After Bryce Young was bottled up by an overwhelmed offensive line and some vanilla play-calling in his first preseason start, we were hoping to see a bit more from the first overall pick on Friday. Well, we did, but still kinda didn’t . . . and it was thanks to the same reasons.
Young upped his numbers slightly from the opening outing—going from 11 snaps to 17 and from 21 passing yards to 35. Yet, he was still limited in what he was able to do because of a consistent stream of pressure from the Giants defense.
A few notable moments from the 22-year-old included a 15-yard dart to fellow rookie Jonathan Mingo and what would have been an impressive 14-yard connection with tight end Hayden Hurst. Hopefully, Young—who remained impressive through the fire—will have more time and more chances to shine next week.
In another recurring theme, the first-team defense came out quite sluggish on the opening possession.
The Giants kicked off the night (and the Panthers) by trekking all the way to the end zone on a cool 10-play, 75-yard drive—which took all of four minutes and 55 seconds. New York’s touch, which made the Carolina coverage look a bit like Swiss cheese, was led by quarterback Daniel Jones and tight end Darren Waller.
If not for safety Vonn Bell’s big hit and breakup on Waller, it might’ve even been a perfect appearance for Jones—who completed eight of his nine attempts. While the unit was still without their Pro Bowl pass rushers in Brian Burns and Justin Houston, a little more resistance would’ve been nice.
When Damiere Byrd went down and onto injured reserve, an opportunity opened up for Smith—who was far from a guarantee to make the final roster. And through two preseason outings, it’s clear that he’s seizing it.
In a follow-up to his team-best 20-yard reception last Saturday, the 2021 sixth-rounder reeled in a game-high 59 yards on four grabs. Given his prowess as a big-play threat as well as his capability in the return game, Smith could capture the back-of-the-room role Byrd may have had taken from him.
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