Eli Manning, Giants Searching For ‘Identity'; Hakeem Nicks’ Knee A Concern
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – A day after saying his offense did almost nothing in a season-opening loss to the Washington Redskins, Giants coach Tom Coughlin dropped a little more bad news.
Leading receiver Hakeem Nicks suffered a knee injury in the game.
Coughlin was not sure about either the extent of the injury or which knee was hurt, but he said the knee was swollen a day after postgame X-rays were negative.
Nicks caught seven passes for 122 yards in the 28-14 loss, including a 68-yard first-quarter reception that set up Eli Manning’s touchdown run.
Coughlin would not speculate on whether Nicks would be available for Monday night’s home opener against St. Louis. A source told the New York Daily News that Nicks was “OK.”
“I don’t know the answer that,” Coughlin said. “They’re checking all that out.”
The Giants could also use a thorough check of their offense after the unit was shut out in the second half against the Redskins, registering four first downs and a measly 102 yards in offense.
Not only didn’t the offense produce, but the Redskins went ahead for good early in the third quarter when Ryan Kerrigan scored on a 9-yard interception return. New York also was 1 of 10 on third downs, 0 for 1 on fourth down and twice failed on short yardage situations in Washington territory.
To make things worse, placekicker Lawrence Tynes had a 38-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter blocked because he didn’t get it high enough.
“We definitely have some work to do to get where we want offensively,” Coughlin said. “I won’t take anything away from the Redskins, they played hard and they did the things they had to do to win the game but I am disappointed in our ability to not take full advantage of what we had.”
In some ways, it isn’t surprising that the offense struggled. Manning and company were inconsistent in the preseason and that’s the way it played out against Washington.
The revamped offensive line missed some crucial blocks, particularly on a fourth-and-1 from the Washington 31 in the third quarter while down 21-14. New center David Baas failed to get a seal block on Rocky McIntosh and halfback Ahmad Bradshaw was stopped for no gain.
“If we would have blocked it the way we should, it would have been an easy first down,” Pro Bowl guard Chris Snee said.
In the fourth quarter with New York still down a touchdown, Bradshaw lost two yards on a third-and-1 from the Redskins 18. Tynes’ field goal attempt was blocked on the next play.
Manning is aware there are some Giants’ fans ready to call it a season after seeing the team lose to Washington.
“We have to figure out what our identity is going to be,” he said. “It can change each year. You have to see what are we doing well. What’s working and what’s not working as well and figure out what is going to be our style and how are we going to be successful.”
Snee said the line blocked well in the first half, averaging almost 5.0 yards a run. The second half wasn’t good. What bugged Snee was the third-down conversions.
“Ten percent is not very good and that was a problem for us all preseason,” he said. “It’s got to be fixed. We have to stay on the field and convert those third downs.”
Snee added it needs to start happening next week.
“These games are real and we have to win,” he said.
Safety Antrel Rolle, who set up an insurance touchdown for Washington with a foolish unnecessary roughness penalty midway through the fourth quarter, said the Giants need to show a little more urgency.
“I felt like at times we were very flat,” he said. “There’s no focus point on that to say what caused what or what did not. We have to find a way. At the end of the day we definitely have to find our way, have to find our identity. At the end of the day, we’re playing the game of football. There has to be a certain kind of passion about it. There has to be a certain kind of enthusiasm, which this team has.
“We just have to make sure we get back to it.”
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