthers, the Giants made a complete turnaround. In every phase, the Giants showed improvement. The offense, defense, and special teams played well. This is a preseason win they can build upon. We realize, however, losing starting cornerback Terrell Thomas for the remainder of this season is devastating. Before the end of the half, Thomas injured his knee. And, clearly, this made this preseason win bittersweet.
Why is the loss of TT so deflating?
Terrell Thomas is the best cornerback on this team. Not only is he good in coverage, out of all of the cornerbacks on the Giants, he is their best tackler. As a matter of fact, last season, Thomas LED the team in tackles with 81. (SURPRISE, he led the team in tackles in 2009 as well.) Besides being a very good tackler, Thomas is an effective blitzer. Ironically, on the play in which he got injured, Thomas was blitzing off the edge. Furthermore, over the last two seasons, Thomas led the Giants secondary with FIVE interceptions. Sadly, like Jason Sehorn 13 years ago in another preseason game, the Giants lose their best cornerback to a serious knee injury. Although Sehorn did make a comeback, he was not the same player. We can only hope TT can recover from this injury and upon his return play at a high level.
With TT shelved for this season, another cornerback also suffered a knee injury. Reserve cornerback Brian Witherspoon suffered an MCL injury. Now with four cornerbacks injured, the Giants are seriously thin at this critical position.
Bruce Johnson is out for the year. (Ruptured Achilles)
First round selection Prince Amukamara broke his foot and may return by mid season.
The Giants can ill afford to lose anymore cornerbacks. If they do, it is going to be very difficult for them to be competitive this season.
As for the game:
There are so many positives. Let me highlight a few..
Linebacker Greg Jones blocked a punt. When was the last time a Giant blocked a punt?
Devin Thomas was spectacular on kick returns. Because of his impressive kickoff returns which included a 73 yarder, Thomas cemented his place on this roster. Thomas had three returns averaging 43 yards.
Kicker Rhys Lloyd was flawless. He made both of his field goals and was five for five on extra points. Even though he had no touchbacks, his kickoffs went into the end zone. It looks like we have competition at placekicker.
Again, like last week, punter Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford were a push. Both did well.
Justin Tuck’s hustle was the highlight play of the night. Bears running back Matt Forte caught a screen pass. Subsequently, he scampered for 42 yards. Unbeknownst to Forte, Tuck chased him down and tackled him at the 7 yard line.
Aaron Ross’s play was encouraging. Depleted at the cornerback position, Ross has to stay healthy. More importantly, he has to play like he did against the Bears. Ross had two tackles and two passes defended.
WR Victor Cruz’s catch on fourth down was a thing a beauty. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride called a play in which Cruz was isolated one on one. He got open and made a terrific catch.
Both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw looked like they were ready to start the season. Jacobs’ touchdown run was the result of an astute Eli Manning. Before the snap, Eli realized the Bears were going to blitz. He changed the play call at the line of scrimmage. Great awareness by Eli.
Speaking of Eli, he had a good game. Going 8-16 for 78 yards. After looking lethargic on their first two possessions, the offense was able to get into a rhythm. They scored 17 second quarter points.
Because of his crisp play, back up quarterback David Carr secured his roster spot. Unless Sage Rosenfels plays lights out against the Jets, I do not see him unseating Carr.
There were some warts from this game. But we shall discuss them another day. Terrell Thomas’ season ending injury dims an otherwise positive game by the Giants.