ReFo: NYG @ IND, Preseason Wk 2
Khaled Elsayed checks in on a rookie getting up to speed for the Colts, an O-line competition for the Giants, and a selection of other performances that were worth a ...
ReFo: NYG @ IND, Preseason Wk 2
After a disappointing start to preseason, the Indianapolis Colts went into their game at the New York Giants wanting to find some form. In that respect it was mission largely accomplished with Andrew Luck especially impressing.
For the Giants, they struggled to get going, putting in a performance that was full of the kind of mistakes preseason games can be littered with. That’s not to say there were not some standout performances, because there were, but they’ll be looking for their big players to be a lot sharper come the regular season.
New York – Three Performances of Note
A Murky Situation at Right Tackle
The biggest talking point heading into the Giants’ training camp was who would win the starting right tackle job — would it be veteran David Diehl (-1.5) or rookie first-rounder Justin Pugh (+0.1)? As the grades would suggest neither put forth a particularly strong showing but it was Diehl (who had to contend with starters) who struggled more.
He didn’t do much wrong in the run game but the sack and two pressures he was beaten for were a timely reminder of why the Giants spent a first round pick on Pugh. At the start of the second quarter Erik Walden breezed past Diehl as if he wasn’t there to sack Eli Manning, and it could have been double trouble for Diehl but for Manning escaping from Bjoern Werner with 8:32 to go in the same quarter.
Pugh himself would give up a sack to Cesar Rayford and get beaten for a tackle for a short gain by Martin Tevaseu, but in his 19 other snaps didn’t do much wrong. Keep an eye on this spot because it could prove a concern.
Another Defensive End?
Last week it was DaMontre Moore who stole the show. This week, with him inactive, Adewale Ojomo (+3.7) stole the show. He had a fine outing last week to pick up two sacks and two hurries but his work here was even better, chiefly because of his work in the run game.
His four defensive stops were something else, but the pick of them came with 12:56 to go in the fourth. The Colts, as they had often, were running a draw on 3rd-and-5 and Ojomo drove Bradley Sowell back into the running back before shedding his block and making a tackle for a 6-yard loss. More than a one-trick pony, the speed at which he beat Joe Reitz with 8:02 to go showed the kind of explosion that has me wanting to see him go up against stronger competition. Intrigued I be.
Rough Day for Ross
After a tricky spell in Jacksonville, Aaron Ross (-2.7) is back with the team that drafted him. Unfortunately, he didn’t do much in this one to make you think he’ll be challenging for a starting spot if everyone is healthy.
Ignoring the unfortunate touchdown he was in primary coverage on, he got beat for two first downs, was saved giving up another courtesy of a dropped pass, and then flagged for a face mask penalty. But for forcing a fumble on special teams it really was a day to forget for him.
Indianapolis – Three Performances of Note
Money Well Spent?
Colts fans are getting a first look at some of their offseason acquisitions and already they’re starting to see why the team was so happy with their haul.
Doubling his snap count from the first week of preseason, Ricky Jean-Francois (+2.5) was the most impressive with his non-stop motor seeing him finish with two stops in the run game and two pressures rushing the quarterback. More surprising is how well Erik Walden (+1.5) has looked. His sack was the kind of play you’re not use to seeing from him, and he backed it up with some good work setting the edge. A better fit in Indy, he’ll give tight ends a lot of problems this year.
New Line Shaping Up
The Colts recognized they had some problems on the offensive line and spent big on Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas to fix it. Cherilus had a couple of nice moments in the run game and looks very comfortable getting to the second level and dealing with linebackers. Thomas is going to be asked to make some impact blocks judging by his use in the first two games, with the Colts particularly keen on getting him pulling from the backside of a play. It hasn’t quite worked out for them so far but he showed in his time in New England an ability to deliver in these situations.
The main problem remains Mike McGlynn (-2.5) who had some problems in pass protection (as is his way). He was demolished by Mike Patterson with one minute to go in the first half on a play that would ultimately lead to an interception, while he also gave up two other pressures.
Werner Working On It
We got our first look at rookie Bjoern Werner (-2.9) in extended action and he looks very much like a work in progress based on his first 39 preseason snaps.
The positives are there were flashes. He did show some good speed round the edge to beat David Diehl (though he followed it up by missing a tackle). But there were many more negatives. The only other pressure he picked up came in pursuit as opposed to beating anybody, and that was on 19 attempts to rush the passer.
What’s more he didn’t excel in the run game, with the low point being when tight end Larry Donnell cleaned his clock and took him off his feet with 11:52 to go in Q3. A situational role looks like the best we can expect from him in 2013.
– It’s worth mentioning Cesar Rayford (+3.0). He turned his 17 pass rushing opportunities into two sacks, a hit and two hurries while also drawing an offensive holding call after besting Bryant Browning.
– Left guard Matt McCants impressed going forward, but his struggles in pass protection (two sacks allowed) may come back to hurt the sixth-round pick from 2012.
– Andrew Luck went 4-of-7 on passes thrown over 10 yards. Yes we’re including that touchdown.
In an interesting game no performance stood out as much as that of Adewale Ojomo.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled