New York Giants: Winners and Losers so Far in Preseason
Now that we've had a chance to see the New York Giants in a real game, it's time for a look at the winners and losers in camp thus far.
And while it's still early, some interesting storylines are emerging from camp and our first look at the 2012 Giants in a true, game-day environment.
For starters, the running game remains in transition. A competition for backup quarterback could be emerging. And beyond Rueben Randle, the bevy of receivers competing for the four spots behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are doing little to distinguish themselves from the pack.
So without further delay, let's take a look at the winners and losers of the New York football Giants' preseason.
Rookie David Wilson Is Making His Mark but Remains a Work in Progress
David Wilson showed flashes of brilliance against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night with an impressive 26-yard jaunt and a 48-yard kickoff return.
But he continues to disappoint as a blocker, missing an assignment that led to backup quarterback David Carr being sacked for a big loss.
And Wilson continues to show he has trouble running between the tackles and is much better on the outside.
However, given a rather pedestrian day by incumbent starter Ahmad Bradshaw (four carries, 12 yards), Wilson definitely has come out a winner thus far and is in good position to touch the ball often come the regular-season opener.
At this point, it would not surprise many if by midseason Wilson became the feature back and Bradshaw was the short-yardage bruiser who came in to block on the option and obvious passing plays.
D.J. Ware, a Solid Runner and Blocker, Is Looking Impressive in Camp
D.J. Ware could prove a formidable challenger to Ahmad Bradshaw, who is coming off another injury-plagued season as the Giants' starter.
Perhaps no other Giant in camp (other than Bradshaw when he is healthy) has Ware's combination of running ability and pass protection skills, which were on full display Friday.
Ware ran for 30 yards on five carries, a 6.0 per clip, and scored one touchdown against the Jaguars on Friday.
But it's his pass protection ability that really puts Ware on top of the other backs trying to share carries with Bradshaw come opening day.
Martellus Bennett May Have Already Secured the Giants' Starting Tight End Job
The Giants may have found their tight end.
Martellus Bennett looked impressive Friday night, grabbing three balls for 27 yards and a touchdown. And true to form, he continued his workmanlike success as a key blocker.
Bennett, who came to New York from their hated rival, the Dallas Cowboys, continued to show he has the all-around skills to rise to the top of the Giants' depth chart.
Bear Pascoe caught just one pass for two yards.
I liked the Bennett acquisition right out of the gate, and with every catch Bennett gains momentum toward the starting job.
Jerrel Jernigan Continues to Struggle Holding onto the Ball
Jerrel Jernigan is just about a lock to make the team. Too bad he has not proved a lock to catch the ball when back returning punts.
Jernigan looked uncomfortable much of the night, doing little to help Giants brass forget last season's punt returning woes.
He ended his first preseason game in 2012 returning one kickoff for 19 yards and two punts for only 10 yards.
The Giants still expect Jernigan to be their go-to guy punt returner, but if he keeps botching returns like Friday night, he could find himself grabbing more bench than leather.
Rueben Randle Continues to Show He's a Major Talent
Rueben Randle has looked solid throughout camp and hauled in the prettiest catch of the game Friday, a beautiful corner fade in the end zone by fellow LSU alum Ryan Perrilloux.
Randle caught two passes for 27 yards Friday, and his touchdown put the Giants back up by 10 in the fourth quarter after the Jaguars pulled to within three for the first time since the second quarter.
Randle is a specimen, a big, strong guy with great hands and amazing instincts to the ball.
His problem, according to Giants coaches, is his struggle to learn the playbook and be on point with each snap. That will come in time.
Chase Blackburn, the Defensive Darling of 2011, Is Having Trouble Standing Out
Chase Blackburn's 2011 is an amazing story. The suitcase by the door for three months. The desperate call from the Giants after that blowout loss to the Saints. His solid play, beefing up a struggling linebacking corps, all the way to the Super Bowl.
But this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and while Blackburn is not falling apart in camp this year, he has major competition.
Backup Mark Herzlich continues to impress in camp, and he had three tackles Friday against Jacksonville.
Granted, Herzlich got his reps against the No. 2 team while Blackburn faced the Jags' top defense. But Blackburn can't rest on his laurels or he could be looking over his shoulder sooner rather than later.
Ryan Perrilloux, the One-Time LSU Tiger, Emerges as a Dark Horse
You can't talk winners and losers at Giants camp without talking about the one-time troubled collegiate Ryan Perrilloux, who spent most of last year on New York's practice squad.
Perrilloux came to LSU in 2004 as the top-rated prep quarterback. He ran into trouble early and often before being kicked off the team in 2008, ultimately transferring to Jacksonville State, where he continued to have run-ins off the field.
Bu this year Perrilloux looks to be sharp and in control. On Friday, he went 6-of-7 for 59 yards with a picture-perfect corner fade for a touchdown to fellow LSU alum Rueben Randle.
Perrilloux looks good enough to make this team, not just the practice squad. And why not? There's a reason he was the top prep in the nation in 2005, the quarterback class of college ball that year and that many scouts compared him to Donovan McNabb.
Look for Perrilloux to make the team. If he can stay out of trouble, he could supplant Carr as the No. 2, but that may be wishful thinking.