It was a start. And that’s about it.
There is only so much to take away from the Giants’ 23-21 win over the Patriots in Thursday’s preseason opener — a thriller as preseason openers go. But they did look competent. Which is an accomplishment for head coach Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen given how incompetent this team has been in recent seasons.
The offense didn’t fall flat on its face. But it was playing against the Patriots’ backups. The starting defense struggled a bit, especially in coverage. But what did you expect after dumping James Bradberry and Logan Ryan for nothing? And the special teams looked sloppy until Graham Gano’s walk-off field goal. It was about what you expected, maybe a smidge better.
The next two preseason games will tell us more. But not necessarily that much more. And the fact remains this is a bad roster with a tricky schedule, and the national optimism for the Giants seems pretty unfounded locally. Here are some quick thoughts coming out of the first preseason game:
Kadarius Toney. The guy is officially injury-prone. There is no other conclusion. The Giants have been incredibly cautious with Toney this preseason (and during the offseason program). And he still couldn’t be available for this game. Toney may have game-breaking ability. And the new staff appears to have gotten through to him and eliminated the drama that plagued him as a rookie. But if he can’t stay on the field, his ability does not do much for the Giants. They have to be very concerned.
Kenny Golladay. Is he is determined to make the contract Dave Gettleman gave him look as horrible as humanly possible? The Giants likely score a touchdown on the opening drive if not for his bad drop inside the 5-yard line. And Golladay appeared to quit on the route/run the wrong one earlier in the series. Jones’ pass may not have been catchable regardless, but it was hard to tell for sure based on the TV copy. This is what happens when you let a desperate general manager make a foolish win-now signing. Golladay has done nothing to suggest he will ever make an impact here. In fact, the argument for Schoen to eat a significant dead money hit and cut him after this season continues to grow.
Darius Slayton. His busy night with the starters felt like a showcase effort more than a sign he will have a role. The Giants are likely going to cut Slayton (and save $2.5 million in cap space), so they might as well try to get a draft pick for him first.
A general thought on the receivers. One of the reasons we believe Jones is doomed: This receiving corps. It’s unproductive and unreliable. Not exactly what you want when your career is at stake. Even if the protection is better and Saquon Barkley stays healthy, Jones can only do so much with these wideouts. He’s not just capable of elevating them, either.
And the offensive line. The unit had a good first drive. But when Shane Lemieux left with a toe injury and left tackle Andrew Thomas came out, it was pretty leaky. And then Jamil Douglas got hurt. Schoen did what he could to improve the group in the offseason, but the guys he added are serviceable, not special. And if the depth takes hits, the Giants will be right back where they started. Another factor working against Jones.
This and that. Darrian Beavers flew around. … Richie James and Collin Johnson flashed. But that fumble will not help Johnson. … Gary Brightwell runs hard. … Aaron Robinson did not impress. … I think Tyrod Taylor starts a game this season. And is the Week 1 starter in 2023. … Again, how is this defense going to be that much better after letting arguably the two best players walk away for free?
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]