There were both positive and negative takeaways from the New York Giants 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—The Pat Shurmur era didn’t begin as he would have liked as his team fell to the Cleveland Browns 20-10 on Thursday night in their preseason opener at MetLife Stadium.
Although the New York Giants didn’t get the win, head coach Pat Shurmur has a better assessment of where his team is after lining up against an opponent.
Shurmur spoke about this after the game.
“The first one is in the books. I mentioned before the game, it’s important that we learn about our team in these preseason games. You want to win the games, and it’s always the same in the locker room when you don’t win. You get that feeling of disappointment that you didn’t win the game, but on the flip side, there were moments, there were stretches of this game that were positive, there were things that we did that were positive.
“Running the ball, I wanted to run the ball especially early with Saquon to kind of get him going, I thought he had some nice runs in there. And throughout the game, I thought our running backs did a good job. I thought we did a good job run blocking, but we had a stretch there in the middle of the game where we didn’t get it done in the passing game and I was trying to throw the ball a little more than the law allows with Davis Webb in there. I thought our run defense was good and then I told the team, we were tight in coverage, but at times we just didn’t make enough plays.”
Here are positives and negatives from the Giants first preseason game.
The young running backs
Saquon Barkley’s Giants career began with a bang as he rushed the ball 39 years down the right sideline. Barkley made two shifty moves two elude two defenders and showed why he was the best running back in this draft class.
Barkley finished the evening with 43 yards on four carries.
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 9, 2018
Barkley wasn’t the only young running back that left a positive mark on Thursday night.
Undrafted rookie Robert Martin carried the ball five times for 39 yards and also caught two passes for 11 yards. Jalen Simmons carried the seven times for 38 yards and scored the Giants lone touchdown in the third quarter. He also caught one pass for six yards.
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 10, 2018
Anytime you play a game and come away without any significant injuries, you’re fortunate, and that was the case for the Giants on Thursday night as no significant injuries were reported.
Six players did not suit up on Thursday including defensive backs William Gay, Curtis Riley, and Donte Deayon, but it’s expected they’ll return to action shortly.
The run defense
The Giants run defense was stout all night long as they held the Browns ground game to 50 yards on 33 carries.
To say Davis Webb struggled would be an understatement. His first six passes were incomplete and he finished the game completing 9-of-22 passes for 70 yards.
Much was expected of Webb tonight since this was the first time he would play in an NFL game in nearly a year, and his performance was a disappointment.
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) August 10, 2018
The pass defense
Last season, the Giants finished with the 31st ranked pass defense and showed no improvement on Thursday night as they surrendered 333 receiving yards to Browns pass catchers.
Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield had a field day with the Giants secondary completing 16-of-25 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. They also gave up two touchdowns to tight end David Njoku and giving up touchdowns to tight ends has long been an Achilles heel for the Giants.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 10, 2018
Lack of a pass rush
The defense probably kept their blitz schemes vanilla since this is the preseason, but you can bet that James Bettcher was hoping his team would have more than 1 sack against the Browns. It’s not only that they only came away with one sack, Browns quarterbacks had all day to throw the ball on most downs.
The New York Giants will look to work on the negatives on Sunday when they resume practice before traveling to Detroit for joint practices against the Lions.