What IS important is that tonight we begin to find out if all the work General Manager Jerry Reese and Coach Tom Coughlin have done to re-construct the Giants following last season's disappointment has paid dividends.
No, we won't get a full read. Starters, at least for the Giants, will play a quarter or less. Many Giants -- Chris Snee, Rich Seubert, Steve Smith, Keith Bulluck, Kenny Phillips, Kevin Boss, Sinorice Moss and Travis Beckum among them -- will not play at all.
We should, however, be able to get an idea where the Giants stand in several areas.
Here are some of the things I will be watching for tonight.
- Will Beatty's performance -- As I wrote earlier today, Beatty has had an awful first two weeks of training camp. Despite that, Beatty will start at left tackle tonight with David Diehl at left guard. Solid, mistake-free, work during whatever time he is in the game can go a long way toward erasing some of the problems he has had in camp. One way or another, the Giants need this guy. So, cross your fingers that you like what you see.
- Matt Dodge -- Maybe the rookie punter is named appropriately. His kicking in camp has been incredibly inconsistent, sort of like the auto industry the past few years. My take on Dodge is this -- there are times he will kick the Giants OUT of trouble with 65-yard bombs, and other times he will kick them INTO trouble with 30-35 ducks. Let's see how he handles having guys coming at him.
- Run Giants, run -- More precisely, can they run? Tonight might not be a good test with Guy Whimper at one guard instead of Snee, and with Shaun O'Hara and Diehl likely to only play a little but the Giants need to establish that they can open some holes. Coughlin has been looking forward to testing his running game against solid run defenses, and the Jets do possess one. So, let's see what happens there.
- Return Game -- Aaron Ross would appear to have a lock on the punt return job, though the Giants are curious to see Victor Cruz and Tim Brown (who won't play tonight). Kickoff return is another matter. D.J. Ware, Andre Brown, Cruz and Lord knows who else will get opportunities during the preseason. I think Coughlin and special teams coach Tom Quinn are as uncertain about who will emerge as the return guy as we are.
- Defense -- Probably pretty vanilla tonight, but the Giants have shown a lot of looks in camp. Mostly I want to see the Giants -- first team, second team, third team -- handle the run game efficiently. No big plays. I am especially looking forward to seeing if Linval Joseph can have an impact against the run while he is in the game.
There are lots of other things I'm curious about. Can Andre Brown make some plays? Will Jim Sorgi look efficient, or throw the ball into questionable spots as he has during camp? Will JPP make a couple of plays? Can anyone other than O'Hara snap a ball to a quarterback? Can Ramses Barden make a contribution?
Lots of reasons to watch tonight. Enjoy the game.
[Note: Lots more Giants-Jets coverage at SB Nation New York. ]