New York Giants
8.05.02 | 7pm
August 1, 2002
Giant First Step
by Jimmy Mohr
The wait is over.
The NFL returns to Houston Monday night when the Texans take on the Giants in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Who cares if it’s only a preseason game? It may as well be the Super Bowl as far as I’m concerned.
It has been six long seasons since Sunday afternoon had any significance. Three years removed from being named the NFL’s 32nd franchise, the Texans will have the honor of playing in the first Monday Night Football game of the 2002 season. It will also be the first game for John Madden in the ABC booth. It will be interesting to hear Maddens’ perspective on our new team: what will he think of the defense Dom Capers is installing? What will he have to say about David Carr?
And what better way to kick off a new franchise in Houston than on Monday night, an evening once owned by E.C., Earl Campbell? ABC is bound to break out Earl’s rumble to the endzone against the Dolphins in ’78 and if that doesn’t get the juices flowing, I think a spot just opened up on the Cowboys’ bandwagon. HOUS-TON! TEX-ANS! HOUS-TON! TEX-ANS!
When Houston has the ball
Look for offensive coordinator Chris Palmer to keep it simple. The Texans are a young team learning a new system, so there’s no point in complicating matters this early in the process. The offense needs to get a few games under its belt before opening up the floodgates.
Plus, they need to keep things nice and easy for David Carr. He has enough pressure on him already without having to memorize a gameplan drawn up by Tolstoy. The running backs should get a big workout.
When New York has the ball
Look for the Giants to challenge the Texans’ front seven, especially with DL Gary Walker out due to injury. RBs Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne will be asked, as usual, to control the football and grind out the clock.
1. Control Michael Strahan
With LT Tony Boselli out, rookie Chester Pitts will have to deal with the all-time single season sack leader. Fortunately, Strahan’s appearance should be brief since it’s a preseason game, so as long as none of our offensive linemen get any of their limbs wedged between Strahan’s front teeth, his impact should be minimal.
2. Keep Mistakes to a Minimum
An obvious key to any game, but most important for the Texans. As mentioned earlier, David Carr needs to be allowed to get his feet wet. Fresno State is a long way form Canton, Ohio and the Hall of Fame.
Look for lots of Jim Petersen-like confidence boosters: short routes and screen passes to help build Carr’s confidence in his first game as a professional. Most importantly, the running backs need to hold onto the ball. Fumbles will kill any chance the Texans have of winning the game; with an brand new offense, overcoming an early deficit is unlikely.
3. Special Teams
Perhaps one of the most important areas for the Texans to concentrate on. It’s imperative that the Texans’ offense is given good field position to work with since it’ll likely have difficulty sustaining long drives. Plus, back to Carr, a shorter field will help take some of the pressure off of him.
Texan offensive line v. Giant defensive line
The battle in the trenches will decide this game. Without Boselli, Pitts and others will have to really pick up the slack. Defensively, if the Giants are able to move the ball on the ground, it could be a long day for the home team. Actually, since it’s preseason, it’ll likely be a long day anyway, but…
Chad Stanley v. Aaron Langley v. John Baker
Punter may very well be the most important battle in camp; Monday will be the first chance for these guys to establish themselves as either legitimate contenders or practice squad fodder.
John Madden v. Dennis Miller
What do you want from me?! It’s preseason! Like any of this really matters? Work with me, people!
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: The first TD in Texan history will be a Quinn-to-Insley pass, but the 2-point conversion fails. New York 24, Texans 9
Dave: Opening night jitters and lack of depth conspire to foil Texans debut. Giants 21, Texans 13
Jimmy: The Texans win because the game means more to the them. Texans 21, Giants 13
Keith: Expansion teams have ruled the Canton roost; the Texans will too. Texans 16, Giants 10
Ric: The only winner that matters this week is the city of Houston. Giants 25, Texans 10
Warren: Game plans sponsored by new Vanilla Coke on a sweet night for Houston. Texans 19, Giants 17 TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Graham 19 13 131 2/0 TEAM NA NA NA NA RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Allen 135 469 3.5 1 TEAM NA NA NA NA REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 31 526 17 2 TEAM NA NA NA NA GIANTS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Collins 568 327 3764 19/16 TEAM 568 327 3764 19/16 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Barber 166 865 5.5 4 TEAM 424 1777 4.2 11 REC NO YDS AVG TD Toomer 72 1054 14.6 5 TEAM 327 3764 11.5 19 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review