The Giants' opening preseason game was a four-quarter production Tom Coughlin would prefer not to see again, but he was intrigued by numerous individual performances.
Coughlin was still annoyed Saturday by the final result of the previous night's 32-31 loss to the Jaguars in Jacksonville. He opened a post-mortem conference call today be reciting a litany of transgressions that contributed to the defeat: two muffed punts that led to 10 Jaguars' points, 156 rushing yards allowed, 11 penalties ("you just kind of shake your head at that"), Jacksonville's 53 percent third-down success rate, and pass protection problems were some of the items on his list.
Those and other issues were reasons behind the evaporation of a 24-7 lead in the second quarter and a 31-21 advantage with 11 minutes remaining. The Jaguars scored the game-winning points on a touchdown and two-point conversion with two minutes left.
"Obviously, we're disappointed that we didn't win the game," Coughlin said. Later he added, "We've got a lot of things to correct and we're not going to deny any of the issues that were present. We're going to work hard to solve them and we're going to work hard to improve our roster from top to bottom. We're going to see that our younger guys, our guys who play later in the game might be able to be in a position to help us win."
Though the game was hardly Masterpiece Theater, the show put on by several players was worthy of praise. Here were a few cited by Coughlin:
*On second-year linebacker Mark Herzlich, who had two tackles:
"I thought he played well and he played a lot," Coughlin said. "He had many opportunities and we're encouraged by the way he played. He wasn't perfect, he did some things that he'd like to have back but he is physical and he will go in there. He is smart and he can get you lined up. I would say the play time helped him. There are many of our younger players that need to play. That's something that we have to be conscious of going forward."
*On first-round draft choice David Wilson, who led the team with 43 rushing yards, including a 26-yarder, and caught two passes for 26 yards and returned two kickoffs 48 and 28 yards:
"He certainly did run the ball well," Coughlin said. "He ran the kickoff return back well. He did a nice job on our punt return team of getting downfield rapidly and helping to block the first defender down the field. He didn't perform as well as you'd like in the pass game. He should've got out of bounds with one of his plays there towards the end of the game. He's young and we've got to eliminate the mental errors. We had some mental errors there but he certainly did show the speed and the quickness, as well as the desire to play and the excitement about playing. He was not discouraged after the game; as a matter of fact he's looking forward to the next opportunity. I think it's a plus, I think he's shown us some things that we can depend on going forward."
*On running back D.J. Ware, who ran for 30 yards, including a two-yard touchdown:
"He ran hard," Coughlin said. "He ran powerful. He really did make a couple of very, very nice decisions with the ball. There were some that were so-so as well. I think he could have scored without running into trouble by just being a little wider on his touchdown run there. It wouldn't have been as difficult. But he's playing well for us, he's playing hard. He's often on special teams. He has a very good attitude. I kind of like what I see."
*On defensive end turned linebacker turned defensive end Adrian Tracy, who had two tackles, a 12-yard sack and a forced fumble:
"When Adrian played, you can see the power," Coughlin said. "You can see the things that he can do well. You can see also there are things that are happening out there; he's not in as good of control of himself as he would like to be. The bull rush, the power rush, he's good at that. The edge, he's good at that. He made some nice plays in the run. He made some nice plays from behind. But I'm encouraged, and I look forward to him gaining a little more sophistication and knowledge about what we need for him to do and his recognition and reaction from what the offense is trying to do to him. It's encouraging."
*On free agent safety Will Hill:
"He was very aggressive," Coughlin said. "He was in on a lot of plays. He made plays when he was being used in a blitz. He made plays when he was on special teams. He did some good things from the safety position. He had a couple of spots where he was out of position and gave up plays on the run. The run at the end of the game, which was not only his fault a bunch of people were involved on that one, but that could've been played better. I have to be encouraged by what he did last night and let's hope that as we go along playing against better people and seeing more opportunities, he can continue to grow."