COMMENTARY | Forget the final score. What's more concerning is how the New York Giants played in a 20-12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, August 18. It was a sloppy performance from Big Blue, but one the Giants can learn from as the regular season gets closer -- that's what matters.
Here are some observations from the game, both good and bad:
Corey Webster Must Stay Healthy -- A sore Webster sat out the game, as did safety Antrel Rolle (ankle sprain). But Webster's absence was magnified when backup cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Jayron Hosley were burned for touchdowns by Reggie Wayne and T.Y Hilton, respectively. Hosley redeemed himself with a 27-yard interception return later on, but if there ever was any doubt that the Giants need Webster and counterpart Prince Amukamara on the field, this game erased it.
Justin Pugh Could Make an Immediate Impact -- General manager Jerry Reese is starting to look like a genius for selecting Justin Pugh in the first round of the NFL draft. The rookie played left tackle against the Colts in his preseason debut, but he may end up replacing right tackle David Diehl, who missed at least three blocks, one of which led to a sack of Eli Manning. Incidentally, starting center David Baas sprained his left knee, which may lead to a lineup shuffle and Pugh starting right away.
Marvin Austin Is in Danger of Being Cut -- Last week, Austin didn't make a single tackle against the Steelers despite playing the most snaps of any defender on the team and he was virtually invisible against the Colts. Now the injury-prone Austin has to be in danger of not making the team. The Giants' starting defensive tackles are set with Cullen Jenkins and Linval Joseph, and the competition for backup time is heating up. It should be noted that Shaun Rogers (three tackles) had a solid game.
The Red-Zone Offense Must Improve -- Last season, the G-Men ranked 13th in the National Football League in red-zone scoring percentage at 54.84, but they've been terrible in the preseason. Against the Colts, the Giants made four trips inside the 20-yard line and came away with three field goals and a turnover on downs. One of the keys for the Giants scoring in the red zone this year will be the health of big target Hakeem Nicks, who made a pair of long catches against the Colts. Silver lining?
The Giants Can Trust Josh Brown -- Brown, who has replaced fan-favorite Lawrence Tynes, nailed all four of his field goal attempts, including boots from 45 and 47 yards out. And he made three out of four kicks with a long of 47 yards against the Steelers. Although Brown and Tynes have nearly identical career field-goal percentages (81.3 and 81.5, respectively), Brown seems to be more reliable from longer distances. Last year, Brown made 11 of 12 kicks, four of which came from 40-plus yards away.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.
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