The preseason finally got under way, and as to be expected, it was sloppy and just a little bit boring as the Panthers beat the Giants 20-10
Giants started the game off in grand fashion, with Michael Boley intercepting a Jimmy Clausen pass and returning it 56 yards for the touchdown. Clausen settled down a bit, and threw an 18 yard strike to Greg Olsen.
The Giants and Panthers then exchanged field goals, with the Panthers hitting one more, and going into the half leading 13-10.
After a scoreless 3rd, Panthers scored in the 4th, as Derek Anderson connected with Kealoha Pilares on a 35 yard score, to make it 20-10.
First team defense saw some star performances but a pretty poor collective performance. Jason Pierre-Paul looked like a star, with two sacks and 7 tackles. Michael Boley returned an interception for a touchdown. Still, they let up too many big plays and too many missed tackles.
Some good performances were had by Alex Hall, Adrian Tracy and Brian Witherspoon. Witherspoon looked terrific at corner, and may now have the inside track to be the 4th corner.
Aaron Ross looked lost out there, missing tackles and getting beat in coverage. Ross is going to have to be an important part of this defense. With the Giants planning to move Thomas inside to safety on third downs, Ross needs to hold his own as a corner. If not, Giants could be in serious trouble.
First team offense did nothing. Jacobs and Bradshaw had a few nice runs, but they just didn’t move the ball. 2nd team was a bit better. Hixon had a bunch of nice catches, and Devin Thomas played well. Rosenfels looked pretty good, played well enough to be the backup. Ryan Perriloux impressed with a strong arm. DJ Ware didn’t distinguish himself as the third running back, but no one else moved ahead of him.
I think Eli summed up the offense best:
“We didn’t get off to a great start. We were never able to get into a great rhythm. We made a couple of mental mistakes.”
Special teams was ugly. Other than good punting performances from Dodge and Weatherford, it was not pretty. Coverage was awful. Missed tackles all the way around. Only good play was by Victor Cruz, who made a nice tackle. Tynes missed two field goals, had one blocked, and came up hurt on one. The Giants are calling it a thigh contusion. You would think, after Tynes took a helmet to his thigh. Ouch. Jernigan did nothing on returns.
For those interested, Cam Newton showed off his big arm. Not always accurate, but incredible strength. He has all the talent. Needs time, of course, but he has a chance to get there.
No rookies really stood out. Tyler Sash got beat on a few plays, but had a forced fumble. Austin, Jernigan, Brewer and the linebackers didn’t really do anything. But it’s early.
It’s the first game of preseason, so you can’t expect the world. It sure looked like the first game of preseason. Shaky. Out of sync. Poor fundamentals. Good individual performances gives us hope. But lack of tackling, and so many missed tackles, are very concerning. You never want to put too much stock in preseason games. But, you look for trends. And trends from last year continued. Missed tackles, poor special teams coverage, drives with nothing doing on offense, those are concerning trends.