The funny thing about preseason football games is that the bad news and the good news often are the same news.
Being perfect in August is no good for anyone, so it’s almost ideal that a team come out of its preseason games — particularly the first one — with a long to-do list for the coming weeks.
Such is the case for the Giants after their 20-10 loss to the Browns on Thursday night. They didn’t do everything right in the game, but they now have a better idea of where they are and how far they need to go to be ready for Sept. 9.
“There’s plenty to learn from,” coach Pat Shurmur said on Friday in the middle of what he called a “modified” version of the way the Giants will function on the day after regular-season games with “lots of film work.”
Shurmur said the Giants’ passing game needs improvement. “We ran the ball well. We need to complete more passes,” he said after his four quarterbacks went a combined 22-for-45 for 193 yards. “I think that will help us.”
Of particular concern was Davis Webb’s 9-for-22 performance, which included several passes thrown too high or too hard. Webb, who had not played in a game situation in more than 11 months, admitted after the game that he was “antsy” and too “pumped up.”
“He is so prepared and he wants to do well, that’s just his personality, and he does get amped up a little bit,” Shurmur said. “But that’s not a bad thing. Wanting to do well is a good thing. I think we as coaches can just help him with that.”
He said he liked the way the Giants controlled the run. He thought the defensive backs had good coverage on Browns receivers, but the opposition still was able to make plays. “We need to make those plays as we move forward,” he said.
Shurmur wanted to see more takeaways but was pleased that the one the Giants did produce — a forced fumble by Kerry Wynn on a third-quarter punt — led to a touchdown.
“We didn’t score enough points,” Shurmur said. “That’s always what I would point to, but there are reasons for that in preseason games.”
One reason is that the Giants did not fully game plan for the Browns, running mostly vanilla plays on offense. That will change in September.
So will the gaffes, Shurmur hopes.
“I told the players that if each guy cleans up one mistake, then we end up being on the winning end of a game like that,” Shurmur said. “That’s our approach moving forward.”
Notes & quotes: Shurmur said he needs to see more before deciding who will win the four-man battle for starting free safety. “There were guys that were out there performing well, but in terms of saying this is the guy, I would say no,” Shurmur said. Darian Thompson got the start but left the game early with a hamstring injury. Andrew Adams and Michael Thomas played with the second team and Curtis Riley (hamstring) did not play . . . Besides Thompson’s injury, DL Kristjan Sokoli (knee) and LB Jordan Williams (concussion) left early . . . Shurmur said he was impressed by rookie RB Robert Martin (39 yards on five carries). “We’ve seen him in practice have some good runs,” Shurmur said. “He’s a hard, physical runner, and it showed up in the game.”