The Giants defeated the Jets 31-22 in Thursday’s preseason opener at MetLife Stadium. Overall, the Giants looked to have improved from last year, and have even showed some depth in many positions. Here are my Studs and Duds from Thursday’s game.
QB Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones finished his first career NFL game going 5-5, 67 yards, and one touchdown. Although he would play just one drive in this game before the storm rolled in, Jones had a very impressive drive. Jones was placing the ball well and making tight throws, and making great decisions. Jones ball placement looked like a veteran out there, especially on the touchdown throw.
Jones knew where he wanted to go the entire time and connected with Bennie Fowler III in the back corner of the endzone. The ball placement on that throw was perfect, fitting it over two defenders, and squeezing it in a tight window in the back corner, giving Fowler enough room to keep his feet in bounds to make the play. Jones has a chip on his shoulder from all of the criticism he has received being the 6th overall pick, but he is out here proving the critics wrong. I am excited to see more from him.
CB Corey Ballentine
Corey Ballentine played a great game Thursday, having great coverage against the pass and making plays. One defensive play was overturned with the new pass interference challenge rule, but despite that, Ballentine showed a skill that many corners struggle with, turning their head around to locate the ball. We see it many times, corners are beat on the play and take their eyes off the ball and look solely on the receiver.
One player who did this for the Giants was Eli Apple. It is a bad habit that is hard to break, but seeing Ballentine already possessing the skill is excellent. Ballentine again showed that skill when he intercepted former Giants QB Davis Webb. Ballentine was playing the fly route when Webb delivered the ball on the right sideline. Ballentine kept stride with the receiver and turned his head around just in time to locate the ball, attack it at the highest point, and come down with the interception. The one attribute Ballentine has to work on is tackling, but from what I saw Thursday, Ballentine is going to be a great player for this defense.
WRs T.J. Jones & Reggie White Jr.
Seeing a number 13 jersey running routes and catching passes is a very strange thing, especially when you don’t see the dance moves or the one-handed catches. Reggie White Jr. many times looked like OBJ, making impressive plays, including a great catch near the sideline in traffic. White Jr. also had a big fan section, with chants of “Reggie” roaring through the stadium. He finished the game with 4 catches for 60 yards.
T.J. Jones, who was just signed a week ago, showed many flashes Thursday night. He had a great catch over the middle of the field for a first down from Alex Tanney and had a nice return of 27 yards. The biggest play from him was his touchdown catch from Kyle Lauletta. Lauletta was meant to throw over the top, but he threw a back-shoulder throw in the front corner of the endzone. Jones making an athletic play, readjusted to the ball, came back for it, and came down with the catch in double coverage. Jones finished the game with 6 catches for 72 yards, and one touchdown.
MLB BJ Goodson
Goodson struggled Thursday night. Between missed tackles, and lack of coverage, he had a rough night. Goodson started 13 games last season for the Giants, but found himself slipping on the depth chart this summer, losing a spot to Tae Davis, who had a strong night. Goodson did not look like a former starter last night, and he may find himself as a cut casualty this fall if he does not start to improve.
RB Paul Perkins
Perkins is seeing his first game action since the 2017 season, as he missed all of last year with a pectoral injury. Perkins showed some flashes this summer, but struggled Thursday night. Perkins had 4 rushes for 9 yards, averaging 2.2 yards per carry. He also had a fumble in Giants territory, where the Jets recovered. With the Giants having six running backs on the roster, Perkins will have to fight to keep a roster spot.
Giants Run Game
The entire Giants run game struggled last night, having a total of 40 yards between five players. There was no opportunity for the run game to be established. Much of it was due to the lack of run blocking. Jets defenders were in the back field just after the handoff much of the night. This was a tough game to evaluated some of the running backs due to the lack of opportunity. The best runner of the day was Wayne Gallman who led the team with a solid…13 yards.