Giants open preseason with 23-21 win over Patriots

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

*Daboll has not publicly announced who will call the team’s offensive plays at the start of the regular season, but Mike Kafka, the Giants’ freshman offensive coordinator, has assumed that task throughout offseason practices and at training camp. He also did it on Thursday night from the stand at Gillette Stadium.

“I see this as an opportunity,” Kafka said earlier this week. “An opportunity not just for me but for the players. Everyone is working hard to be part of the team and show what they can do and show they can build a role for themselves. So I’m looking to get out and to do my job to the best of my abilities and put the guys in the best position to succeed and show what they can do.”

* Quarterback Daniel Jones played the first two series of the game, completing six of 10 passes for 69 yards and was sacked once for an eight-yard loss. He also ran for six yards on a third and four on the first drive, which eventually resulted in a short field goal after the offense stalled inside the 10.

*Evan Neal, the seventh overall pick in the 2022 draft, made his NFL debut at right tackle. The Alabama product has held the No. 1 spot since joining East Rutherford. This week, he felt a little more comfortable changing jersey numbers from 73 to 70. Neal had worn number 73 from his freshman year of high school through his college All-American career. The number opened up this week when the Giants released offensive tackle Matt Gono, who was on the bye/left roster. The Giants also recently lost rookie lineman Marcus McKethan, a fifth-round pick, to a knee injury.

* Depth suffered more hits when starting left guard Shane Lemieux left in the first quarter with a toe injury and did not return. The third-year pro had found himself atop the depth chart after missing all but the opener of last season with a knee injury. Jamil Douglas was subsequently ruled out with an ankle injury.

* Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor saw heavy action and completed 13 of 21 passes for 129 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown to wide receiver Richie James. The two off-season additions found themselves frequently in training this summer.

*With no tackle in practice, Thursday night provided the best insight into the running game yet. Antonio Williams, who spent time with Daboll at Buffalo, led the way with nine points for 61 yards, including a 19-yard long and a two-yard touchdown to cap an impressive second-half drive. Gary Brightwell added seven carries for 40 yards with a 16-yard long as the Giants rushed for 177 yards as a team.

* Wide receiver Collin Johnson led the team in reception with seven catches for 82 yards, but was also stripped by Terrance Mitchell on a 17-yard gain early in the second quarter. Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler picked up the fumble for the Patriots.

About Terry Simmons

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