With Tuesday's first round of roster reductions looming, Joe Judge said the goal of the preseason opener was to evaluate the entire roster. The second-year head coach thus elected to rest the majority of his starters, most notably quarterback Daniel Jones, in the Giants' 12-7 loss to the Jets.
While he said afterwards that they need to raise their level collectively, he saw some positives from individuals. Here are those players who stood out on Saturday night:
LB Carter Coughlin
A seventh-round draft choice in 2020, Coughlin has moved from outside to inside in his second season and appeared to thrive in the move on Saturday night. He recorded five tackles, including a strip-sack of backup quarterback Mike White in the third quarter.
"It's awesome that they're moving me around and allowing me to try out different things," Coughlin said. "It was a challenge moving from outside to inside, but the coaches and the other inside linebackers have been helping me a lot and that allows me to play fast and pick up on different things. Guys like (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) have been really helping me out and it's been a blast."
"I thought Carter did a good job for us overall tonight," Judge said. "He had a couple of things that we have to clean up and nothing was perfect with him, but in terms of a motor, Carter plays with a motor. He's got good athleticism, he has good play strength, he shows some instincts and obviously with us moving him back and forth inside and outside -- the inside is new to him. So there's a lot of things that for him he's experiencing for the first time, but I'd say he's flashed positively throughout camp. He did a lot of things tonight that flashed positively. We have to watch the tape from a breakdown to see exactly how he did, but he's one of the guys that we wanted to really see come into this game and see how he responded to some different situations, both on defense and the kicking game, and he was a positive for us tonight. So, he's definitely a guy that showed up tonight to play and made an impression."
RB Sandro Platzgummer
Originally signed by the Giants as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program last season, the Austrian running back recorded his first NFL carry for a 3-yard gain in the fourth quarter. While noteworthy, it was outdone by his second carry, which went for 48 yards. No one was more excited on the sideline than fellow running back Saquon Barkley, who was seen jumping up and down in celebration.
Check out the best photos from the Giants' preseason opener against the New York Jets.
WR David Sills
Sills, who has been a standout at training camp, hauled in a 37-yard pass deep down the sideline from third-string quarterback Clayton Thorson late in the first half. Sills also drew a passing interference penalty that brought the Giants deep into Jets territory earlier in the half. Sills, who hadn't played a game since the 2019 preseason after an injury kept him out the entire 2020 season, led the team with 49 yards on three receptions.
"It was really good and exciting to get out there," Sills said. "It was nice to kind of get that first catch, first hit, kind of got the nerves going a little bit, but after that, it's kind of like, all right, let's go, let's go have some fun. I thought we did some good things. Like I said, we didn't get the outcome we wanted, so got to go back and look at the tape and see how we can improve."
WR Matt Cole
Wide receiver Matt Cole, a former Jet, made a nice play in the first quarter on a punt return and swatted the ball back into the field before it could hit the end zone. The result was pinning the Jets inside the 10, which certainly caught the eye of Judge, a former special teams coach. Judge also noted linebacker Cam Brown for his performance at the gunner position.
WR Damion Willis
Signed at the start of training camp, Willis scored the only touchdown of the night for the Giants on a 21-yard pass from Clayton Thorson midway through the fourth quarter. It was the only catch for the 6-foot-3, 204-pounder, who most recently played in a regular-season game with Cincinnati in 2019.
Rookie CB Rodarius Williams saw extensive action in his first live game, and while there was good mixed with the bad, he recovered a fumble and returned it 29 yards into Jets territory. Three plays later, Willis caught his touchdown…DT Danny Shelton stuffed Ty Johnson for a loss to force a turnover on downs…WR C.J. Board handled all kickoff and punt return duties, averaging 24.5 yards on the former and 15.5 yards on the latter…P Riley Dixon placed three of his six punts inside the 20.