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Pre-Season Game 1: Winners and Losers

The first game of 2011 is in the books. Even if it doesn’t count and doesn’t mean much, football is back. Although the Giants lost 20-10 to the Carolina Panthers, there still were some bright spots, and yes, there were dark sports, too. Here are the winners and losers of last night’s game.

Winners:

DE Jason Pierre-Paul: With DE Osi Umenyiora out with a “knee” injury, Pierre-Paul has gotten all the reps with the first team defense. He’s making the most of it. Pierre-Paul was quick off the ball and finished plays. He went up against pro-bowl LT Jordan Gross and made him look silly. The first-round draft pick from last year had 7 tackles and 2 sacks in just one quarter. Pierre-Paul’s pressure also forced QB Jimmy Clausen to throw in the vicinity of where LB Michael Boley was, who then intercepted the pass and brought it back for the touchdown. If Pierre-Paul can play half as good as he did last night, the Giants will have the best pass-rushing team in the league. Tuck, Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul. I’m giddy.

QB Sage Rosenfels: With QB David Carr not playing last night, Rosenfels had a prime opportunity to gain a leg up on the competition. He did exactly that. Rosenfels had command of the huddle and ended up going 13-for-19 night for 129 yards. Rosenfels, as you know, has a large $3 million base salary. With QB David Carr playing for the minimum, Rosenfels must not only beat him out, but enough to warrant his large salary. He’s doing pretty good so far.

WR Domenik Hixon: For the first time in 13 months, Domenik Hixon was playing in a real football game. Even if it is pre-season. Hixon looked quick off the line and showed his large frame when making catches. He is the leader for that third wide receiver spot.

CB Brian Witherspoon: With CB Bruce Johnson out for the season with a ruptured Achilles and CB Prince Amukamara out for two months with a broken bone in his foot, Witherspoon will battle with CB Michael Coe for the fourth corner spot. Witherspoon, aside from his value on special teams, is showing he might just be the man for that fourth corner spot. Witherspoon went from one end of the field to the other to knock WR David Clowney out of bounds and then a few plays later broke up a slant pass. He looked good. Witherspoon might not just make the roster, he might get some playing time.

P Matt Dodge/Steve Weatherford: Dodge and Weatherford are in an open competition to be the Giants punter. Both had great nights. Both had solid hang-time and had big kicks, too. Dodge showed to be consistent, but with the way we know Weatherford can punt, it might not be enough.

DT Chris Canty: Canty made two great plays to stop runs up the middle. The Giants like Canty a lot and expect him to be a force in the backfield this season. That’s part of the reason why they weren’t to devastated when they lost DT Barry Cofield to the Redskins.

Honorable Mention: CB Michael Coe, LB Mark Herzlich and S Tyler Sash

Losers:

CB Aaron Ross: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen better pop warner football kids tackle better then Ross did last night. I understand they’ve only had 11 practices before last night’s game and there wasn’t much tackling, but come on! Ross didn’t wrap up once. He did a great job recognizing the screen in the flat, went to go make a play on the running back, and went body first? Come on. Another play Ross got burned and almost let up a touchdown to WR Armanti Edwards right up the seam, but the pass was off. Ross had one nice play breaking up a quick slant in the slot, but overall, not a good night.

The Special-Teams Tacklers: Could the tackling on the punt coverage have been any worse last night? CB Michael Coe had no body control and completely whiffed on the returner, as did DE Dave Tollefson and Michael Boley, which resulted in a 22-yard return. The next punt, which was a solid kick, was spoiled by poor tackling again. Some thing’s don’t change, I guess. This needs to be fixed. And quickly.

T James Brewer: The fourth-round pick out of Indiana is continuing to have a rough week. Just a few days ago Brewer was taken off on a cart with a deep shin bruise. Last night, Brewer completely missed the guy in front of him, resulting in K Lawrence Tynes’ having his kick blocked and to make matters worse, Tynes was injured on the play. Brewer is considered more of a developmental prospect, but my god, he looked beyond confused.

Honorable Mention: WR Jerrel Jernigan, C Chris White, RG Ike Ndukwe and LT Jamon Meredith.



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3 Responses to “Pre-Season Game 1: Winners and Losers”

  1. CHeeKZ Money says:

    how many LB might the gmen carry this year? I really like Herzlich but we have a small army of mediocre players and that is not counting Kiwanuka

    • Jason C. says:

      Honestly, I know it won’t happen, but based on last night I would seriously consider letting Dillard go. The guy ran straight into the offensive line on every play, he had no patience and left the middle of the field wide open. I think Herzlich not only outplayed him, but is a more NFL ready player right now (as odd as that sounds).

  2. LIGiantfan says:

    Why doesn’t TC tell his punters to just kick the ball out of bounds?

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