For openers, this one was a real dud.
Needless to say, things could have gone a lot better for the Giants in Cincinnati on Friday night. Injuries to the secondary preempted most other storylines from their dismal 2015 preseason opener, but their uninspired play was the real disappointment.
"I didn’t like the way we started the game offensively. There was no tempo, no rhythm. Three and out, three and out," said head coach Tom Coughlin after the game. "That didn’t start us off very well. I just think our tempo and our rhythm has got to be upgraded. Obviously, we had some issues with protection or running the ball. I think at halftime, the running stats were pretty even. We had some runs in the second half. We had a nice kickoff return, we had a nice interception—both down deep in their territory, couldn’t do anything with it. That’s frustrating. A lot of people had a chance to play, we have a lot of information to sort through on tape tomorrow. We’ll just see where we stand."
The starting offense look slow and disjointed. The starting defense did very little to calm the fears left over from last season. They were steamrolled by the Bengals' starters, allowing large chunks of real estate en route to an easy score.
"We have a lot of work to do, a long way to go. We didn’t play the way that I envisioned that we would play," admitted Coughlin. "This [Bengals] is a good football team, obviously. They look very good. They showed execution, they showed poise, they were good on defense. Their defensive front was difficult for us to handle. We didn’t have much going for us in the pass game at all. If it wasn’t a protection breakdown, it was an inability to connect or coverage was good. So we've got a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but we certainly head into this week knowing full well that things have been put into perspective for us. It’s no longer wondering how you’re going to play. I thought our two days of controlled work against Cincinnati were better than the way in which we played tonight."
Coughlin could not stop lamenting about the poor showing his team logged in. He was hoping his team could put aside all of the distractions that have nipped at them during the offseason: the JPP situation, Will Beatty's freak injury and Victor Cruz' long, slow comeback bid.
"Yeah, I expected more," Coughlin continued. "I think the players certainly had to expect more. We’ve got a chance now with another practice week and moving forward with installations—I think a chance to do some things with the ball down the field much more than we have in right now. It seemed like a lot of the things we did were very short. We got the ball off on some check downs, which we had to tonight. Sometimes that’s what happens, you have to take the thing that’s open. I did expect the ball to be down the field a little bit more."
Instead, he got just the opposite. Not the end of the world, but certainly far from what fans were hoping to see. Next week, the Giants go to Jacksonville to play the much-improved Jaguars. It could be another long night.