We made it to the last week of preseason. It seems like just yesterday we were all on here jawing about the draft picks and dying for training camp to start. Now we're about two weeks away from a homecoming of sorts at the Giants house , which we've been eagerly anticipating as much as New York. So from the preseason thus far what can we take away from it? Our Defense is playing lights out , our special teams is a roller coaster, and our offense needs a shot of adrenaline to the chest Pulp Fiction style right? Considering the next game is just going to be for the bubble players basically our starters have gotten there game time in, so with how much certainty can we say that our boys are ready to take the field during the regular season? Maybe more than we think.
The Special teams have indeed been a roller coaster ride. We went from fumbling almost every punt to having a couple nice returns and Mike Goodson taking it to the house the next game on a kickoff. So who can we expect to show up? We have been giving Armanti Edwards alot of time as a punt returner, and i hate to say it ; but I don't think throwing him to the wolves during kick returns is gonna help him develop any quicker. I don't think thats going to be his high point. We need to chill out on Edwards returning punts and focus on him becoming a dynamic wideout. Which at the looks of it is just over the horizon. So who , Mr. Clawed , should be returning kicks? A now familar face in Captain Munnerlyn and Trent Guy. Second year guy Captain Munnerlyn now has a year under his belt and some experience at returning kicks, and experience is somthing that is in short demand this season. Trent Guy has the potential to be an dependable punt returner but as with everything in sports only time will tell. Between those two and Mike Goodson thrown in the mix as a variable, this special teams should be on track for a good year.
Now the Defense. First let me take you back to last season. This is my hypothesis about what is going on. We bring in Ron Meeks and everyone is either claiming he's the savior or they're up in arms angry about it. He brought the Tampa 2 scheme to Carolina and everyone was nervous. I remember watching the first half of the season and thinking the whole team just looked out of sync. The Defense looked lost at times. Then I bring you back to week 8 in Arizona , almost exactly midseason. 5 interceptions and one Forced Fumble. It was like we could literally see the light bulbs coming on over their helmets. We heard a collective "Oh...I get it now". And they finished the season holding some of the best QB's in the league to just one touchdown the whole game. (I.E. Manning , Farve) Once they understood the scheme..they flourished last year. Now, Couple that with dropping deadweight in the offseason and replacing it with a group of guys that have more hunger for it than a certain number 90 had on a good day and they may have been building a monster behind closed doors here. This may not be a mirage nor a mistake. Ron Meeks coached two superbowl winning defenses..so he knows a thing or two about defense. Add some veteran leadership with a bunch of young, talented but most importantly hungry players and our defense might be the high point on our team this year.
Finally the Offense. As our defense is topping charts in each category , the offense has zeros across the board. Most people would hit the panic button right about now but have some faith. Though the production has not been there we have moved the ball well. 483 passing yards, 293 rushing yards and 38 first downs. They've been airing the ball out all preseason trying to test the QB's and the wide receivers to solidify who has what job, but everyone knows thats not the Panthers. During the regular season we can take the attempts and turn them completely around. We're gonna run it twice as much. Hopefully Jeff Otah will be back moving people And come opening day we'll all be able to enjoy a heaping bowl of JStew, which will complete our offense.
As for the Quarterbacks both Matt and Jimmy deserve to be on the roster. Matt has never really done anything in preason anyway , and He has produced fairly well thus far. He has moved the ball consistently though there have been alot of O-line Penalties. Considering the inexperience at wide receiver I think all the Quarterbacks are withering the storm pretty well. I think one of our other quarterbacks should be turned into draft picks from somewhere but I digress. Matt and Jimmy have basically shown us that the QB position is Inexperienced..but solid.
The Wideout situation is quite frankly frightening me but I'm hoping its just preseason. Granted we are a couple days away from the clock striking 89, a second receiver has yet to emerge from the rubble. Armanti Edwards leads the team in receptions with 7 (dynamic wideout..I told you) followed by Dante Rosario, David Gettis and Dwayne Jarrett each with 5 receptions. That's not particularly good. We need someone to sparkle soon so we have a viable threat to draw defenders off of Smitty and vice versa. But we need not fret too much over this because like I mentioned before, we wont be throwing it like we are now. If someone can emerge as a favorable number 2 we have plenty of young talent that will grow into stars, like Gettis, Edwards and Lafell.
Overall I don't think the picture is as grim as some portray it to be. Our special teams is young but have guys that can lead them. Our defense seems faster to the ball than they've been in years and I don't think we need to call in John Travolta with the shot for our offense just yet. When the regular season rolls around I think they will be clicking on all cylinders. A few guys are in contract years and still more are just fighting for their job, so people are gonna start showing up. I think we'll be just fine. Remember that regular season is, quite literally, a whole different ball game.