The New York Giants lost to the Chicago Bears, 20-17, in an NFL preseason game. That really doesn't matter in the big picture. What does matter is the information that can be gleaned from the game as the Sept. 5 season opener against the Dallas Cowboys approaches.
Here are 10 things we learned Friday night.
- Rookie first-round pick David Wilson can play. He had five carries for 49 yards, and a 29-yard pass reception working with the first team. The Giants need big plays from their running game, worst in the league in 2011, and Wilson looks like he might be able to provide them.
- There is hope for Ramses Barden. The Giants have waited forever for the 6-foot-6 fourth-year wide receiver to show the ability they think he has. Friday night he did, with three catches for 46 yards, including a touchdown. He also drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Impressively, he did much of his damage against All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman.
- The Giants can defend the run. With their first-team defense the Giants held the Bears to virtually nothing on the ground in the first half. That has been a point of emphasis for coach Tom Coughlin, and a concern with the rash of injuries at defensive tackle.
- The Giants have a problem at cornerback. Prince Amukamara has a high ankle sprain and when he will return is unknown. Rookie Jayron Hosley is out with turf toe. Terrell Thomas' return is in doubt as he continues to try to rehab his twice surgically-repaired knee. The Giants are down to Michael Coe and Bruce Johnson, who has missed two season with injuries, at the right cornerback spot.
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- David Douglas is going to be difficult to cut. The undrafted free agent rookie wide receiver from Arizona was flawless handling punt and kickoff returns Friday night, areas where the Giants are looking for a steady hand. Douglas' two biggest plays, a 36-yard punt return and a 36-yard pass reception, won't show up on the stat sheet because they were wiped out by penalties.
- Chase Blackburn is going to hold off Mark Herzlich for the starting middle linebacker job. Herzlich seems to get hurt (a shoulder injury Friday night) every time he plays, and you can't win a job if you can't stay in the game.
- The Giants are having issues in punt blocking. For the second time this preseason Steve Weatherford had a punt blocked on Friday night. That can't continue to happen.
- Reuben Randle is going to earn a role in the giants' offense. Randle, the rookie wide receiver from LSU, had two catches for 21 yards and got open deep in the second half but David Carr was off target on the throw, which would have resulted in a long touchdown.
- Eli Manning is in regular-season form. He completed 17-of-21 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown.
- Linebacker Keith Rivers is going to be an excellent addition to the Giants. Filling in for Michael Boley on the weak side, Rivers showed excellent coverage skills and chased down Devin Hester in the open field on an end around. He has had an injury-plagued career, but you can see the ability when he is on the field.