Slow out of the gate
Ugh. That was ugly. Offense was boring, unproductive and out of sync. Eli was very mediocre and the running game made a few plays here and there but was not clicking either. Even uglier than the offense was the ST that seemed to give up big yardage on punt returns and even some kickoffs. If you look at the stats, the net yardage on punts was decent at 39.4 yards, but that was largely due to some very good kicks, the actual coverage missed several tackles and showed poor coverage lane discipline The defense was OK, but considering it was going up against a mediocre Carolina offense that does not have a proven QB, I'm not going to give it high grades either.
As far as what I said we were looking for from the game, the big thing was progress from Will Beatty. He was fine in pass blocking and the Panthers did blitz quite a bit, especially for a preseason game, so that was a fairly positive result. He did not do as well blocking for the running game, as the Giants got stuffed a few times on 3rd and short when trying to run behind the left side of the OL.
We didn't see much else positive - nothing from Jernigan; Hixon made a few catches and looked smooth running routes, but did not look explosive; Hynoski was OK. Nothing much happening, it looked like a detached, dispirited group.
One surprise was the play of Adrian Tracy at LB - a converted DE, who was IR'ed last year, showed real good speed at LB and played well in space.
The best news of the evening, maybe the only good news, is the emergence of JPP from the shadows. He looked positively dominating. He got two sacks in one quarter of play and also got the pressure and the hit on the QB that forced the bad throw resulting in the Bolley INT/TD. He also made some plays in the running game, not necessarily making the tackle, but getting in the way of the runner and forcing him to reroute and break down the play. He has the super-freak athletic skills of a Julius Peppers, has a little more size (at least to my eye, I didn't check out their stats) and has a motor that never stops going. He showed some real good technique on one of his rushes, which is very promising for someone with little college playing experience and only one year in the pros. To make things even more encouraging, he was going against Jordan Gross, who is no slouch, a 9 year veteran with two pro bowls on his resume, including last year where he started at LT.
Time to trade Osi
I don't know if Osi watched this game, but he may be more motivated to get back into camp, because based on last night's performance, he may have lost his starting job on his own team. He may think he's a top 5 DE in the NFL, but that must mean that there aren't too many good DEs elsewhere in the NFL, because he just may be the 3rd or 4th best DE on the Giants. The Giants moved Kiwanuka to LB in order to get their best athletes on the field and to break up the 4 player logjam at DE, with Tuck, Osi, JPP and Kiwanuka. That's a fine sentiment, but I have a better plan. If I were the Giants, I would find a LB on the team - Kruzlick, Jones, Sintim, Dillard, Tracy, anybody.... and move Kiwanuka back to his natural DE position. To break the logjam at DE, trade Osi for as much as you can get - high draft choice, or maybe some offensive talent to put around Eli and perk up that side of the ball.
Later in the week I will do a slightly more detailed, play-by-play analysis of the game.