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."
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.
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