Giants defeat Steelers, 20-16: Who made strong impressions?

Posted Aug 9, 2014 highlights four takeaways from the Giants' preseason win

1. Make no mistake; the Giants want to run the ball.
> Corey Washington continues to impress
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> Instant Analysis: Giants top Steelers
> 5 Players that stood out
> Rashad Jennings gives Giants early lead
All eyes have been on the passing game since the hiring of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who brought over a West Coast offense from Green Bay.

However, through the first two preseason games, the ground game has been the highlight as Eli Manning attempted just two passes in four drives on Saturday night against the Steelers.

Of course, the Giants are not going to show their hand in the preseason -- and we still haven’t fully seen how they’re going to attack defenses -- but if you go back to the very first thing McAdoo said when he took over, this offense will have an identity based on fundamentals. It’ll be smart, sound, and tough.

You get that through the ground game, which the Giants have done in averaging 146 rush yards per contest with a 69-52 run-pass differential.


Rashad Jennings led the way against Pittsburgh with a 73-yard touchdown.

2. Corey Washington has a lot to offer.
The wide receiver has now produced go-ahead touchdowns in back-to-back games for the Giants in their two victories. That’s just what an undrafted rookie from a small school needs to do to make the 53-man roster. In the Hall of Fame Game last week, he took one 73 yards to the house.


On Saturday, he used his biggest asset to go up and grab Curtis Painter’s 3-yard touchdown pass with 2:50 left in the game. And that’s his size. “It’s a big part of my game,” Washington said. “I’m 6-4, tall and lanky. I can go up and get the ball. That helps against smaller corners. It can be big for the team this year.”
3. The offensive line still isn’t set.
When Eli Manning’s night ended in the second quarter, after four series, and Ryan Nassib entered the game, the starting offensive line (Charles Brown, Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, Brandon Mosley, and Justin Pugh) stayed on the field. While left tackle Will Beatty remains out as a scheduled precaution, Pugh is the only returning starter for the Giants.

“They need to play,” coach Tom Coughlin said about the offensive line after the game. “Those people need to play. They need to work together. They need to communicate. The idea of a set lineup is really not there. They need to play.”

4. The preseason means something.
Whenever people say the preseason means nothing, they’re wrong. It’s easy to brush off problems in these four games -- in the Giants’ case this year, five -- and just get to the regular season. But this is where weaknesses and strengths start to develop. The same problems in the Giants’ three-straight losses to end the 2013 preseason carried over to a 0-6 start in the regular season.

Now, at 2-0 in the 2014 preseason, the Giants have areas to build on as opposed to plugging holes. “It’s tough to fall on, ‘Oh it’s just preseason,’” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “I’m sure a couple of us said that last season and we started off 0-6.”