Oh, the irony.
New England Patriots head coach and notorious rules-bender Bill Belichick didn’t sound happy Friday that the Giants blitzed more often than the unwritten rules of the vanilla NFL preseason dictate.
“With what the Giants were doing, there’s a lot of reasons for some of the things that we did just to try to manage the game,” Belichick said when asked why his offense didn’t include play-action passes. “So, just leave it at that.”
Blitz-happy defensive coordinator Wink Martindale sent extra rushers at rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe on 17 of his 33 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. The Patriots faced 21 blitzes from the Giants — 13 more than in any of their previous four Week 1 preseason games, according to NESN.
“There were coaching points and little technique things that the Giants did that our defense doesn’t do — or that we haven’t seen from our defense — that we can all learn from,” Belichick said Friday after the Giants’ 23-21 preseason win over the Patriots.
Journeyman linebacker Austin Calitro, who had a fourth-quarter interception on a blitz-forced quick throw, said the Giants’ defense was scaled back.
“We kept it simple enough for everyone — especially the younger guys — to show off their style and what we can do,” Calitro said.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll did not offer any injury updates on OG Shane Lemieux (left foot in walking boot), CB Cor’Dale Flott (groin) or center Jamil Douglas (ankle).
Asked for updates on WR Sterling Shepard, OL Nick Gates and edge rusher Azeez Ojulari — none of whom have practiced during training camp because of preexisting injuries — Daboll said: “In terms of a time frame, I can’t give it to you right now, but they are getting closer.”
The Giants left 16 players home from the trip to Foxborough, Mass., because of injuries.
“Our ultimate goal is to get to Week 1 as healthy as we can with the right roster,” Daboll said. “The guys that we don’t think are quite ready, or maybe need a little bit more time, we’re going to help them get as good as they can so that we’ll get the best version of them when they’re ready to go.”
Richie James described his 7-yard touchdown catch from Tyrod Taylor as “one of those situations where you just get open and play ball.” That is a hint at the “freedom within your route” to get open that Giants receivers are raving about this training camp.