Pre­sea­son was a per­fect 4, but does it mat­ter?

Play­ers be­lieve good show­ing will push them to bet­ter reg­u­lar sea­son

The Morning Call - - NFL - By Tom Cana­van

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — It’s tough to say what a per­fect pre­sea­son means for the New York Gi­ants in their sec­ond sea­son of a re­build un­der coach Pat Shur­mur and gen­eral man­ager Dave Get­tle­man.

Per­fec­tion in mean­ing­less games doesn’t al­ways carry over to the reg­u­lar sea­son.

The pre­vi­ous time New York was un­de­feated in the pre­sea­son was 2014. The reg­u­lar-sea­son mark was 6-10. It was one of six times in the past seven sea­sons the Gi­ants have failed to make the post­sea­son.

So what does this lat­est per­fect pre­sea­son mean?

The an­swer may not be in the record. It might be see­ing how the team re­acted af­ter Kyle Lauletta threw a 14-yard touch­down to Alonzo Rus­sell as time ex­pired to give the Gi­ants a 31-29 win over the Su­per Bowl cham­pion New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots on Thurs­day night.

The bench emp­tied on the field as if the team had won a play­off game af­ter Lauletta ex­e­cuted a 15-play, 70-yard drive with no time­outs to rally New York from a 29-10 half­time deficit.

The feel­ing was cer­tainly dif­fer­ent than the past two years, when New York won a to­tal of eight games.

“I think, re­gard­less of what that game meant, for the play­ers in­volved it meant that we won and the ex­cite­ment of win­ning showed up,” Shur­mur said Fri­day. “I think that there is some­thing good to that.”

Be­sides the record, the Gi­ants have posted some im­pres­sive pre­sea­son sta­tis­tics.

Daniel Jones, the No. 6 pick in the draft and heir ap­par­ent to 38-year-old Eli Man­ning, was the NFL pre­sea­son pass­ing leader with a 137.3 passer rat­ing. He hit 29 of 34 for 416 yards and two touch­downs in show­ing he is ready should Man­ning be in­jured or fal­ter.

New York’s nine TD passes were a league high along with its points (119), av­er­age pass­ing yards (305.5) and to­tal of­fense (393).

If there was some­thing the Gi­ants — 5-11 in 2018 — lacked last sea­son, it was the abil­ity to fin­ish. New York lost eight games by seven points or fewer, with the de­fense giv­ing up the de­cid­ing points in the fi­nal two min­utes four times.

The de­fense gave up 87 points in the pre­sea­son, fifth-worst in the NFC. Still, the Gi­ants won every game, and win­ning is some­thing play­ers chase.

“I think that even though the pre­sea­son doesn’t count, putting wins on the board and feel­ing that at­mos­phere, how the locker room is af­ter the game, and show­ing that if you stay to­gether and fight for the whole 60 min­utes, it gives you the best pos­si­ble chance to win the ball game,” safety Jabrill Pep­pers said. “It def­i­nitely gives you things to build off of [and] things to coach on.”

Tight end Evan En­gram said there is a feel­ing of fam­ily on this team af­ter a com­pet­i­tive train­ing camp. He be­lieves hav­ing a per­fect pre­sea­son will carry over.

“That’s def­i­nitely go­ing to help us on Sun­days be­cause we put our­selves in those mo­ments each and every day at prac­tice,” En­gram said of the come­back. “We put our­selves in those mo­ments in games, so when it’s reg­u­lar sea­son and it re­ally counts, we are ready for it.

“We can trust each other and we can de­pend on each other — that’s some­thing that’s dif­fer­ent about the team that we can keep build­ing on go­ing into the sea­son.”

We will see. It all starts Sunday in Dal­las. By the way, prior to 2014 the Gi­ants posted per­fect pre­sea­sons in 2006, 1990 and 1985. They won the Su­per Bowl in ’90. They lost in the play­offs in ’85 and ’06, and won the Su­per Bowl the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Just some­thing to think about.

STEVEN SENNE/AP

QB Kyle Lauletta led a game-win­ning drive against the Pa­tri­ots in the pre­sea­son fi­nale that helped the Gi­ants fin­ish 4-0.

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