2014 Hall of Fame Game Recap: What We Learned
The New York Giants and Buffalo Bills graced the stage on Sunday night as the 2014 NFL preseason officially got kicked off with the 2014 Hall of Fame Game. It wasn’t so much a game as it was a distraction while the league talked about recent Hall of Fame inductees and the possibilities of a new season, but it was still football, nonetheless.
While the final score means nothing (the Giants won 17-13) and it’s just one preseason game, Giants and Bills fans alike may be wondering what – if anything – can be taken away from this contest. It might not be much, but every game sheds at least a little bit of light on even the smallest of circumstances. With that, let’s break down some of the top things worth noting from last night’s preseason battle:
We Still Have Yet to See Sammy Watkins
The explosive rookie was probably the guy everyone wanted to see the most – even Giants fans – but he recorded zero catches. He did see three targets come his way, but he couldn’t secure any of them in his pro debut. There are better days ahead of Watkins, though, so Bills fans shouldn’t get too discouraged.
E.J. Manuel Has a Ways to Go
Manuel was pretty bad in his first game of 2014, as he had more passes batted down at the line (3) that completed passes (2). Manuel needs to continue to work on timing, pocket presence and accuracy, all of which were average or bad last night. He has the weapons around him to take the next step in year two, so it will be interesting to watch his development over the next month. So far, not so good.
The Giants Can Run the Ball
A year ago the G-Men were hurting pretty badly on offense. David Wilson was a flop and they had no consistency in their offensive backfield. Fast forward to this season, and they suddenly have two fairly powerful and agile runners in veteran Rashad Jennings and rookie back Andre Williams.
Williams scored a short rushing touchdown in the first half and exhibited a nice burst, good strength and solid vision en route to almost 50 yards on seven carries. Jennings wasn’t amazing, but had a nice wiggle and caught the ball well out of the backfield. They’re shaping up to be a solid one-two punch for the G-Men.
Jeff Tuel vs. Ryan Nassib – Trending
Both of these guys were trending on Twitter at various points of the night, which probably tells you all you need to know about how bad NFL fans missed pro football. They also were a complete mixed bag in terms of play, as Nassib and Tuel both threw a touchdown pass but also had their fair share of ugly plays.
Tuel continues to lack great control or timing, but displayed solid athleticism and a willingness to take shots down the field. He looks to have the leg up over Thaddeus Lewis in Buffalo’s competition for the #2 quarterback gig. The same can be said for Nassib in New York, as he still has shaky pocket presence and decision-making at times but displayed great arm strength and completed some really nice balls.
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