ReFo: Patriots at Giants, Preseason Week 4
It’s the final week of the preseason, and in anticipation of the grueling roster cuts ahead, every team is resting their starters. Well, except for the Giants, who saw fit to give their starting unit a handful of snaps before making way to players on the roster bubble. Each team featured a young quarterback who saw the lion’s share of the snaps to close out the preseason for them. While it’s unlikely either will start anytime soon, the value of low-pressure playing time, even in the preseason, cannot be understated for them.
With a 16-13 victory the Giants completed a perfect preseason, which, though impressive, does not guarantee success in the following 16 games (just ask the 2008 Lions). So with the start of the regular season less than a week away, let’s take a look at some of the important points to take away from what will inevitably be the end of many of these players’ seasons.
New England Patriots – Performances of Note
Left Side of the Offensive Line: -9.7 combined
Breakdown: It was about as brutal as it gets for the left side pairing of tackle Chris Barker and guard Josh Kline. Both played the entire game and failed to impress. At a glance, Barker’s two hurries seem like a great return for a full day’s worth of pass blocking. There’s more to the story here though as both of those pressures came quickly, as did a third which was negated by penalty. In addition, there were several plays where he was thoroughly beat only for Jimmy Garoppolo to get rid of the ball before pressure could occur. Kline did okay for himself in pass protection, but struggled mightily in the run game. Routinely bullied at the line of scrimmage, New England might regret trading away Logan Mankins if Kline doesn’t improve quickly.
Signature Stat: On New England’s five runs off left guard they earned just eight yards. That’s with the running back breaking a tackle on two of those runs.
Brandon Browner, CB: +2.8
Breakdown: Playing a healthy 51 snaps on the night, Browner made a strong case that he should be starting alongside to Darrelle Revis when he returns from his early-season suspension. Late in the fourth quarter, Browner closed quickly on a corner route to prevent a big gain. Tested the very next play on a go route, perfect positioning paid off as he forced the stacked Corey Washington to try to tip the ball away to prevent a pick. He only entered the gradebook four times on the night, but as is often the deal with corners, a quiet game is a good game.
Signature Stat: Browner made two tackles with both being stops, despite not allowing a catch into his coverage.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB: -2.2
Breakdown: Along with both tackles and the left guard, Garoppolo was the fourth Patriot to play every offensive snap. At -2.2, there was some good mixed in with the bad, but not enough to suggest the Patriots could recreate their 2008 season should Brady be unable to play at some point. He ended the day with one interception (and one touchdown), but should consider himself lucky that it was only one. Walter Thurmond had a close interception slide through his fingers for a first down conversion early in the first quarter. Another would be pick was called back by a “preseason caliber” illegal contact penalty on the next play. Still a work in progress, Garoppolo will have the benefit of some additional time to learn before seeing more serious action.
Signature Stat: The Giants blitzed just five times. Garoppolo responded to those blitzes by picking up 51 yards (good) but tossing a pick (not so good).
NY Giants – Performances of Note
John Jerry, RG: +5.1
Breakdown: Receiving a fresh start in New York, Jerry put forth his strongest effort to date. Perfect in 24 snaps of pass protection, it was the running game where Jerry imposed his will. Not perfect by any stretch, but the positives far outweighed the negatives as Jerry had his way with linemen and linebackers alike. He had little trouble when working to the second level- he made excellent blocks on players in space on the Giants’ two longest runs.
Signature Play: With 14:11 left to play in the fourth, the Giants ran to Jerry’s side, having him pull wide and lead the way. Not content with simply tossing linebacker Ja’Gared Davis to the ground, Jerry then sealed safety Shamiel Gary to the outside, allowing Kendall Gaskins to pick up 19 yards in the process.
Ryan Nassib, QB: +0.9 passing
Breakdown: Rounding out a fine preseason, Nassib seems to have secured the backup quarterback job behind Eli Manning. Dropping back to pass just 15 times on 42 snaps, the Giants’ game plan didn’t ask the world of the second year player. Nassib responded with an efficient outing, completing six passes for 107 yards on his 12 aimed passes. It’s unclear how he would respond if thrust in among starters, but with Manning’s injury history, there’s nothing to suggest Nassib will see meaningful time in the near future.
Signature Stat: Nassib went 4 of 5 for 72 with a +1.8 grade on throws between the numbers.
Backup Defensive Line: 3 sacks, 12 total pressures
Breakdown: With Justin Tuck departing for (economically) greener pastures in Oakland this offseason, the once stout defensive line that the Giants have been known for is at risk of regressing back to average. Value signing Israel Idonije is shaping up to be a useful player this year, generating two sacks and a hurry in 22 pass rushing opportunities. Fellow veteran Mike Patterson made the most of his eight pass rushing snaps, deflecting a pass and registering a sack at the expense of Kline. The most encouraging performance though has to be of 2013 third round pick Damontre Moore (+3.5), who lead the team in total pressure.
Signature Stat: The Giants’ highest graded defenders were Moore (+3.5) and Patterson (+3.3).
PFF Game Ball
Perfect in pass protection and a beast in the run game, John Jerry earns it in my book.