If you are looking for a little optimism, consider this:
Odell Beckham Jr. has as many receptions this preseason as he had all of last preseason and that worked out pretty well for him.
Of course Beckham didn't play at all last summer, sidelined with a hamstring injury. This year he's been on the field, even if he spent a good portion of Saturday night's 22-12 victory over the Jaguars looking as if he would rather have been anywhere but.
Beckham was targeted five times in the first half but did not come up with a single catch, one-handed or otherwise. On three of the incompletions from Eli Manning, it seemed as if Beckham was more concerned with avoiding contact from the Jaguars' secondary than making the grab (which, given the state of injuries on the Giants roster, might have been a wise strategy). The one ball it looked as if Beckham did catch was a sliding play on what would have been a 27-yard catch to set up a first-and-goal, but Beckham bobbled the ball and it hit the turf before he had complete control of it. It was ruled incomplete.
"We've got to be better in the passing game, obviously," Manning said. "Too many incompletions . . . [We] had some nice plays, just had a couple of bad throws by me, a couple of drops, just some things we've got to clean up and start executing and making the plays that are out there that we were close to making tonight."
What's more concerning for the Giants than Beckham being held without a catch in two games -- or parts of two games after he was targeted once last week against the Bengals -- is what it symbolized: an offense that was intended to carry the team through the season but has so far seemed disjointed and unable to find any rhythm. Manning completed just 4 of 14 passes for 46 yards Saturday night and has completed just one pass to a wide receiver this preseason, a 14-yarder to Preston Parker.
There was even a sign of frustration from Beckham, who gave safety Sergio Brown a quick shove after a deep pass from Manning in the second quarter went over his head. It appeared he was tangled up with a cornerback which disrupted his route.
It was clear from the outset that the Giants wanted to focus on that passing game. They passed on their first six snaps and 14 of the 21 snaps Manning was in the game for were passes. Interestingly, it was the other aspects of the offense that seemed to function the best. The offensive line made progress from last week, with the left side of rookie Ereck Flowers and guard Justin Pugh looking particularly strong. They played the entire first half to work on their chemistry.
"I think you saw some drives tonight," Pugh said. "We had some nice runs tonight, we had a screen that was called back that was hot, but we're going to put points on the board. I know that."
Andre Williams had an 11-yard run on a nice cut to the outside -- a play he likely would not have made last year as a rookie -- and Shane Vereen had a 10-yard run. And the Giants starters have not had a turnover in their two games.
The Giants defense gave up big chunks of yardage and allowed the Jaguars three long drives of 10 or more plays. But each of those ended with a field goal and the Giants trailed 9-6 at halftime. Josh Brown kicked his second field goal of 50 or more yards in the third quarter to tie the score at 9 and then a 37-yarder later in the quarter to give the Giants their first lead of the preseason at 12-9.