WHAT IT MEANS: Nothing really. It’s only the preseason opener but we got our first glimpse at the Giants and there were some things to like (Jason Pierre-Paul) and some things that haven’t changed a whole lot (special teams coverage and return game). Kicker Lawrence Tynes also suffered a thigh injury, and we'll have to see how bad it is. Here’s a few things we noticed tonight:
HERE WE GO AGAIN: The Giants' special teams struggled again. Tynes got injured on a blocked field goal, suffering what the team says is a thigh contusion. He missed three field goals in all, from 56, 37 and 44 yards out. The 44-yarder was the one that was blocked. A Panther ran into Tynes, striking his thigh with the helmet. Tynes eventually got up and walked off under his own power to the locker room. He finished 1-for-4 on the night.
The punting wasn’t bad as Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford took turns. But the coverage left a lot to be desired. As for the return game, third-round pick Jerrel Jernigan returned kickoffs and punts for the first team and did very little.
The Giants did use a few of their rookies on coverage, so there is a lot to improve on. We’ll see what happens with Tynes.
DOWN WITH JPP: No Osi Umenyiora? No problem. If there was a positive with Umenyiora sitting out practices, it had to be Jason Pierre-Paul getting first-team reps at defensive end.
Pierre-Paul collected two sacks in his limited action and looked like a force. On one play, he probably was held by a Panthers offensive lineman before collecting a sack on the very next play.
“I thought I played pretty good,” Pierre-Paul said in quotes distributed by the team during the game. “I knew what I was supposed to do and I was just out there executing. I came out, and I wasn't nervous. I knew the play calls, and I caught on very well. I just felt good. It felt very good. I knew what I was doing.”
Pierre-Paul said he would be faster this season and so far, he might be right.
THE OFFENSE: The offense looked a bit rusty. Eli Manning completed 4-of-9 passes for 36 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 21 yards on five carries.
The first-team offense played through the first drive of the second quarter and failed to register a first down, going 0-for-5.
“We didn't get off to a great start,” Manning said. “We didn't make any critical mistakes, didn't turn the ball over, so those are positives. But we were never able to get into a great rhythm. We missed a few opportunities and made a couple mental mistakes. Those are the things that kept us from keeping drives alive."
A FEWELL OBSERVATIONS: It’s still early but here’s a few things we noticed on defense:
Mathias Kiwanuka played the first two downs as a linebacker as advertised but was moved to defensive end often on third downs with Justin Tuck moving inside. We’ll have to see what happens when Osi comes back.
The Giants did the same with their second team, moving linebacker Adrian Tracy to defensive end, his college position, on third downs as well.
They played Jonathan Goff and Michael Boley on passing downs with first team and Boley came up with a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown to put the Giants up 7-0 with 12:57 to go in the first quarter.
But after Tynes missed a 56-yard field goal attempt, the defense gave up a touchdown, allowing Carolina to go 54 yards on three plays in 58 seconds. Tight end Greg Olsen caught an 18-yard touchdown. The former Bears tight end had three receptions for 58 yards in the first half.
POSITION BATTLES: It’s still very early but Domenik Hixon got the first crack at third wide receiver. He caught three passes on one drive from backup QB Sage Rosenfels. Hixon had four catches for 49 yards in his first preseason game since blowing out his ACL in a practice last summer. Victor Cruz, who could be Hixon’s primary challenger at the moment, finished with one reception for 10 yards. He did have a nice hit while covering on a punt.
Rosenfels got the first crack to show what he has for the backup quarterback spot as David Carr sat out this game with his shot coming in the second preseason game.
Rosenfels finished 13-for-19 for 129 yards.
INACTIVES: TE Travis Beckum, WR Ramses Barden, C Adam Koets, DE Osi Umenyiora, LB Clint Sintim, WR Samuel Giguere, S Brian Jackson, CB Joe Burnett and C Jim Cordle were inactive.