As John Madden says in his best-selling video game: "If the ball hits you in the hands, you gotta catch it."
Giants fans everywhere got flashes of last season when Steve Smith dropped a deep would-be touchdown pass on Saturday night against the Jets. Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks also had key drops in what was a sloppy loss to the Jets.
The receivers remain an enigma. Despite looking great at times, they are the same inconsistent bunch that we saw last season after losing Plaxico Burress. We knew it was a question mark heading into camp, and it still looks that way now.
I'd like to see Coach Coughlin start rookie Hakeem Nicks opposite either Hixon or Smith in the fourth preseason game to send a message to the receiving core. Nicks is probably the most talented receiver on the team and looks as much like an NFL starter as any of them.
Yes, he did have an ugly drop, just like Smith, Hixon and Mario Manningham. But he is a future starter, and with his performance on Saturday, he proved that the future may be sooner than originally expected. He looked great hauling in two long touchdowns (against third stringers), and as my Dad said, he already has the swagger part down.
Manningham had an up and down game. You can tell Eli Manning desperately wants to get Mario involved in the offense. It's obvious that he has the skill to be a competent NFL wide receiver, but he can't seem to get on the same page as his QB. There were times when he couldn't create separation or just couldn't hang on to the ball. At least he did cause a couple of Lito Sheppard penalties.
- Speaking of Sheppard, any team who wants to move the ball against the Jets should just throw towards Sheppard. If the refs are calling a tight game, he'll be flagged for pass interference or holding every time. I've never seen such a lazy performance by a corner back.
- Despite what Eli's numbers may suggest, he actually looked pretty good. At times, he even looked great. The line usually gave him a lot of protection, and most of his throws were on the money. If not for a few drops, he would have had two touchdowns, no interceptions and a much better completion percentage.
- I'm not as hard on Kevin Gilbride as some people, but some of his play calling on Saturday was just bewildering. Running on third and four in the Jets' red zone? A run up the middle with Allen Patrick on the two point conversion?
These are perfect opportunities to lob a fade to rookie wide receiver Ramses Barden. He was drafted to help out the Giants' red zone offense. Why not test him out? The red zone play calling worries me.
- Brandon Jacobs again showed his improving hands on a nice touchdown catch at the front of the end zone. However, he gave the ball right back when Bart Scott stripped the ball away from his previously injured arm. That was the last we saw of Jacobs.
- I'd like to see a shiftiness competition between Ahmad Bradshaw and Leon Washington.
- Mathias Kiwanuka looked like a starting NFL lineman, bringing pressure and getting after the quarterback. He showed a great motor on his sack, but the defensive backfield also deserves credit for their coverage.
- The defense missed way too many tackles and gave up a couple of long touchdown passes, but I'm still not too worried. One was a result of a CB falling down and the other was a miscommunication between Kevin Dockery and CC Brown. If those two are starting on opening day, I'll be more worried.
- I am comfortable with David Carr as the backup quarterback. Yes, he takes too many sacks, but he was also playing behind the second team offensive line.
He is considered a bust after being selected first overall by the Houston Texans so many years ago, but part of that is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Houston's patchwork offensive line was one of the worst of all time. He never had a chance.
With the Giants, he has shown his great arm strength and mobility. Given a healthy offensive line, I think he could be a very productive quarterback. Hopefully we'll never find out.