NY Giants, Jets Address Concerns After First Game
There was a ton of hype going into the first preseason for the New York Giants and New York Jets last Monday night. The New Meadowlands Stadium was open for their first even football game, and filled to a capacity crowd of 82,000 fans soaking up the new atmosphere.
And yes there was an exhibition game to be played, which the Giants had scored three second half touchdowns to take the New York bragging rights in a 31-16 win. There was plenty of excitement when Giants QB Eli Manning was slammed to the ground by Jets LB Calvin Pace in the second quarter which caused the Super Bowl winning QB to miss the rest of the game with a three-inch laceration.
But once the final whistle blew, it wasn’t wins or losses in the standings that were important to Giants coach Tom Coughlin or Jets coach Rex Ryan. The performances both teams displayed on Monday night was a bit uneven, despite some good showing by the Jets first team defense, and Giants WR Victor Cruz’ three-touchdown show in the second half.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Coughlin said after the game. “I thought we got better as the game went along. Our ones didn’t play all that well and we had a little trouble getting the ball back in the first half. We just hung in there. We were plusthree in turnovers and that was a big factor in the game.”
Coughlin admitted his first team offense was pushed back by the suffocating Jets defense. Even without holdout CB Darrelle Revis on the field, the Jets created blitz packages and made enough run stuffing plays to disrupt the Giants offensive rhythm.
The Giants defense struggled at times, but rookies, Jason Pierre Paul and Linval Joseph impressed in their short time on the field. Injuries are a concern for the Giants. Manning will miss game on Saturday night at home against Pittsburgh. Backup QB Jim Sorgi suffered rib and shoulder injuries which may cause Rhett Bomar to start.
Ryan was impressed with his Hard Knocks team in the first half. QB Mark Sanchez bounced back strong from a first drive Giants interception to lead a touchdown scoring drive. CB Antonio Cromartie played well on the left side of the Jets defense, along with DT Kris Jenkins as he moved well after knee surgery knocked out him out last season.
It was the second unit in the second half that displeased Ryan the most. Cruz, an undrafted rookie from UMASS, was a one man dynamo in hauling his three touchdown passes from backup QB Jim Sorgi. Ryan wasn’t happy with his defensive backups, but at least he could joke about it after the game.
“I was mentioning to (Giants coach) Tom Coughlin today that, ‘I don’t know who this No. 3 (wide receiver Victor Cruz) is, but he’s pretty darn good,” Ryan said. “So I hope they cut him. I know one team that would be ready to sign him, and that’d be us (laughter).”
The Jets offense didn’t move the ball only put up a field goal in the second half. Ryan is looking for his backups to do a 180 degree turn in terms of performance and is expected to play for three quarters of the game at Carolina on Sunday night.
“As happy I was with the way our (starters) played, I was totally disappointed with the way our twos (played),” Ryan said. “These are some guys that we’re counting on to give us good depth and guys that are going to have to play, and we got whipped by (the Giants). There’s no question about it.”