Posted August 10, 2018 at 05:35 AM | Updated August 10, 2018 at 05:35 AM
John Munson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
By Matt Lombardo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
If Thursday night’s 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns to open the four-game exhibition schedule showed anything, it is that this Giants team is far from a finished product.
While rookie running back Saquon Barkley’s first career carry will be the talk of the NFL on Friday, equally important is the fact that the Giants’ offensive line largely answered the bell, save for one sack of quarterback Eli Manning.
There were plenty of positives to take away from Thursday night’s game, along with plenty of corrections for head coach Pat Shurmur and the coaching staff to focus in on before taking the field for Week 2 of the preseason next Friday night in Detroit against the Lions.
However, where there was once confidence surrounding Davis Webb’s ability to step in and replace Eli Manning if called upon, his performance against Cleveland reminded us that to date he has yet to attempt a regular season pass and only put the ball in the air 38 times last August.
In his first game action in nearly 12 months, Webb looked like a quarterback a little over amped to be back on the field, and not quite polished enough to feel good about elevating to the starting job should disaster strike.
“I was pumped up,” Webb admitted afterwards. “It was my first time playing in a year, so I think the biggest thing was kind of just take a deep breath, let the game come to you. Again, I’m not too worried about it. I know I could make those throws and I know I will. I just got to get even keeled and ready to rock and roll next week.”
Here’s a look at three reasons that the Giants should be optimistic, and three reasons for concern following Thursday night’s game:
1) Saquon Barkley as electrifying as advertised against NFL competition
It has been a familiar chorus following Saquon Barkley around since he was drafted by the Giants No. 2 overall back in April; ‘He’s never done it in the NFL … ‘
Barkley’s retort to the familiar refrain was an electrifying 39-yard run that was reminiscent of his highlight-reel runs across his three-year collegiate career at Penn State.
Granted it was only a couple of series in an NFL exhibition game, but the Browns’ defensive line features No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett and former Nittany Lion standout Carl Nassib, and Barkley’s patience while his blocks developed and rapid cut upfield turned heads not just in MetLife Stadium but sent reverberations across the league that Barkley’s college tape is no aberration.