There were some good things, there were some bad things, but in the end this game was not enough to make us feel that we have something special brewing this season. Not YET at least. Coughlin echoed this sentiment with a VERY MIXED review of the team’s performance.
1) Mitch commented last evening that he’d rather see Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks line up wide and put Smith in the slot and take our chances. Interesting. VERY INTERESTING and thought provoking, to say the least. Of course we would never see that because that would require “stones.” And as we have seen from the Giants too many times, they do not roll the dice. They are deliberate and patient. Riverboat gamblers they are not. They’ll leave that to Rex Ryan and others to do the dice rolling.
But what of the notion of MM and Nicks? Each of these guys dropped a pass this evening. The Giants WRs dropped 6 passes that I know of. Mario Manningham may be RAW but he has the most talent of all of the Wide Receivers by a “wide” margin. We have been pointing to his play in the prior 2 preseason games:
“Good” Versus the Panthers>”Manningham- executing, got behind coverage on bomb”
Versus the Bears>”Some positives: Manningham is going to create opportunities with his separation.”
And now this evening, Manningham is getting busier once again. His one drop was bad, but he looks like a bonafide threat out there. He can do major damage to a team in one on one. You cannot “teach” that.. either you have it or you do not. And Manningham has IT. What he can be taught is to correct the many mistakes we see him still make. Carl Banks was not complimentary of Manningham on one play, saying he needs to use his body to box out, not his arms. This is the raw part of Manningham. But that does not concern me. And it does not concern Mitch. He’ll just get better each game and let his skills explode on the upside. The intriguing part is the break in his route- it looks like Plaxico Burress out there. The Mitch plan is bold. It is aggressive. The Giants won’t do it. But they should. The reason why is that you play to win championships. Mario Manningham is a bonafide WR with star skills that can make your offense powerful. In a regular season game he will make that catch and then we will all be going gaga over him.
Hixon and Smith are ‘capable.’ I voted for Smith in the poll on the right. Now there is not even a question in my mind that Manningham is the one with the ability to have a breakout season. Yes, Hixon and Smith will probably start and contribute, but these guys are like Buicks compared to Manningham the Sports Car. To be fair, Smith did get behind the defense. But he pulled a Hixon, dropping the TD pass. I’d rather take my chances with the 2nd year and 1st year player dropping passes and growing big time through the season than see Smith and Hixon dropping the same passes. It seems that on almost every play I see Manningham getting separation. Smith is reliable enough- keep him in the slot and shoot the moon with your horses.
As for Nicks, same theory. Let him play. He has been making progress at the end of training camp and made more ‘strides’ this evening (2 TDs). On the first one, he looked like Amani Toomer, slowing down and boxing out so that he could get underneath the ball. It took Toomer three years to learn that maneuver and Nicks just pulled it off in his 3rd game of preseason. Good for him. Does he know all of the playbook and is he ready for the load of a starting job? Doubtful. WR is a very hard task for any rookie to manage. Regardless, he deserves more time.
Other quick comments:
2) We were worried about CC Brown before the game and saw only more things to be worried about. Considering that Michael Johnson is average, our safeties are thin. Absolutely no safety help on this play?
Addendum: transcript of Coughlin: “We gave up some plays in the secondary that we just shouldn’t give up. The one touchdown on the crossing pattern should not have happened. It was a heck of a play by the young quarterback just to stay alive, but the receiver never should have been that open.”
3) OL and Eli Manning did fine. This was a good recovery after the Bears game.
4) Carr has REGRESSED into the Texans Carr. GET RID OF THE DAMN BALL! If he is not careful the Giants will cut HIM and keep Woodson and Bomar. WOOF! Coughlin feels differently, but there continue to be some very disturbing tendencies, including taking too many sacks.
5) Gilbride/Manning threw 3 times that I saw to Boss. We see how great the Bossman is when he is thrown to in the same zip code. The offense needs to give this man so much load, it is frightening. Until opposing defenses start doubling Boss, the Giants should be using him to break the box.
6) Tynes looked good. Not worried about the miss from 50, at least he was accurate. Coughlin knows his range.. that FG kick was done intentionally to see the range.
7) Any predictability in the preseason playcalling should not be a concern just yet.
8) The Giants still have red zone woes. They got one TD because of Eli drawing DL players offsides enough times to cure what ails us. The two Nicks TDs were beyond the red zone, so it was more like the offense was 0-3, because we stalled at the 20 and 8 yd lines in Q2.
9) No big injuries as far as we are aware of. “Ware nicked up.”
Summary: WR misses were troubling. Defensive backs looked out of position on a few big plays. The Giants bounced back and played a better game but Sheridan needs to iron out a few things. The Giants still have questions to answer. Like which WR to play.