As a Giants fan standing in the upper deck of MetLife Stadium on Wednesday night, I felt a mix of emotions: anger, confusion, heartbreak, and even confidence. The Giants had just lost the first game of the season to not just a division rival, but the Dallas Cowboys. Almost everything seemed to go wrong in that game, but believe it or not, there were a few positives to be found.
Primarily, however, the game is a loss, and it put a spotlight on what Iíve already mentioned are some of the Giantsí biggest concerns. The secondary was atrociousóMichael Coe was actually having a fine performance in his first NFL start, but a hamstring injury forced him out of the game in the 3rd quarter and his replacement, Justin Tryon, couldnít seem to cover a single player all night. He made a terrible play on Miles Austinís touchdown and showed little effort in stopping the slant passing the Cowboys employed late in the game, including the one which drove the nail in the Giantsí coffin on 3rd and 11. Corey Webster didnít look much better, getting burned on a Kevin Ogletree touchdown and otherwise looking very unimpressive.
The Offensive Line also looked terrible. Eli had awful protection and the running backs suffered from even worse run blocking. The line seemed to get absolutely no push on running plays, and the backs were often found without a hole to burst through. Of course, it didnít help that David Wilson fumbled and was promptly benched by Tom Coughlin, or that Ahmad Bradshaw, taking over the full load of carries, seemed hesitant and unwilling to drive through the line. Victor Cruz led a receiving corps that made some nice catches, but also some crucial drops which led to several 3rd down conversions being left on the field.
While all of those things (perhaps excluding the dropped passes) were to be expected, the biggest surprise was the pass rush, or lack thereof. All offseason the talk has been about how the big three (JPP, Tuck, Umenyiora) played down the stretch when they were finally healthy. If Tuck really is focused this year, and JPP really is primed for a 30-sack season, then they must have forgotten that the season starts on a Wednesday. The only two sacks by the Giants came from the thin Defensive Tackle group, and while Romoís quick feet helped him evade some sacks, the D-Line as a whole was mightily unimpressive and failed to play its role in covering up the deficiencies in the secondary.