The New York Giants played their first preseason game on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The final score was 20-12 in favor of the Steelers, but it’s preseason and the final score is not nearly as important as the quality of play during the game. After watching last night’s game, and talking with some of the players postgame, it would appear at this juncture that the defense is ahead of the offense. To be fair, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard didn’t play. But most of the defensive starters, sans DRC ad JPP, played and picked up where they left off last season.
Landon Collins and B.J. Goodson stood out in particular. Goodson played middle linebacker and was in charge of calling the defense and getting guys lined up in proper positions. He looked comfortable in the role and has been preparing for quite some time. Collins, the starting strong safety, was around the football seemingly on every play. Head coach Ben McAdoo pointed out his two young players, saying:
"The first unit had a couple of three-and-outs, which was encouraging to see. We had some young guys show up and shine. [Safety] Landon Collins was around the ball a bunch, [linebacker] B.J. Goodson made a nice play, but we played good team defense in the first half."
Again, we didn’t see the full offense operate so it is not quite a fair comparison. But the starting offensive line played, and in comparing them to the defensive line, advantage defense.
B.J. Goodson took snaps last year as the middle linebacker but he is taking on a lot more responsibility and sees himself as a leader on this defense. Operating as the “Mike” makes him the man in charge of getting the plays in and ensuring his defensive teammates are in the right spot.
In the few times I’ve spoken to B.J., he seems to have the right temperament and mindset to be a good middle linebacker in this league. After the game I asked B.J. about remaining on schedule in his development as a player.