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NFL Week 1 Preseason Analysis: Giants v. Panthers

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NFL football is finally back!  Many NFL fans say that they don’t get excited for the preseason, but for me it’s almost as exciting as the regular season. Teams are getting built, dreams are being made, and there are many players giving every last effort in hopes of making a roster. If you’re one of the many that just can’t get into it, I certainly understand, so for you I’m providing cliff notes for every preseason game played. I’ve locked myself away in the dungeon, far from sunlight watching each matchup and giving you quick updates on each team.

New York Giants (10) vs. Carolina Panthers (20)

Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen battle: It seems as if most of the media wants to talk up everything Newton does and downgrade everything Clausen does. The honest truth is that neither quarterback looked that good in this game.

Clausen threw an interception, but on the pick Deangelo Williams was expected to sit on the route, instead he rolled at the end and never looked back to help Clausen. He saw the pressure coming but wasn’t prepared to cut off the route. When Williams rolled out, Michael Boley stepped up for a give me pick 6. That pass didn’t bother me as much as the touchdown that Clausen threw to Greg Olsen. When Olsen came wide open down the seam, the Giants’ defender is on Olsen;s back shoulder and trailing. Instead of leading Olsen on an easy throw, Clausen threw it behind him. A better defender would have taken advantage of this mistake. Instead, Olsen adjusted and Clausen gets praise for the touchdown.

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Cam Newton played ultra conservative. When his receivers like Armanti Edwards were open by a mile, Newton made them stop and wait for the ball. This altered what would have been a 40-50 yard touchdown into a 20 yard reception. He under threw several passes and just flat out missed on easy completions. The plays that bothered me the most were the ones at the end of the 1st half. When Marvin Austin brought pressure, Newton got scared and pulled out on several throws. He didn’t want to take the hit and made it known. An NFL quarterback has to stay in the pocket and finish his follow through, even though they know a big hit is coming. He’s a very athletic quarterback and is still young. I don’t want to judge Newton on one game, but on the same note, let’s not act like he was stellar. He wasn’t even the best QB on the Panthers in this game.

Mike Goodson and Armanti Edwards are a great combination of kick / punt returners.  Goodson has great read and recognition on kickoffs and knows where the weakness is to attack. He needs to learn how to hold onto the ball though. Edwards is exciting to watch on punts. He’s grown a lot as a player in one year. It’s surprising due to the lockout restrictions.

It was good to watch Andre Brown finally healthy. He looked like the running back that I graded coming out of NC State. The only problem is that there is a stable of backs in New York. Ahmad Bradshaw looks fresh. He ran with rejuvenated legs. I’ve been hyping DJ Ware for the last 3 seasons. If he doesn’t prove me right this year, then he’s dead to me…ok, a little harsh. Seriously, Ware is the better back than Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs looks like a man at the end of his journey. He was an amazing back with elite speed for his size but he doesn’t use that size to his advantage anymore and defenses don’t fear him now. He reminds me of Christian Okoye after “the hit.”. After the Steve Atwater hit Okoye, he was never the same back. Defenses knew he was just another running back. (I try to sneak this footage in a post at least twice a year. Not only for being such a great hit but also to ask people, WHY THE HELL IS ATWATER NOT IN THE HALL OF FAME!! )

I would have liked to see Da’rel Scott and Andre Brown get more reps but I guess we’ll have to wait until the final week of the preseason. The next two games will have most of the reps going to the first and second teams.

Smash N Dash. Deangelo Williams was so patient and shifty in this game as usual. He’s such a great back and his style works well with Jonathan Stewart. Just ask Terrell Thomas, who was the victim of a violent Stewart stiff arm in this game.

Michael Coe and Kendric Burney both played well at their teams’ cornerback position.  Burney was a guy that I was extremely surprised to see go undrafted.

I always preach about how the NFL is about depth. Well, the Panthers don’t have that across the offensive line. They better hope that their starters can stay healthy or the decline will be too much for this young team.

The player that surprised me the most was Jason Pierre-Paul. I’ll admit when I’m wrong. I didn’t believe that JPP was a high caliber NFL defensive end. I thought that he would just be an athlete that would make plays. I missed on this one. He’s a freak that understands the game. It was no wonder that Osi Umenyiora changed his mind and participated in practice on Monday. He was afraid that JPP would take that starting role and rightfully so. JPP was unstoppable and he man handled Panthers’ left tackle Jordan Gross on his way to a sack.

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Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock