I went to the game tonight with Ed Vette and Rich/Mighty G. After a short tailgate, we went into the stadium just before the lightning caused about a one hour delay. Once cleared, we went to our seats, which were up top end zone, slightly left of center. Excellent sight lines to track the play on the field.
Don't panic about the final score. The Giants' Ones absolutely dominated Miami's Ones on both sides of the ball. Both units played with confidence and strength; they pretty much pushed Miami around. This all happened with their future HOF quarterback and All-World wide receiver sitting on the sidelines. The back ups and depth need some work, but this is going to be a very good football team. Most starters were out by the second quarter: it appeared to me that, throughout the game, the staff wanted work out the back ups to see what worth they might have. In the end it was some good, some bad.
The starting offensive line looked very good. They were cohesive and played with confidence. Run blocking was very good; pass blocking also, although Newhouse did give up a pressure. Outside the starters, I thought Bobby Hart was quite good with the twos at RT and Brett Jones was credible at center. At running back, Jennings ran well in his limited play. Shane Vereen was Shane Vereen: a good 3rd down/change of pace back. Andre Williams was quite good. Although he did once try unsuccessfully to bounce a run to the outside when a cutback lane was wide open, he otherwise ran with good vision and with his textbook toughness. Darkwa was okay, but, given the rotation, and the results, it looks at present that Williams is the #2 back. Paul Perkins played well when inserted in the second half; he is a talented kid and I see him on the Game One roster.
Sterling Shepard looks to be as advertised. Besides the tremendous first quarter catch on the sidelines, I saw a receiver who runs terrific routes and knows how to get open. Geremy Davis and Roger Lewis played well: they worked to get open and caught what was thrown their way. All three did a nice job blocking down field. Will Tye had a good game: he got himself open, caught what was thrown his way, and blocked very well. Looks like he has progressed and could well be the starting tight end.
No question here was the back up offensive line. Late in the first quarter, the Giants subbed out their entire offensive line, and the replacement unit was flat out lousy. Bobby Hart was fine at RT; Brett Jones looked okay at center. The run blocking was actually good at times, but the pass blocking was not good. Byron Stingley, the only other vet on the line, was awful. None of the other back ups showed me anything that deserves them to be on an NFL roster. At TE, Larry Donnell did not play well. He seems clueless as a blocker and managed to cost a nice play with a hold call. Although the starter, he might just end up fighting for a roster spot.
Ryan Nassib had a terrible game. Given the ball as a starter, he made several bad decisions that swung what would have been a most probable easy Giant win into a bad loss. In the first quarter, with the Giants driving & up 10-0, he faced a third and long (about a third and 15). A hard rush came to the left of the line: Nassib beat the rusher to the outside and had plenty of time to pick out a receiver: Sterling Shepard was wide open over the middle. Instead, Nassib took off, picking a ten yard gain, resulting in a punt. In the second quarter, Nassib rolled out of a pressure to his right and took off, never feeling a back side pressure; carrying the ball like a loaf of bread, he was stripped, resulting a fumble that was returned inside the five yard line which eventually resulted in a Dolphin touchdown. Nassib also threw to interceptions, both deep go patterns. In both cases, he threw into double coverage, and in both cases, the pass was thrown to the inside shoulder, allowing the rotating safety to make a play on the ball.
Bobby Rainey was given the opportunity to return all the Giants kicks for more than half the game. With a well earned reputation as being a fumbler, he did not disappoint, fumbling twice. Seeing how he fumbled in over 10% of his touches last year, his consistency tonight bodes bad for his ultimate retention on the roster.
After Bobby Hart and Brett Jones, the second tier offensive linemen look really bad. Adam Gettis in particular put on a floor show, first a guard, then center, but overall they all looked bad. The only player with veteran experience, Byron Stinglily, was not good. The Giants have to find at least one, and more likely two, pro ready vet linemen to solidify the unit.
Tomorrow, we will look at the defense.