Giants Vs. Jaguars: Giants Lose Preseason Opener, 32-31

The New York Giants began the preseason portion of their 2012 schedule Friday with a 32-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars

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Giants vs. Jaguars: First Impressions

It was a small sample size of the young talent the defending Super Bowl champions will take into the regular season, but also a microcosm of the trials the New York Giants endured en route to glory. Inconsistencies plagued Big Blue on both sides before their respective games improved.

"We start men, we didn't start very well, but we start," said head coach Tom Coughlin following the Giants' 32-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game they led 24-7.

The defense’s first series was disturbing, as a Jaguars offense led by Blanie Gabbert and without Maurice Jones-Drew pushed around the first team for 13 plays and 89 yards. Second-year cornerback Prince Amukamara was burned twice, the last on a three-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts for the first score of the game.

[Big Blue View: Reaction to the first preseason game]

But with this unit, there’s strength in adversity. Amukamara responded to a sideline lecture from Perry Fewell to show the form of a first-round, shutdown cornerback, one who’s projected to start for the injured Terrell Thomas. Amukamara forced the first of two fumbles that set up two easy scores for the offense.

"I think as a defense we came out a little tentative," Justin Tuck told sideline reporter Howard Cross. "It’s the preseason, and we don’t have a lot of film on this team with their new coaching staff, so I think that’s why we played that way, and they did a great job against us. But then we were able to settle down a little bit and play our game.

"It was big for Prince to force that turnover. I like the way our guys played for this being a first preseason game in these hot Florida conditions. I think our conditioning was good. Guys were flying around the ball. So that's something to build on."

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The champs have depth. D.J. Ware, David Wilson,, Rueben Randle Adrian Tracy, Dwayne Hendricks, Isaiah Stanback and Jayron Hosley all looked real good. There were big problems, however, with the punt return team, as Hosley and Jerrel Jernigan each muffed punts that set up Jaguars touchdowns. In the event of the unthinkable, an injury to Eli Manning, David Carr is a capable Plan B.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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Giants vs. Jaguars Final Score: Giants Lose Preseason Opener, 32-31

The Giants flashed their championship form of last season and unveiled a few gems in an eventual 32-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 preseason debuts for both teams. The success of the starters spilled over to the second unit to where David Carr – not Tim Tebow – began trending over Twitter.

Carr took over for Eli Manning on the Giants’ first offensive possession of the second quarter. Set up at the Jaguars’ 47 thanks to Jason Pierre-Paul’s fumble recovery, Carr needed three plays to hit new tight end Martellus Bennett for a 12-yard score and a 17-7 Giants lead. He finished off another eight-play, 48-yard drive when Isaiah Stanback made a nifty one-hand grab to push New York’s lead to 24-7.

Tebow – the most glorified backup QB in the history of football -- can have the spotlight while Carr (6-of-10 for 48 yards and two TDs) slowly blends back into the background with the Giants’ full confidence in their Plan B. As for Manning, he and the first unit weren’t too shabby either. Manning was 4-of-8 for 60 yards while orchestrating two scoring drives, the last completed with a D.J. Ware two-yard plunge that gave the Giants their first lead.

Bennett led all starters with three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. Victor Cruz caught one pass for 28 yards, but let another slip through his hands. Ramses Barden, starting for Domenik Hixon (hamstring), had one catch for 14 yards.

"I thought the offense did a pretty good job, moved the ball pretty well," Manning said at halftime on the Giants’ TV broadcast. "I would’ve liked to get a couple more touchdowns, but overall I thought we were pretty sharp. (The young WRs) were doing well. They’re catching on tonight. That’s the way we try to practice. … If they’re in there they’ve got to know all my checks, every play we might get to, so they’re getting caught up."

Defensively, the Giants registered six sacks on Jaguars quarterbacks.

