By: Ian Logue
Last night got off to a shaky start, but despite their struggles defensively last night’s game really wasn’t that bad. Obviously it’s been a tough week after they just lost starting cornerback Leigh Bodden for the season, which thrust Devin McCourty to the top of the depth chart. The rookie actually had a decent night, and even though they’re still trying to get some of the younger guys more comfortable with their defensive scheme, there were others who also played surprisingly well.
Despite that first drive where the Giants went down the field and scored that first touchdown, we saw somewhat last night that they appeared to have that “bend don’t break” philosophy on defense – which allowed them to hold New York to Field goals for the next couple of drives. Given the fact that they’re in good shape offensively I like their chances in at least being able to outscore whoever they’re playing, and by the time they start facing tougher teams they’ll improve even more and will hopefully tighten things up a bit more.
Positives from Thursday Night:
Serigio Brown – Made a fantastic tackle to start the game on the opening kickoff, and also had another early in the second quarter where he wrapped up someone else and stopped them from gaining a yard on the play. Appears to be a guy who really wanted to earn a role last night.
Rookie CB Devin McCourty played pretty well last night against the Giants. (PHOTO: Icon/SMI)
Devin McCourty – The rookie stepped up Thursday night and really played surprisingly well. The most impressive thing about McCourty is he may be one of the better open field tacklers we’ve seen at that position in quite some time, as he made one early on last night, and has made others during the preseason. It’s an impressive trait, and a rare one in this era where it seems that a lot of the cornerbacks in this league don’t tend to do that as well. He also made another good read to stop a run early on where he came up and made the tackle.
Thomas Clayton Had a 56 yard return on the Patriots first offensive possession to help set up a touchdown by New England.
Rob Gronkowski – Made a great touchdown grab where he reached back and made the reception despite having a Giants defender there to try and rip it away from him. He’s had a great preseason, and looks to be quite a red zone target this season.
Brian Hoyer – Had a surprisingly good night. Threw one pass right in between three defenders to tight end Rob Myers. Did throw a pick, but overall made some good decisions and you have to feel confident in him – although let’s just hope last night was the final time he’ll play this season.
Zoltan Mesko – Had a good night, dropping a punt inside the 10, and another right around there. He’s more or less proven this preseason that he’s really going to help make a difference with in the field position battle this year.
Brandon Tate – It’s pretty clear he’s going to be the return guy this year, especially now that McCourty is going to be starting on defense at cornerback. He had another great punt return Thursday night, and also had one reception for 12 yards. I’m excited to see how he does this year as he appears to be quite a threat as a return man.
Negatives From Thursday Night:
Derrick Burgess – Still seems like he’s struggling with the scheme, which makes sense since he missed nearly the entire camp. The only good thing is he showed some moments of potential, which hopefully will mean we’ll see him improve as he gets more live reps.
Alge Crumpler – made an uncharacteristic drop on the Patriots’ first drive. Not exactly something you want to see in the final game of the year, especially when you’re coming off a week where they got off to a slow start offensively. It was nice to see Brady go back to him two plays later where he picked up 22 yards to help set up their first touchdown. Unfortunately he also had another bad moment where he and Brady were not on the same page on a route down inside the endzone.
Tom Brady – Wasn’t himself Thursday night. He caught a break after he didn’t see a defender on one pass that luckily fell incomplete, but three plays later he grossly underthrew Randy Moss on a deep ball that was intercepted. He finished just 4-of-8 for 51-yards and a touchdown.
Fred Taylor – Four rushes, five yards. You generally don’t want to finish a preseason that way, although overall he’s had a good training camp, so I would have to believe he’ll be O.K.
Kevin Faulk – Made an uncharacteristic mental error after he tried to make a block after signaling for a fair catch. Hard to say anything negative about him otherwise – especially when he was the only one of the six runningbacks to have a big carry. Faulk had one rush for 9-yards, which was the largest gain of the night for any of the runningbacks.
So while they had some difficulty last night, I’d have to say they played pretty well. Now it’s time to start focusing on the Cincinnati Bengals in two weeks, and while it was fun watching some of the younger guys again this preseason, I’m definitely ready for 2010 to finally kick off.