By Paul Dottino
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The dust may have cleared over the weekend following the Giants’ preseason opener, a 23-10 road loss at Cincinnati. But so much of the team’s future remains clouded, especially when you consider they lost four defensive backs to injury in the first half of that game.
Let’s review the three things we told you to watch for and how the game might alter your view of these items as the team begins another week of practice at training camp:
THE SAFETY DANCE
The safeties caused a frown, considering rookies Landon Collins (sprained knee) and Mykkele Thompson (ruptured Achilles) were injured — Collins is listed day to day and Thompson was lost for the season.
The Giants signed two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather on Sunday, seeking an experienced player who may be able to provide some instant assistance. Meriweather, known for big hits rather than his coverage skills, has played for the Patriots, Bears and Redskins over eight NFL seasons and was limited to 10 games in Washington because of an injured toe last year. It may be of some benefit for him fitting in that he was a college teammate of MLB Jon Beason at the University of Miami.
Fellow veteran Jeromy Miles, along with the inexperienced Cooper Taylor and Bennett Jackson, each explained the safeties were tentative against the Bengals. It showed — there was some miscommunication, specifically on the Bengals’ early TD throw to Mohamed Sanu. Miles suggested they’ll need more of a learning curve for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s complex scheme but that the unit continues to inch toward reaching that goal. Spags already has instructed them to play more freely, however that may not come until the players feel more comfortable with the playbook. Rookie Justin Currie was around the play a lot late in the game, so let’s see if he injects himself onto the equation this week.
LINING THEM UP
Don’t bother checking with your favorite analytics company – the offensive line did not fare nearly as well as the coaches would have liked, although first-round LT Ereck Flowers did an admirable job for his first pro outing and the interior of the line was able to spring RB Orleans Darkwa for a few powerful runs between the tackles. RG Geoff Schwartz (foot) returned to practice Sunday (and took some snaps at right tackle), saying he doesn’t expect to miss any more time — that would be of some help for a unit that continues to remain unsettled. One thing remains apparent: backup LG Adam Gettis is a feisty player, who makes opponents work to beat him, even if he’s not as physically gifted as them.
There were several flashes along the defensive front. DT Jay Bromley was very active and often forced the play away from him in what may have been his best outing as a pro – it came at an opportune time because fellow DT Markus Kuhn was not as effective as he was during the early part of camp. The defensive ends as a whole also showed plenty of spark, but we’ll single out Owe Odighizuwa, who continues to show more upside each time he’s on the field. The rookie from UCLA has a motor that simply will not quit, no matter how much size he may be giving away at the snap or if he gets caught misreading a play. We’ll also add plaudits for Kerry Wynn, who continues to push for more reps with the starters, showing that he can be an effective run-pass lineman with his relentless pursuit toward the ball.