EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The progress made by the New York Giants' offense did not exactly light up the scoreboard, but they will accept the baby steps they managed.
The biggest positive so far has been the rushing game. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, who are expected to provide the one-two punch on the ground, combined for 343 of the Giants' 494 rushing yards (on 65 carries). That comes to a healthy average of 5.27 yards per carry.
In addition, Jennings and Williams have scored three of the four rushing touchdowns this summer for the Giants' offense.
"I thought we ran the ball early on and I thought that Jennings did a nice job with that," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "I thought that we blocked the run pretty well."
Another area of progress has been the play of backup quarterback Ryan Nassib, who has thrown five touchdown passes this summer and whose 116.1 passer rating is the best of the three roster signal callers.
Against the New York Jets, Nassib had his best game, engineering four scoring drives, three of which resulted in touchdown passes.
On those drives, his decision-making process was sharp, he distinguished when to throw with touch and when to drill the ball to the receiver, and his pre-snap reads were on the money, an example of which being his 31-yard touchdown pass to receiver Corey Washington coming after Nassib audibled out of a running play.
"He ran the offense well. He stuck the ball in there down the field well," Coughlin said. "He directed the running game into the right spots and that was a good thing as well."
For those few steps forward the offense took, there are still plenty of concerns as the Giants enter the final week of the preseason.
Injuries along the offensive line have necessitated the shuffling of players every practice. Guard Geoff Schwartz is potentially looking at missing a large chunk of time after dislocating his big toe; left tackle Will Beatty is still trying to get his surgically repaired leg back to its pre-injury state; and backup tackle/guard Charles Brown is nursing a shoulder injury.
With no chance to really jell, that has had an effect on the unit's pass protection. According to Pro Football Focus, starting quarterback Eli Manning was pressured on 23 drop-back attempts against the Jets, completing just one pass attempt and fumbling twice.
While Manning had his most solid game of the preseason, stats-wise, going 12 of 21 for 139 yards and one touchdown, the 11-year veteran still doesn't look comfortable running the new offense.
For example, there was one interception thrown by Manning on a pass intended for receiver Victor Cruz that was simply a horrible decision -- one of many Manning has made this preseason.
Fortunately for the Giants, that play was overruled when it was determined that Jets defensive back Kyle Wilson had stepped out of bounds before intercepting the pass.
Moving away from the offensive backfield, the tight end situation continues to be an Achilles' heel. The Giants' four active tight ends combined for zero receptions against the Jets, with Daniel Fells being the only one of the four to be targeted in the passing game.
The Giants tight ends have combined for nine of the team's 63 pass receptions this preseason.
Lastly, there is a matter of which receiver is going to step up to take the pressure off Cruz, the Giants' lone established playmaker. Without a playmaker to help draw some of the double teams away from Cruz, the Giants offense could be looking at a repeat of last year's struggles in the passing game.
"We still have to get better," Manning said after the game about the offense. "There are still too many mistakes and too many times we are having a penalty or a sack or something that just keeps us instead of going forward, we were going backwards on some plays and you get bad down and distance."
The problem is that time is running out for the offense to get better. Historically, the preseason finale is a game in which the starters don't play more than a series or two at most, though Coughlin said that he hasn't made any decisions about how far the starters will actually go.
"I'll think about that, but we don't play until (Thursday) night, so that's quite a hike," he said. "I would think that maybe we'll play some snaps with the ones."
NOTES: LG Geoff Schwartz (toe) will be examined by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte. His dislocated toe was described as being "pretty serious" by head coach Tom Coughlin and he could miss from six weeks to the entire season. ... WR Marcus Harris is expected to be out a while, according to Coughlin. Harris suffered a sprained AC joint in the win over the Jets, an injury that complicates the numbers at receivers. ... RB Peyton Hillis (ankle) will try to practice next week. Hillis has been sidelined for three weeks after turning his ankle during a practice. ... CB Prince Amukamara (groin) ran on the sideline this week and is unlikely to play in the preseason finale Thursday against the New England Patriots. ... LB Jon Beason (foot/PUP) continues to make progress, but there is no indication he will be removed from the PUP list before Thursday's game.