By Paul Dottino
BALTIMORE – A dress rehearsal for the regular season? Oh boy. It would appear the Giants need to change the script – and in a hurry. Coach Tom Coughlin was not pleased by what he saw in the 24-10 loss to the Ravens, who appeared to be in mid-season form.
“I’m disappointed in our play,” Coughlin said. “Some people played well, played hard. We just didn’t have enough. I was looking for more energy, more…the number one objective is execution, which absolutely we didn’t get. There’s no excuse for it. They played well, particularly in the first half and we didn’t. We had some chances. We had a couple opportunities, but overall a couple of individuals played well but not enough. We need to see a lot out of this group in the next 15 days.”
The Giants must trim five from their roster by Tuesday and go from 75 to 53 by Saturday. And don’t be surprised if they’re scanning the waiver wire to grab somebody from the outside.
Let’s review the three things we told you to look for:
1. The quarterbacks. Eli Manning’s first game action in two weeks produced a lackluster performance that fit in with the rest of the team. He did not throw the ball very well and didn’t seem in the flow with his receivers, although he also didn’t usually have much time in the pocket. He badly misfired on a deep ball to Steve Smith in the first quarter. Rhett Bomar played the second half and again proved his toughness, taking several hard hits. He admitted that he could have avoided at least a couple of these if he had made the right calls at the line. He also tried to force the ball a few times, given the heat coming his way. On the other hand, Bomar also had two sharp completions to Victor Cruz – a 35-yard sideline route and a 1-yard TD in the back right corner of the end zone.
2. The offensive line. Hope for a reunion of last season’s starting five went out the window earlier in the week when C Shaun O’Hara (ankle) was fitted for a boot. Shortly before kickoff, RT Kareem McKenzie (headache) had to be scratched, leaving LT David Diehl and RG Chris Snee as the only starting lineman in their accustomed spot. RG Rich Seubert was at center with RT William Beatty and LG Guy Whimper. Seubert appeared to do a satisfactory job in the middle. But the line – as a whole – did not provide enough holes to establish a running game nor did it give the quarterbacks must time to throw. In the first quarter, the line crumbled on three straight Ahmad Bradshaw runs for no gain, beginning with a 2nd-and-1 from the Baltimore 15. Specifically, Beatty and Whimper need to show more if they are needed during the regular season.
3. MLB Jonathan Goff and OLB Keith Bulluck. Bulluck played on three of the Ravens’ first four possessions as an outside linebacker or as part of the nickel package. He said he faired well from an endurance standpoint, but the entire first-team defense cannot be pleased by its poor reaction to Baltimore’s no-huddle offense nor Joe Flacco’s ability to hit short passes – specifically to the tight end – at will. Goff played in the middle and on one possession in the nickel. The Ravens took advantage of Goff’s questionable skills in coverage and made him chase guys throughout the first half.