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The Dolphins best Giants in preseason opener, 27-10

Dolphins #28 Bobby McCain picks off a pass from Ryan Nassib while defending Sterling Shepard (photo credit: Bobby O'Hara)

Dolphins #28 Bobby McCain picks off a pass from Ryan Nassib while defending Sterling Shepard (photo credit: Bobby O’Hara)

The Giants looked good early, scoring 10 first quarter points but that effort was neutralized by sloppy play that led to 27 unanswered points as they lost to the Dolphins in the first preseason game. Quarterback Ryan Nassib looked good in the first quarter, leading the Giants down the field on a 74 yard drive that was highlighted by a 19 yard run by Shane Vereen and a 24 yard diving reception by Sterling Shepard.  Rashad Jennings who now appears ready to take on the role of featured running back in the offense capped the drive with a 3 yard touchdown run (3 carries for 11 yards ).  That strong showing by Nassib in the first quarter was not a harbinger of things to come because he proceeded to completely fall apart as the second quarter arrived.  Nassib turned the ball over three times in the second quarter, the first time was an underthrown pass intended for Sterling Shepard on a deep route.  He wasn’t able to lead Shepard to the outside and cornerback Bobby McCain picked it off.  On the next series, Nassib fumbled as he scrambled out of the pocket, with the ball being knocked loose as pressure came from behind him.  The third turnover from the backup quarterback came on the following possession when safety A.J. Hendy picked off another errant throw.  He seemed uncomfortable in the pocket and the accuracy of his throws were inconsistent during his start.  Nassib finished 7 for 15 passing for 75 yards with two interceptions and a fumble.  It was not a performance that the Giants staff could be encouraged by.

casillas int

#52 Jonathan Casillas intercepts Matt Moore (photo: Bobby O’Hara)

The sloppiness that started at the quarterback position was evident across the board as the Giants were penalized with 7 penalties for 56 yards over the course of the game.  The first team defense was one of the highlights for the Giants.  They held the Dolphins without a first down until midway through the second quarter.  That strong showing is certainly one of the positive takeaways for the Giants.  Jason Pierre Paul and Olivier Vernon in his first game in a Giants uniform were able to routinely pressure Ryan Tannehill who only played in the first two series’ of the game (2 for 4 passing for 8 yards ).  The newly bolstered defensive line along with an active linebacking corps looked strong tonight.  Linebacker Jonathan Casillas was very active in the first quarter.  He just missed an interception by the sidelines when he stepped out of bounds as he hauled it in.  However he made up for that later in the quarter when made a nice interception in the middle of the field off of Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore who had just entered the game to relieve Tannehill.  The two rookies draft picks in the secondary (cornerback Eli Apple and free safety Darian Thompson ) both looked good from the outset, continuing to give credence to the belief that with more reps each player will prove that the rookies will make a real contribution this season.  Second team defensive end, Owa Odighizuwa had a very active night with two sacks and three hits on the quarterback.  His health and contributions are necessary for the defensive line to be consistently productive.  The fourth round draft back, linebacker B.J. Goodson had an excellent debut with 8 total tackles ( 7 Solo ).  He was quick to the ball and showcased strong instincts for being in the right place at the right time.  The reserves at the linebacker position are far from being determined but Goodson will make it easy for the coaching staff to find a place for him if he continues to play in the manner that he did against the Dolphins.

Paul Perkins Fumbles the handoff that would lead to a Miami touchdown drive (photo: Bobby O'Hara)

Paul Perkins Fumbles the handoff that would lead to a Miami touchdown drive (photo: Bobby O’Hara)

On the offensive side of the ball, running back Andre Williams led the way with 9 carries for 41 yards.  Paul Perkins, who was the Giants 5th round draft pick, received the second most carries for the game with 7 rushes for 36 yards.  He looked sharp until he fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter on a handoff from quarterback Logan Thomas.  Perkins has the ability to cut quickly and change direction hitting the hole at the opportune time.  He’s only going to get better with more reps.   It was a sloppy mistake and one that he’ll be sure to avoid making again to ensure that he continues to get more time on the field.  Second year wide receiver Geremy Davis‘ presence on the field was felt as he made two catches for 21 yards.  He’s had a strong training camp and is one of the receivers to watch going forward.

The Dolphins had a pair of offensive weapons that led the way for them as they defeated the Giants.  They were led by sixth round pick, Jakeem Grant, who excelled as a receiver, and a punt and kickoff returner.  He accounted for a total of 183 yards of total offense in the three facets of the game as he used his excellent speed and agility to give the Giants defense fits all evening.  The 5 foot 7 inch dynamo out of Texas Tech seems ready to make an immediate impact for the Dolphins.  The Dolphins also received a strong effort from running back Isaiah Pead who rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries, including a 26 yard scamper in the third quarter.

Dolphins #19 Jakeem Grant Showed his versatility in his first NFL Game at special teams and receiver. (photo credit: Bobby O'Hara)

Dolphins #19 Jakeem Grant Showed his versatility in his first NFL Game at special teams and receiver. (photo credit: Bobby O’Hara)

The Giants have a lot of work to do before they head to Buffalo next Saturday for their next preseason game.  The offensive line is a vital position group to watch as multiple players are still vying for the reserve roles.  Left tackle Byron Stingily struggled as well as Adam Gettis whose play was subpar throughout the game.  Gettis was flagged for a pair of penalties as he was rotated between the guard and center positions.  Right tackle Bobby Hart put forth a pedestrian effort.  It was not strong enough to realistically take the starting job from Marshall Newhouse as coach Ben McAdoo has discussed during training camp.  Though Nassib was wildly inconsistent and turned the ball over way too much but he was also frequently under a lot of pressure.  Those guys fighting for a place on this team are going to have to prove that they have what it takes to consistently work in unison and protect the quarterback or Eli will be scrambling a lot more than he wants to this season.  Thankfully this is only the first preseason game and there’s still several more games for guys to build on this effort and improve.   In a few short weeks the Giants will really know what they’re working with.

 

Of Note:

Sterling Shepard left the game in the second quarter with an apparent groin injury but later returned to the sidelines.   Eli Apple also left in the second quarter with a reported injury to the inside of his left knee.  It was updated later and said to be to a lower leg injury.  The potential injuries to their first two picks was certainly a scare but the team has said that neither injury appears to be serious.  The Giants will be watching closely this week as both rookies are primed to be an integral part of the team this season.

 

Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY.com  You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY

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