In lieu of exhibition games, the New York Giants have been having intra-squad scrimmages with live tackling to simulate game action. The first was held on August 21st. The second, held this past Friday, was televised by NBC 4 in New York on tape delay Saturday (highlights can be seen on the Giants’ Youtube channel). Giants fans shouldn’t draw any conclusions from what they watched. Every year, people mock the preseason for being pointless and devoid of meaning. An instra-squad scrimmage is even less elucidating. Given this was the first Giants football we’ve seen since last December, however, it’s impossible to not react a least a bit. So, here are some heavily salt-grained takeaways from the Giants’ televised intra-squad scrimmage.
Don’t Give Up on Lorenzo Carter Just Yet
If they gave an MVP award for Friday’s scrimmage, it would’ve been handed to Carter. The 2018 third-round pick registered four sacks, displaying his length, explosiveness and an improved skill-set. Carter has become somewhat of a forgotten man at outside linebacker. Much more hype has surrounded second-year player Oshane Ximines. Fans are thrilled Markus Golden returned following last year’s 10-sack performance. Even free agent signing Kyler Fackrell has generated more buzz. Carter had garnered some high hopes when he tallied four sacks in limited snaps his rookie season. His progress stagnated as a sophomore, though, managing only four and a half sacks as a full-time starter. Friday nights’s performance doesn’t mean the Georgia product has finally turned the corner. But it shows he can still become the player New York envisioned when they drafted him.
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The Offensive Line is a Work in Progress
The offensive line has been a source of anxiety for Giants fans going on a decade now. This offseason, general manager Dave Gettleman made it a priority, declaring he wanted to fix the unit “once and for all.” Gettleman was true to his word, drafting three o-lineman including left tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth-overall pick. While it’s a relief to know the future of the position group is finally on the roster, Friday night was a reminder that they’re still young. There are still a lot of kinks to be worked out.
The starting unit run blocked fairly well, but surrendered pressure off the edge on quarterback Daniel Jones. As a rookie, Thomas should be expected to experience growing pains, and presumed starting right tackle Cameron Fleming has been a career backup. Gettleman may have fixed the offensive line once and for all, but it’ll take some time to be fully operational.
Don’t Panic About the Offense
Watching Saturday night, it became apparent that the scrimmage rules largely favored the defense. Plays were often blown dead when a ball carrier was merely touched, and it was difficult for the offense to gain any momentum with so many premature whistles. For instance, Carter’s first sack came when he breezed around the edge and got a finger on Jones. In a regular game, the quarterback would likely have been able to step up in the pocket to continue the play.
Jones didn’t look very sharp, although his final unofficial numbers (8-12 for 84 yards) weren’t too bad. He also got sacked four times and fumbled once, which is obviously a concern considering he fumbled 18 times last season. But don’t worry too much about the offense’s struggles. The risk-averse nature of the scrimmage gave an advantage to the defense.