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Giants Q&A: More questions than answers for cornerbacks Baker and Hamilton

Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper catches the ball

Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper catches the ball for a touchdown in front of Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker in the first half of a game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday. Credit: LARRY W SMITH/EPA-EFE/Shuttersto/LARRY W SMITH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

DeAndre Baker and Antonio Hamilton are listed as co-starters at one of the two cornerback spots. How did they do in their first defensive snaps ever for the Giants?

Not too well.

Hamilton, who played special teams exclusively for the Giants last season, gave a few hints as to why with a series of botched coverages and missed tackles. His inability to stop Randall Cobb short of a first down on third-and-10 from the 18 turned into a 14-yard gain and set up the go-ahead-and-never-look-back touchdown.

“Execution,” Hamilton said of that play. “Gotta make the tackle. No excuse.”

Baker, a first-round pick of the Giants, didn’t give up a touchdown reception in his last two years in college. His NFL shutout streak ended before halftime of his first game when Amari Cooper beat him one-on-one.   

How did Baker react to his rare failure?

“It’s just an opportunity to bounce back and show what I can do,” he said. “Just fight through adversity. I didn’t have the best game that I wanted to have, so just bounce back and show what I can do next week.”   

How did Ezekiel Elliott play after his holdout this summer?

The Cowboys running back was still shaking Cabo sand from between his toes when he lined up against the Giants. He had 53 rushing yards on 13 carries, none for more than 10 yards, and scored a touchdown late in the game.

“Obviously, I was a little rusty,” Elliott said. “I didn’t play the best game. I have a lot to improve on. That’s going to take time and it’s about getting more reps and being out there longer.”   

How did the Giants’ new offensive line look?

Considerably better than anything the Giants have put on the field in recent years. Though they were hardly a dominant unit, they did open some nice holes for Saquon Barkley on runs and protected Eli Manning with some degree of success. Manning was sacked only once for 4 yards, although he was under pressure a few other times.

The starting right side of Mike Remmers and Kevin Zeitler get categorized as upgrades, if not a reason for optimism.   

How did the Giants’ offense look in its first game without Ode ... ?

Don’t say that name!

They showed flashes of competence. Evan Engram clearly will be playing a large role in attempting to replace the Pro Bowl wide receiver. Engram caught 11 passes on 14 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. New No. 1 receiver Sterling Shepard had six catches for 42 yards. Cody Latimer caught three passes for 74 yards, including a one-handed 43-yarder to start the second half. He was targeted eight times, the most of any receiver.  

Should pass interference have been called on the Hail Mary that ended the half?

Pat Shurmur thought so, though he had no recourse to challenge the play because it occurred within the final two minutes of the half. Still, he tried to get referee Walt Anderson to take a second glance at it. “I was just making a point to the official that they should take a good look and see if it was PI or not,” Shurmur said. That petition failed.  

Where do the Giants go from here?

They’ll try to fix the mistakes they made and move forward. It was an ugly loss, to be sure, but it was just one game. They will play the Bills at home Sunday.

“Half the league is 0-1,” safety Jabrill Peppers said, downplaying the significance of the opener.   

Is that accurate?

No. The Lions and Cardinals played to a tie. So the Giants don’t even get that consolation.

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