Movers and Shakers

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A look back at the good and the bad from last night’s preseason finale between the Giants and Patriots …

MOVING UP

TE Rob Gronkowski: The man who sometimes “blacks out” (more on that later) with excitement after big plays produced another one last night, hauling in a 5-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-goal. Best of all, you can see Tom Brady starting to trust the young target, with the quarterback making that throw falling away as the rush beared down on him. It was Gronkowski’s only catch of the night, but figuring that it was worth six points and that it’s another red-zone play made, he’s worthy.

WR Darnell Jenkins: Seems like most teams have a down-the-depth-chart receiver who bring some intrigue and make you wonder, and Jenkins has been that guy for the Patriots in 2010. On a 66-yard touchdown catch, the former Miami Hurricane showed a second gear in pulling away from the defense, and he wound up catching five of the six balls thrown in his direction, good for 93 yards.

OLB Rob Ninkovich: The second-year Patriot made a bid not just to keep his job (his special teams acumen probably protected him anyway), but to have more of a role in extended defensive action. On a team dying for playmakers in the defensive front seven, and pass rushers in particular, Ninkovich had three tackles for a loss, including a sack, and a pair of quarterback hits.

SHAKING DOWN

OLB Derrick Burgess: The Giants consistently had success running over his side, and he badly lost contain on Hakeem Nicks’ 15-yard end-around on the game’s second drive. And the pass rush again looked shaky, and Burgess was part of the problem there.


ILB Jerod Mayo: Took a couple of bad angles to ball, missing tackles or chasing for them, and he and fellow starter Brandon Spikes struggled in coverage on the second level of the defense, with tight end Kevin Boss and running back Ahmad Bradshaw exploiting the issue.

WR Taylor Price: The rookie showed a lot of ability in his limited action in the spring, but his learning curve has been apparent this summer. He had a ton of chances last night (targeted 11 times), and came up with just four catches for 33 yards. There was a bad drop, and he looked out of sync with backup QB Brian Hoyer in general.

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