The New York Giants defeated the Carolina Panthers, 21-19, in their preseason meeting at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Friday night.
It was an impressive showing for the first-team units, especially on offense, and provides the Giants a lot to build upon entering the final week of the preseason.
Here are seven takeaways from the Giants’ Week 2 preseason dub.
Daniel Jones is poised for his breakout season
Daniel Jones started the game and drove the Giants 75 yards on 10 plays, completing eight of nine passes to four different receivers for 69 yards and a touchdown. He also had a completion to rookie Jalin Hyatt that was called back due to a penalty.
Jones looked completely in control of the offense in his second season and used his legs just once in the possession rushing for a six-yard gain.
There is no doubt that Jones appears to be poised for a much different, much more productive season than his first four, when he had to deal with rotating coaches and systems.
Waller makes the difference
Tight end Darren Waller reeled in three of four targets for 30 yards on the Giants’ first drive and then played decoy in the red zone while fellow tight end Daniel Bellinger vultured the score.
The offense appeared to be wide open and efficient with Waller drawing attention from multiple defenders. With that in play, Jones was able to spread the football around to the other skill players without issue.
Offensive line concerns
The good news is that rookie center John Michael Schmitz played well again and we got to see his primary backup — free agent Sean Harlow — for the first time in a large sample.
With center hopefully taken care of, the Giants have to work on the guard positions, especially the left side, where they are still holding tryouts for.
Right tackle Evan Neal appeared to be a bit out of sorts, allowing a sack to the Panthers’ backups but he has missed several weeks with a concussion, so there’s rust there.
Rookies looking good
Giants general manager Joe Schoen had to be proud of the play of his rookie class on Friday night. Jalin Hyatt scored an easy touchdown and running back Eric Gray battled for a difficult one.
Defensive tackle Jordon Riley stood out again, as did Schmitz, and the two rookie cornerbacks — Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III — had strong showings again.
Friday night was a bit of a coming-out party for safety Gervarrius Owens, who played a team-high 62 percent of the defensive snaps and finished the game with a team-high seven total tackles and a pass defensed.
Inside linebacker competition
The Giants began the game with five defensive backs on the field, so the only middle linebacker they needed was Bobby Okereke, who put in a solid performance.
The other inside position was split equitably throughout the game with Micah McFadden getting 16 snaps and Darrian Beavers playing 19.
Right now, McFadden might have the inside track on the job but Beavers looked just as capable during his time on the field. It’s very possible that neither wins the job and they both play this season.
No injuries in the game
Neither team reported any injuries in the game, which is rare but welcomed.
The Giants are healthy now going into their final preseason game against the Jets next Saturday.
They still have wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and cornerback Aaron Robinson on the PUP list. Wan’Dale is said to be close to returning but there’s little said about Aaron.
10 penalties are unacceptable
The Giants were penalized 10 times for 82 yards. They were lucky those penalties didn’t hurt too much.
Head coach Brian Daboll wasn’t pleased about it but knows it’s still the reason and there’s time to clean things up.
“Not good,” he told reporters after the game. “Penalties usually continue drives.”
“Those pre-snap and post-snap ones are the ones you want to try to avoid,” he continued. “You’re going to have penalties in this game. You’re going to have physical penalties where things happen with a hold or something like that. But any pre-snap stuff where you can control it or post-snap stuff, those are the ones you try to fix. I think we had quite a bit of penalties today. Usually, that’s what it is early on, but you still certainly don’t want those.”