CINCINNATI - The Giants got on a plane home Friday night licking the wounds of a disappointing 23-10 preseason debut. But although the offense was unable to generate much of anything in its limited time on the field against the Bengals, the two joint practices against an opposing team provided more than enough encouragement to prevent the trip from being a total loss.

"It was a fruitful trip," running back Andre Williams said. "We got some good work in during the week . . . It was positive in the fact that we were able to get away from the monotony of camp, and that in itself was good for us because we were paying attention to what was going on rather than just saying, 'Let's get through today because in two weeks, camp will be over.' "

The Giants knew that their starters likely would get more out of the practices than the game in this five-day excursion.

"During the practice, we did some things that were promising," running back Rashad Jennings said. "It was very productive. This game doesn't dictate what we did out here at all. We know that as a team."

Having the game at the end of the trip may have been difficult for the Giants, who likely were a little road-weary by the time kickoff rolled around.

"It was a long week here," Eli Manning said. "A lot of nights, a little bit out of your normal routine of things."

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Jennings refused to use that as an excuse, but he did note in his usual philosophical way: "When it rains, things get wet. Everything has a cause and effect."

The Giants will return to practice at their own facility Sunday, no doubt happy to be home.

"The first game is always a little weird and you see the most growth between the first and second," Jennings said. "That's where I think we'll be able to get back home, get back in our routine, watch the film, see what we didn't do so well and grow from it."

And evaluate the week in Cincinnati as a whole, not based on a few dozen snaps from Friday night.

"It was good to get out here and get some positive work done with this team," Williams said.

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Even if that didn't happen in the actual game.