FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Teams typically do not game plan a whole lot for preseason openers but it likely didn’t take the Patriots untold hours of film crunching to come up with a key concept for their offense:
Attack Aaron Robinson.
Robinson, a second-year player thrust into a first-line role, had a rough night because of it and did little to dispel the idea that he may be the weak link of the Giants’ defense ... even against the Patriots’ second-teamers.
The cornerback who has been elevated to a potential starting role this season was beaten for three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown in the first two series of the game on Thursday night.
He did make one play, batting away a pass intended for Kristian Wilkerson in the end zone ,but he followed that up by standing over the receiver with his arms extended to draw a taunting penalty that gave the Patriots a first down.
Robinson also was flagged for holding on the touchdown he allowed, grabbing Tyquan Thornton in the end zone before Thornton got free of him and caught the 2-yard pass from Brian Hoyer on the final play of the first quarter.
The Giants need Robinson to play well after releasing Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry in the offseason because of salary cap issues. Robinson was drafted with the idea of him being a nickel cornerback but has manned the starting outside corner vacated by Bradberry throughout the spring and summer. The Giants don’t have many other options behind him on the depth chart.
“He’s a good, young player to work with,” Brian Daboll said of Robinson at the start of training camp. “It’ll be a good camp for him to keep improving his skill set and compete with the other guys.”
If he keeps having performances like he did Thursday night, the Giants may have to look elsewhere to fill that spot.
Notes & quotes: LG Shane Lemieux left the game after the first drive with a toe injury and did not return. He was replaced on the second series by rookie Joshua Ezeudu, who played with the starting unit … WR Kadarius Toney and DL Leonard Williams did not travel with the team because of recent injuries. Toney was unable to complete Tuesday’s training camp practice and had to have his legs attended to by medical staff, and Williams remained in the training room during that workout … LB Blake Martinez, returning from a torn ACL, did not play. Rookie Darrian Beavers started in his place … Former Giants coach Joe Judge spent some time chatting with Giants officials and some players on the field before the game. Judge is now an offensive assistant for the Patriots after being fired by the Giants in January … Preseason results obviously don’t count in standings but they do mean quite a bit to some in the organization. New general manager Joe Schoen noted during the offeseason that the Bills, where he worked previously, had not lost a preseason game since 2018. “To me that was a sense of pride, being on the personnel side, because our depth players are better than your depth players,” he said. “Over time that’s what I would like it to be (here).”