Upon Further Review: Areas to improve

Posted Aug 13, 2016

Coach Ben McAdoo recaps Friday's loss to the Dolphins after viewing the game tape: 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One of the points of emphasis in Giants' practice this week will be “taking care of The Duke.”

No, the players are not moonlighting as protective muscle for a visiting member of the British Royal Family. The Duke – named for Wellington Mara - is what an NFL football is called. And in their 27-10 preseason-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins last night, the Giants displeased coach Ben McAdoo because they were so careless with it. The team fumbled six times, losing two, and Ryan Nassib was intercepted twice. Twenty-four of Miami’s 27 points resulted directly from Giants turnovers.


So when McAdoo was asked today on a conference call what, other than the loss, was a “real disappointment” to him, he had a ready answer.  

“Taking care of the football,” he said. “As much time and energy as we spend on the football and taking care of The Duke in practice, for us to be that careless with the ball is very disappointing. It will be fixed and it will be addressed.”

Nassib accounted for three of the fumbles, losing one. One of the miscues was a failure to secure a snap on first-and-goal in a sequence that ended with the Giants kicking a 20-yard field goal. Bobby Rainey, who returned kickoffs and punts, fumbled twice, and Logan Thomas, who played quarterback in the fourth quarter, lost a fumble.

“(We) put the ball on the ground way too much, too many turnovers,” McAdoo said. “Sudden change defense, something we need to work on as well. They're tied together there, so when the offense turns the ball over, return team turns the ball over, the defense picks it up. With that being said, we were minus-three on the turnover ratio, and if you were minus-three last year, the teams were 2-46, so tough to win football games that way.”

McAdoo chose not to play Eli Manning, and Nassib struggled at times in his place. The fourth-year backup completed seven of 15 passes for 75 yards, threw those two picks, and was sacked four times. He led a 74-yard touchdown drive on the game’s opening possession, but faced increased pressure when the starting offensive line departed after the second series.


“He didn't always have clean protection, but Ryan still had an opportunity to make some plays,” McAdoo said. “He needs to throw the ball out there a couple of times and I think he would have had an opportunity to make some big plays. I would have liked to see him hit the post to Sterling (Shepard). Ryan's going to move on, he's going to learn from this experience and he's going to bounce back.”

The starting offensive line is a good group. But who will play behind them, and how well they can perform, is a mystery. And the backups' performance did nothing to solve it.

“I think that we have guys who we feel can compete at a high level,” McAdoo said. “They had a bad night in pass protection last night, they played better in the run game than they did in pass protection, and we need to put the pads on and get back to work. That is what I see.”
Speaking of Shepard, he left the game with a sore groin. His practice availability for tomorrow, and that of Victor Cruz, who did not play because he had the same ailment, will be determined just prior to the session.

“Sterling, we don't think it’s serious,” McAdoo said. “He's a guy that we're going to put through individual tomorrow, we're going to wrap him up and see if he can practice after the individual.

“We are going to throw Victor out and do individual with him and see how he gets through individual, and then we will take it from there.”

Cornerback Eli Apple, the team’s first-round draft choice, was scheduled to undergo an MRI  on his left knee, but he said after the game he was not seriously hurt. Wide receiver Geremy Davis likely won’t practice tomorrow with a mild hamstring strain. Nor will tight end Will Johnson, who has a burner.

The team’s other defensive back selected in this year’s NFL Draft impressed the coach. Third-round choice Darian Thompson started at free safety and played into the second quarter.

“Darian had a good start,” he said. “He was out there; he was 100 percent in his assignments or close to it. He communicated well. Special teams, he has some improvement to do there, so he can get better in special teams, but he had a nice night from a defensive perspective. And again, it is just a starting point.”

Barring an upset, Landon Collins and Thompson will open the season as the Giants’ starting safeties. Behind them is a bit of a free-for-all to determine the reserves.

“Darian and Landon, they were solid,” McAdoo said. “Nat Berhe got some good snaps in there, as did Mykkele Thompson. It is really an open competition there. Cooper Taylor, you can throw in the mix, (Andrew) Adams, Bennett Jackson and (Justin) Currie. It is an open competition there behind them.”