EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — For the past two preseason games, the New York Giants have looked very much like the team that embarrassed the organization at the end of last year, and that is causing some concern.
Blown assignments, mental errors and a little too much freelancing have raised a few eyebrows with the regular-season opener less than two weeks away.
Coming off an 8-8 season and their first non-playoff season since 2004, the Giants (1-2) know it’s time to pick up the tempo.
“It’s not like a light switch were you can turn it on and off,” veteran guard Rich Seubert said. “We need to establish ourselves and get ourselves in the right direction before the season starts. It starts today. We need a good practice and to be flying around.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin actually liked what he saw Monday and rarely lifted his voice.
“Stop letting people loose,” was his only outburst in the two-hour workout at the team’s headquarters in the Meadowlands complex.
The Giants did a lot of that during their 24-10 loss to the Ravens on Saturday night.
The Ravens ran a no-huddle offense and seemed to catch the Giants off guard. Joe Flacco completed 20 of 32 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and the Ravens defense limited New York to 110 total yards, with the Giants’ three points in the opening 30 minutes set up by a late Baltimore turnover.
Safety Deon Grant was upset with the performance, which was reminiscent of late last year when the Giants gave up 85 points in the final two games.
Grant said the mistakes were preventable, noting the defensive backs were not following the calls of coordinator Perry Fewell.
On one play, a defender was supposed to be in press coverage and played off the receiver. On another, a defender was supposed to have inside leverage on the receiver because he had help to the outside. He still let the receiver get inside.
Grant, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, said this year’s defense won’t be anything like last year.
“What happened last week is probably the most we are going to give up and we won’t give up that any more if we go out there and do what we have to do,” he said.
Grant said the Giants need to establish themselves at practice and let it roll into the final preseason game Thursday night against the New England Patriots at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Linebacker Keith Bulluck wasn’t overly concerned about the lackluster results. He said there is talent on the defense and it just has to mesh.
“It’s still preseason. It’s still early. It’s still August,” Bulluck said. “I don’t think that in August you don’t really get too concerned about things. You just figure out and try to pinpoint the problems that you’re having and the things you need to get better on and you come back and you work on them.”
However, he admitted it’s up to the players to hit the books and play better.
“This game, you can’t just turn it on and just figure, ‘OK, Carolina is coming this week so let’s turn it on,'” Bulluck said. “You need to work out all the kinks that you have now. Go full-speed every opportunity you get to practice and hone your craft. So if guys are holding back, it’s going to make for a tough start of the season for them and possibly for our team.”
While the offense played as poorly as the defense in Baltimore, this is a unit that can score. A major part of the problem in the preseason has been injuries on the offensive line, with Seubert (hand), center Shaun O’Hara (ankle) and guard Chris Snee (knee) all missing time.
“We have things we have to fix,” Seubert said. “Everybody as a player needs to improve.”
NOTES: OT Kareem McKenzie (migraine) and Snee (wife in labor) missed practice unexpectedly. … S Michael Johnson (back), DT Chris Canty (groin), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (groin), WR Ramses Barden (back) and RB Danny Ware (concussion) returned to practice. … WR Sinorice Moss was in Philadelphia getting a second opinion on his groin-pelvic injury.
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