What it all means: Everyone is healthy, so if you’re a Giants fan that’s what matters. However, preseason is the time to unearth a few diamonds, and there were rookies and newcomers who boosted their early candidacy to crack the Opening Night roster. There were also, however, the usual array of frustrating mistakes. Two muffed punt returns was the difference in this game.

"Catch a punt, twice," said coach Tom Coughlin, unhappy with sloppy play despite the signs of talent from his youngsters, "and you're not going to be in that position of having to come back at the end."

  • Bennett and Stanback – two former Dallas Cowboys – accounted for two of the Giants’ scores.
  • The Jaguars dissected Prince Amukamara on their first possession in driving 89 yards on 13 plays to grab a 7-0 lead. The television broadcast showed the Giants’ first-round pick last season receiving a lecture from defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. On the next defensive possession, Amukamara forced a fumble that set up Ware’s touchdown.
  • It wasn’t only Amukamara who struggled on that first possession. The Giants first-team defense allowed an offense that last season was last in total yards and tied for 28th in scoring to drive 89 yards on 13 plays. The Jaguars are without starting running back Maurice Jones-Drew (holdout) and are starting the unproven Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.
  • Expect Mark Herzlich to push Chase Blackburn for playing time at middle linebacker and perhaps take away the starter’s position. Herzlich (two tackles) played hard and showed flashes of the projected first-round pick he was before his battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
  • Adrian Tracy was the Giants’ sixth-round pick out of William and Mary in 2010. Drafted as a linebacker, Tracy spent all of last season on the practice squad and was eventually shifted to defensive end. He impressed in his first game, leveling Gabbart and later sacking the Jaguars’ signal caller to force a fumble.
  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley, the 31st-overall pick of the 2012 draft, had his moments. He also muffed a punt return that led to a Jacksonville touchdown at the end of the first half. Safety Will Hill is facing an uphill battle, but had four tackles. He also missed a critical tackle of Keith Toston that resulted in a late TD and the two-point conversion.
  • Rueben Randle (two catches, 27 yards, TD) made the most noise in the battle for playing time at wide receiver. Randle made a nice adjustment to grab Ryan Perrilloux’s fade pass early in the fourth. Like Hosley, Jerrel Jernigan fumbled a punt that resulted in a turnover inside the Giants’ 10.
  • First-round pick David Wilson ran for 43 yards on seven carries (and caught two passes for 26 yards), including an impressive 26-yard sprint late in the third quarter, the Giants’ longest run of the night and. Big Blue was dead last in 2011 in rushing average (3.5) and YPG (89.2). Wilson has talent to help dramatically improve those numbers.
  • Memo to the NFL: Get cracking on reinstating your regular officiating crew, because the replacements you deployed to Jacksonville cannot under any circumstance work a regular-season game. In a nutshell, the game was supposed to end when Perrilloux crossed the line of scrimmage that should have resulted in a 10-second runoff. But the clueless and oblivious men in stripes went to replay – since when are penalties subject to replay review? – to confirm the ruling on the field. With two seconds left the Giants were gifted one last play and Perrilloux was sacked to put an end to that fiasco.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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Giants Vs. Jaguars Injury Update: David Douglas (Quad) Out, Domenik Hixon (Hamstring) Questionable

One of the compelling battles of Giants camp was the one for the third wide receiver spot, the slot man to play alongside starters Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. However, injuries have forced two competitors, one who shined during practices, out of tonight's preseason opener in Jacksonville.

Rookie free agent David Douglas has a quad injury, which is a stroke of bad luck for someone who needs as much playing time as possible in an attempt to make the roster. Hixon was supposed to start opposite Cruz, but he has a slight hamstring issue, so the Giants will likely play it safe and sit him out against the Jaguars.

Douglas' absence opens the door for Dan DePalma, another sleeper at wideout, to make an impression. There's also Ramses Barden, who could be a bubble player if Douglas gets healthy and performs. Jerrel Jernigan and Rueben Randle, virtual locks, will play. Brandon Collins, another rookie free agent, will also receive a look.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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