The Giants rallied for 27 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Colts, 27-26, in their third preseason game. But it was mostly what happened in the first half which will prove to be of interest going forward.
New York has had an extra week to get comfortable in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new scheme, but the same old story remains. Eli Manning and crew just look lost.
Next week’s second-to-last preseason game against the Jets will be the final dress rehearsal for Week 1, with the final preseason game traditionally a chance to rest anyone who matters. In other words, time is very quickly dwindling for the first-team offense to get things right.
Metro takes a look at three things we learned from the Giants’ contest in Indianapolis.
1. Manning is a mess
Giants signal caller Eli Manning didn’t just look bad against the Colts, he looked downright awful. Last week’s odd 0-for-2 performance probably said more about McAdoo’s play calling than Manning’s comfort in the offense. But Saturday night’s 1-for-7 outing, with no scoring drives, was scary. And it was even worse than the statistics indicate. The only drive Manning moved the ball came late in the first quarter. But that drive looked like it ended on an underthrown ball picked off by Darius Butler, only to have it called back on a questionable illegal contact penalty away from the interception. Manning finally got to take a deep shot on the same drive, and Victor Cruz came down with it on the best-looking throw Manning has had all preseason. Of course, Cruz fumbled and the play was nullified by another defensive holding call. Manning should play into the second half against the Jets. If he doesn’t look solid against a good Jets defensive, it’s officially time to start panicking for Week 1.
2. Kennard takes charge
The Giants are going to have a good problem on their hands when linebacker Jon Beason returns from injury. The team really appears to have found something in rookie Devon Kennard. The fifth-round pick from USC has earned rave reviews all training camp and he showed a lot of why on the field Saturday night. He finished with five tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and a QB hit. He was all over the field, especially when he was allowed to play close to the line and cause havoc in the backfield. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, he’s as big as a defensive end, but as mobile as an outside linebacker. The Giants will likely have to rotate Kennard and Jacquian Williams on the outside once Beason returns, but that means both guys should be fresh into the fourth quarter.
3. Nassib shows something
The fourth-round selection of Ryan Nassib last year has always been a head-scratcher. The quarterback received a lot of hype heading into the 2013 draft, but plummeted, and the Giants apparently felt like he had good value so late in the draft. That’s more or less true, but not when you have a franchise quarterback who has never missed a game in his career. Nassib’s rookie season was a complete loss as he barely even played in the preseason and was third string all season. But the second-year pro is showing something this preseason. He led the Giants to the win Saturday night with an excellent 86-yard drive, finding Adrien Robinson on a long fourth-down play and Corey Washington on a jump ball in the end zone. It’s tough to say what Nassib developing into a legitimate prospect means — Manning isn’t going anywhere — but it’s at least nice to see a guy at least proving he has some value when you drafted him in the fourth round.
Follow New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.