With many big names scratched from the starting lineup, the Giants and Steelers showcased young talent in Pittsburgh’s 20-12 win over New York.Eli Manning didn’t play as Josh Johnson got the start at quarterback, to then be followed by former Jet Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb. The competition at kicker began between Aldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent, and really may have been the most intriguing part of the game. The Giants showed off the great depth they have on defense, particularly the defensive line. But the Giants also had plenty of instances during the game that may have lasting impacts on how the final roster will be shaped. The good and the bad from the Giants first preseason game:
– If one quarter of a preseason game means anything, Landon Collins is on the verge of having an amazing, possibly even better, season than he did last year. The All-Pro was everywhere on the ball once the game started, having two early tackles and ending with five while he was on the field. Collins landed big hit after big hit, and overall showed he will yet again be a force to be reckoned with this season.
– Kerry Wynn stole the show and was my personal player of the game. Wynn is often overlooked in the defensive scheme, yet he had two tackles for a loss and three total, a sack, a quarterback hit, and a defensed pass. Romeo Okwara also had a few moments where he showed his skill, and Devin Taylor dropped back into coverage and made a nice pick. All three players proved to be solid depth on the Giants defensive line.
– On a night where the running game was struggling to get going (the O-line had a part in it), Orleans Darkwa found the needed holes and had impressive runs. It was a small sample size– only three runs– but Darkwa still had 18 yards in a good showing for him.
– Despite two interceptions (one was negated due to a penalty), Geno Smith impressed. Close to a year after tearing his ACL, Smith had his mobility to him and remained poised throughout his time on the field. The offense ran much smoother with him at the helm than Johnson. Smith may have taken a step toward the backup QB job.
– This game may be a sign that Rhett Ellison is flying under the radar. Ben McAdoo utilized him in passing plays and Ellison ended the night with three catches for 20 yards. I’m starting to believe Ellison may become an X-factor for the offense, as McAdoo has many new options to play with and make the offense diverse.
– Ah, the offensive line. Jerry Reese and others in the Giants organization were adamant that the current O-line would improve during the offseason. After just one preseason game it looked just as if not worse than last year’s product. The first team didn’t open up any rushing lanes and seemed to have multiple misplays that resulted in pressure instantly baring down on Josh Johnson. To be fair, Johnson may have played a part in the struggles of the O-line because of how long he held onto the ball, yet the line should be capable of providing him with more time. Overall on the night the first team and backup O-lines allowed seven sacks. Not a good first showing at all.
– Josh Johnson simply didn’t have any control of the offense whatsoever. He ended the night completing five of his ten passes for 31 yards. He hurt his stock in the Giants QB backup battle, and we’ll find out in the weeks to come if he can redeem himself.
– Roger Lewis had many chances to make a case for himself, yet failed each time. He had an opportunity at catching two touchdowns but stepped out of bounds before the first and dropped a pass from Smith that was squarely in his grasp the second. The Giants didn’t have Tavarres King playing, but Darius Powe did have a solid night at WR. Lewis’ mishaps could very well lead to missing out on the roster, and the Giants sticking with King and Powe.
– Nat Berhe has remained high on fans’ radars for quite some time. He’s had a history of injury problems and if healthy should be a more than qualified backup at safety. However, he had two bad misplays last night: he slipped as he ran to coverage, with the play resulting in a catch for a big gain, and he missed a tackle later in the game which resulted in a first down for Pittsburgh. Berhe didn’t have a strong outing but he’ll be looking to redeem himself over the next few weeks.
Remains up for debate:
– Many expected the kicking job to be handed over to Aldrick Rosas, and although it still likely will be his, Mike Nugent did his part in competing for the job. Rosas nailed a 52 and 27 yard attempt whereas Nugent successfully hit field goals from 45 and 30 yards out. I still expect Rosas to win the job, but it’s interesting to see each kicker take the field and not flinch at all.
– Davis Webb had what should be considered a good night, however I’m putting his performance up for debate because of the personnel he had around him. I believe Smith had better control of the offense, but Smith had better weapons around him. I haven’t seen enough of Webb, with possibly better personnel, to make a definitive statement on him, and expect to see him have much more playing time over the next three weeks. If playing in a better scenario benefits Webb then he may flourish once the time comes.