The final post this week – Steelers versus the Giants from Heinz field; here is what I picked up on during the game (with some help from my cousin Darrell).
1) Eli to Cruz connection in midseason form
I re-blogged Matt Bowen’s post about this play (via Twitter – follow us), but the chemistry between Eli Manning and Victor Cruz has not suffered despite Cruz’s public displeasure with management this spring. Check out Bowen’s break down, he does the play more justice than I can. It is just another reason to keep NFC East defensive coordinators up at night.
2) Defensive Line: Who’s next?
The Giants have always (at least recently) invested in their defensive line. Whenever their older players leave/get hurt/get cut, Jerry Reese always has a young guy ready to take the reigns. With Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre Paul dealing with back injuries/surgeries, DaMontre Moore appears to be the aire apparent. Moore had a number of hurries and even blocked a punt. For New York to return to the top of the NFC East, their D Line has to regain its prominence as one of the leagues’ best (deep stuff, I know…).
3) Running Back Battle
The Giants moved the ball well between the twenties but seemed to get stymied in the redzone. Darrell thinks that this is in part to the run game and I am inclined to agree with him. David Wilson, while explosive, is still learning the ropes and is more of a bounce-it-outside-for-a-home-run kind of runner thus far in his career. Andre Brown is the tough, between the tackles style runner. The Steelers defense has traditionally been stingy giving up rushing yards so any of the Giants’ rushing struggles should be taken with a grain of salt. What cannot be, however, is Brown’s fumble early in the game. That is a quick way to squander opportunity; Tom Coughlin was none to pleased.
4) Complementary Receiving Threats
Rueben Randle looked solid in his snaps against the Stillers. His presence and contributions cannot be downplayed as Hakeem Nicks is good to miss a few games just about every season. Continue to monitor his progress throughout the preseason as he has the ability to contribute this year and going forward (since Nicks is in a contract year).
I did not see much from the tight ends in this game. Brandon Myers was a weekly fantasy sleeper in Oakland but it remains to be seen if he can be more than servicable in New York. The Giants did a good job getting the most out of their blocking tight ends in recent history (see: Pascoe, Bear; Ballard, Jake; Boss, Kevin). The three aforementioned TEs were unheralded receivers but contributed weekly in the run and pass game on a weekly basis. Will Myers be next in line? Watch his play in the coming weeks, especially the third preseason game.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Be easy.