John Fennelly, Lead Writer
It’s Week Two of the preseason for everyone else but it’s Week Three for the Giants, meaning it’s time for Big Blue to start to put some things together. Here’s what I believe we’ll see tonight:
The new scheme has to start coming together. We’ve seen the Giants run the ball and throw short to the backs with success. What we haven’t seen is QB Eli Manning hit his wideouts either short or deep with any consistency. It would soothe everyone’s angst if Eli connected with Victor Cruz and/or Rueben Randle on some plays early on tonight. Can Corey Washington and Marcus Harris continue to impress? I think they will…
The opening day starting offensive line will be on the field tonight with the return of LT Will Beatty. It would be good to see him getting back in the swing of things. If they can gel the next few weeks, everyone will feel a lot better going into the season. It looks like Brandon Mosley is on the verge of becoming the new RG.
The TE conundrum is far from settled. Unfortunately, Daniel Fells will not play. He looks to be the best of the bunch when the ones are out there. Larry Donnell will get a lot of looks in his place. I’d like to see him make a few plays tonight. Kellen Davis will get some run but Adrien Robinson is running out of time. The Giants had him in with the ones this week, so they may give him more reps tonight to see what he can do with them.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul looked better last week vs Pittsburgh and will try to build off that. The Giants need him to. Damontre Moore will be around the QB (and the ball) as usual. Would like to see the line put together another solid effort tonight. Need to see more out of Jon Hankins and Markus Kuhn and probably will with Mike Patterson (shoulder) sidelined. Will rookie DE Jordan Stanton keep his sack streak alive this week?
The LBs have fared well thus far. It’s amazing how much better the Giants defense is when Jacquian Williams is healthy. I look for the leadership of Jameel McClain to continue in the absence of MLB Jon Beason. Devon Kennard is will be worth keeping an eye on. Spencer Paysinger, Spencer Adkins and Mark Herzlich are all coming of strong games vs Pittsburgh.
The secondary is the key to the defense. With teams staying away from CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara is seeing most of the action. He’s handled it well. Slot corner Walter Thurmond III is the glue of the unit, however. His ability to shut down his man makes the safeties more effective. And when your safeties are Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown, that’s a good thing. Trumaine McBride, who is having a nice camp, returns after being held out the first two games. Zack Bowman has been a nice addition at corner but his physical play is causing him – and others – to get flagged under the newly-scrutinized rules. Will they back off a bit tonight?
Josh Brown has done nothing to lose his PK job, even with the strong-legged Brandon McManus pushing him at every twist and turn. McManus showed some inconsistency at camp this week, but he’s gone toe-to-toe with Brown the first two preseason games. It’s still a tight contest at this point.
WR Preston Parker could be joined by a few others this week at PR, but expect him to get most of the reps. Odell Beckham, Jr. could be used there when he returns next week. The KRs should be Quntin Demps and Jerrel Jernigan, but the Giants could give some others a look-see tonight. When – or if – Trindon Holliday (hamstring) returns is still uncertain.