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New York Giants Report Card: Grading Each Group's Performance After 28-16 Win

Jeff ShullAnalyst ISeptember 21, 2011

New York Giants Report Card: Grading Each Group's Performance After 28-16 Win

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    While meeting with reporters today after the New York Giants' 28-16 win over the Rams, Tom Coughlin commented that there is still much work to do for his team to compete with the best in the league. 

    Man, is that not the understatement of the season thus far? 

    The Giants got away with an ugly win. They played a team who was 7-9 last season and still figuring out how to consistently win in the NFL

    Without so many boneheaded plays from the Rams, I'm not sure the Giants would have come out on top in this game. 

    That said, here are the grades from each unit after the victory. 

Eli Manning

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    Eli Manning had about as bad of a start as he could have had, but really got it together in the final 32 or so minutes. Before he led the Giants on a touchdown drive prior to halftime, he was having a terrible game. 

    It's a good thing he stepped up—otherwise the Rams may have had more opportunities to score. Eli started the day 2-of-11 with an interception, but finished 18-of-29 with two touchdowns. His numbers accounted for a 91.2 QB rating, which is pretty good. 

    However, the Giants only scored one touchdown during the second half, when it felt like they could have done more to put the game away. More improvement from Eli is needed, and fast. 

    Grade: B

Running Backs

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    Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon JacobsThe Giants ran the ball pretty effectively on their first drive; unfortunately, after that the running game was non-existent. Bradshaw finished with 15 carries for 59 yards and Jacobs finished with 16 carries for 60 yards. 

    The offensive line could not open holes for them, so not all of the blame falls on the running backs, but to be honest, they both looked disinterested and weren't running with the same type of passion we're used to. 

    Grade: C 

     

    DJ Ware: Ware actually had a good game, entering the fourth quarter and having three solid carries for 22 yards, two of which led to first downs. It may have been a result of the Rams defense giving up, but nevertheless Ware had a decent game. 

    Grade: B

Wide Receivers

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    Aside from the touchdown catch, Nicks didn't do much; he was playing on a hurt knee. It clearly affected the passing game for a while, but he did make a terrific catch along the sideline in the first quarter that was ruled a no-catch. The play actually had a pass-interference call, so no challenge was necessary. 

    However, he did give the Giants that first touchdown on a terrific catch, so it wasn't a terrible day from Nicks. 

    Manningham had an okay day, but unfortunately he had to leave the game with a concussion. He turned what looked to be a routine catch into a circus one that set up the touchdown before halftime, but he also made a bad drop on a third-down play earlier in the second quarter. 

    Domenik Hixon easily made the play of the game when he bobbled and tipped a pass to himself, leading to the 21-6 halftime lead for the Giants. I don't know how long I have to say it, but Hixon definitely deserves the starting slot wide receiver job. 

    Overall Grade: B

Tight Ends

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    Between Ballard and Pascoe, they had one catch for 13 yards. Oh, and they weren't great in run blocking either. 

    This continues to be an issue for the Giants. When are they going to sign a veteran tight end?

    Grade: D

Offensive Line

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    While it may have been a "better" day from the Giants offensive line, it certainly wasn't a good one. Eli Manning was under pressure for most of his drop backs and the running game was pretty much non-existent. 

    This is clearly an issue for the Giants, who have to get their act together for a Week 3 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles

    If they can't run the ball against the Eagles' small and inexperienced defensive front, that is a huge problem.

    Grade: D 

Defensive Line

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    Once again, despite the Giants defensive unit struggling as a hole, the front four had a terrific game. Rocky Bernard, once labeled a free-agent bust, has been playing his a** off and had two great games for Big Blue. 

    Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul did their thing, combining for two sacks on the day. If the secondary could get their act together, this could still be one of the best defenses in the NFL, despite losing half their defense to the injured reserved. 

    Not including the Bradford 17-yard run, the Giants have yet to allow a run of more than 10 yards in their first two games. They allowed only 59 yards on 16 carries on Monday. 

    Grade: A 

Linebackers

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    The Giants may not have the best group of linebackers, but they can make plays when called upon and are getting better each week. 

    Rookie Greg Jones made an incredible play on a second-down run play from the one-yard line, tackling Cadillac Williams for a two-yard loss. 

    He did make a couple of mistakes in coverage, but he certainly has the skills to be a good middle linebacker in this league and the Giants have to be encouraged by his play. 

    Michael Boley had a great game that was highlighted by a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Sam Bradford passed it a little behind the line of scrimmage to Williams, who could not corral the ball, on a bubble screen. Boley alertly picked the ball up and took it all the way to the end zone.

    It was definitely the play of the day for the linebackers, who seemed to struggle at times against the high-speed, no-huddle pass offense of the Rams.

    Mathias Kiwanuka made a couple of great open-field tackles, but was generally unimpressive for most of the game. He still needs time adjusting to the new position.

    Grade: B 

Cornerbacks

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    Aside from the third-down play in which he knocked the ball out of the receiver's hands, Aaron Ross had an absolutely terrible game once again. 

    Clearly, Sam Bradford saw something in film and picked on the former first-round draft pick. It was so bad that at one point Ross was pulled from the game in favor of Michael Coe. 

    Well, Coe didn't fair much better, and when Ross came back in the game, he actually played a little better. 

    Who knows what this means for Ross moving forward? All we do know is that Prince Amukamara can't come back quick enough. 

    Corey Webster had a much better day after last week, which is encouraging for the Giants. 

    Grade: C- 

Safeties

10 of 11

    Although the safeties did their job in run defense, there are still far too many mistakes in coverage. When the Giants rush four and can't bring the pressure, quarterbacks have picked them apart. 

    Zone coverage has been a disaster thus far and the blame has to be placed on every member of the Giants secondary. 

    They have definitely made good plays this season, but the bad outweigh the good. 

    Grade: C 

Special Teams

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    Steve Weatherford averaged 46.1 yards per punt on seven tries, getting two inside the 20 and only one into the end zone. 

    How awesome is the feeling of having a great punter? 

    The punt and kick coverage was very good—although there was one punt return where the Giants allowed Greg Salas to gain 29 yards. Those mistakes can't happen when you're trying to pin a team deep; too many missed tackles on that particular play. 

    But I'm being very nit-picky—other than that it was an impressive showing from the special teams. In fact, it was the fumble recovery after a muffed punt that allowed the Giants to score their first TD and take the lead in the first quarter. 

    In terms of the improvement from 2010, it is night and day. 

    Grade: A- 

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