In his first professional game New York Giants second round pick Clint Sintim showed why he is earning the big bucks on Monday Night in the Meadowlands. The rookie from Virginia posted a sack and a forced fumble against Carolina, along with three other hits on the passer, and the versatile defender had ESPN analysts and Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski in awe.
I have to admit, I didn’t see much of Sintim outside of draft day, but after watching the game on Monday, I agree with Jaws and Gruden that he is going to be a solid contributor to a Giants defense that will carry big blue yet again. He showed awareness, athleticism, and more importantly, versatility. In college, he was a two-down linebacker who converted to defensive end in obvious passing situations, so he fits in perfectly with the Giants base 4-3 scheme.
Sintim was just one piece of a dominant Giants defense that has has been the backbone of the team since their Super Bowl run two years ago. The pressure came from everywhere and resulted in four sacks, eight quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and six pass deflections. It was a relentless defensive performance that kept right up until defensive tackle Leger Douzable's hit on Panthers quarterback Hunter Cantwell forced a fumble that defensive end Tommie Hill returned 18 yards for a touchdown with no time remaining in the Giants' 24-17 preseason-opening win.
The Giants running game was on point and spread out among their many different styles of runners. Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Allen Patrick and the shifty Danny Ware, who also had two catches for 43-yards and a touchdown, all ran for positive yardage and had a talented Panthers defense on their heels.
Giant fans should not be worried about the running game at all. With our offensive front, anybody can hurt a defense, especially Jacobs and Bradshaw. Jacobs can wear any defense out in the first half, which leaves tired opposition chasing Bradshaw for the second half. Patrick and Ware are great additions to replace Derrick Ward, as both are capable runners who can come out of the backfield and be a nightmare to opposing defenses. Screens were one of our specialties last year, and it looks as though they will anchor the Plax-less offense again this season.
Our offense’s only problem is our ability to put up six points, rather than three. I can’t remember how many times we failed to get the ball into the end zone, and had to settle for a field goal. Eli Manning is going to have to make some better throws in the clutch if he wants to shake his “confused baby” persona. He needs to knuckle down, get comfortable behind our All-Pro O-line, and hit our endless amount of slot receivers trying to be wide outs (Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith, David Tyree, etc.). Eli, please relax. Don’t worry about getting hit, that is what the pads are for.
The G-Men don’t need a go-to, Plaxico-type target. We need to use our speed and agility to run good routes and make the simple throws and catches. If we play old-school football with Coughlin’s discipline and clock-management, we won’t need big plays. We can and need to wear teams out. Our outstanding depth and versatility will win games. They may be low scoring and not very exciting, but all that matters is the W. If all these pieces come together, the Giants will make another run at a Super Bowl.