Giants vs. Bears: What we learned
The Giants lost to the Bears, in what was the final opportunity for the starters to play significant snaps this preseason, but there was plenty good to take away from that game — as well as a few things that Big Blue didn’t want to see.
Here’s what we saw
1. The rookie has nothing to be worried about
Running back David Wilson ran with the first team all week in practice and was admittedly “very, very nervous” leading up to Friday. But as the game wore on, Wilson proved he’s a more than capable backup to Ahmad Bradshaw, who was still healing from a bruised hand. Wilson led all rushers with 49 yards on just five carries, including a long of 20 yards. Wilson also added a 29-yard reception out of the backfield and acquitted himself nicely in the all-important blitz-pickup phase.
2. Sprain could be a real pain
Cornerback Prince Amukamara made news again this week for all the wrong reason, as he went from being dumped into a cold tub by teammate Jason Pierre-Paul to being carted off the field after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the first quarter. X-rays were negative but as head coach Tom Coughlin noted, a high ankle sprain “can be more challenging for cornerbacks [because] those athletes need to run full out, stop on a dime, change direction instantly. … So there really is no timetable for Prince.”
3. Secondary depth a concern
Amukamara’s injury adds stress to a secondary that is already dealing with maladies and underperformance. Terrell Thomas is still trying to work through an aggravated ACL, while Michael Coe was dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him out of practice prior to the Bears game. Coe did play on Friday and actually earned rave reviews from Coughlin. The struggles included Bruce Johnson, who was targeted on both of Chicago’s touchdown passes in the first half once Amukamara went down. Coughlin hopes the coaching staff fixes Johnson’s confidence, as he’s now very much needed to help solidify the unit.
“We’ve all tried to encourage Bruce to engage and make some plays, to let us see some positive things here to move forward,” Coughlin said. “We’ve challenged him to play tighter coverage, even when it’s zone. … There’s a lot of challenging going on.”
4. Manning back on pace
Quarterback Eli Manning was very efficient, likely ending any stress Giants’ fans had over his slow start in the first two preseason games. Manning only played the first half, but that’s all he needed, as he carved up the vaunted Bears’ defense (17-of-21 for 148 yards and a touchdown), hitting seven different targets. Manning completed an incredible 81 percent but that number could’ve been even higher as two of his passes weren’t out-right drops, including a peculiar one by star wideout Victor Cruz in the first quarter. Manning will most likely only play one series against New England in the preseason finale Wednesday, so his performance was needed reassurance to Giants’ fans that their signal caller is still elite.
5. Third phase could really be special
Although Coughlin said special teams made some “foolish mistakes” against the Bears, even he marveled at the potential of this unit, particularly the young talent. Running back Da’Rel Scott blocked a punt which was recovered by Greg Jones with 1:27 remaining in the first half, leading to a 1-yard touchdown run from Andre Brown. Wideout David Douglas, a camp favorite due to his spectacular plays in practice, also made good with a swift 28-yard kickoff return. He also had a nifty 37-yard punt return that was ultimately called back due to a holding call. Douglas even made the coaches take notice that he could be more than just a special teams ace by adding a nice 36-yard catch and run on third-and-13 that was ultimately negated by a Mitch Petrus holding penalty.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.