Well, we are two exhibition games in and we have learned a few things about the Giants.
We have learned that Domenik (see, I can spell it!) Hixon can play. So can Kenny Phillips. We have learned that the Giants can still hound quarterbacks even with Michael Strahan retired. We even learned that Lawrence Tynes doesn't like nice, plush grass.
So, let's take what we have learned and take another stab at projecting the season-opening 53-man roster. There are bound to be some changes since the last time I tried this, which was the day training camp opened.
Quarterbacks (3) -- Manning, Carr, Woodson.
As I said a few weeks ago, bye-bye Anthony Wright. The Giants will keep Andre Woodson, a guy they drafted hoping to develop into a quality backup. All David Carr has to do is be better than Wright, and thus far he has been (91.1 quarterback rating to 63.6).
Running Backs (5) -- Jacobs, Bradshaw, Ward, Ware, Hedgecock.
Have a nice life, Reuben Droughns! Danny Ware (16 carries, 115 yards and a 34.8 yard average on 5 kickoff returns) deserves a spot on this team. You can't turn away guys who can make big plays, and Ware looks like a guy who might be able to do just that.
Wide Receivers (6) -- Burress, Toomer, Hixon, Smith, Moss, Manningham.
I really want to find a spot for Brandon London, but I don't see how. Moss has shown big-play ability in both exhibition games -- remember how he blew past Cleveland corner Eric Wright last night and ended up drawing an interference penalty. If Mario Manningham gets healthy, he will make this team. The Giants drafted him too high to give up on him, even though he has yet to do anything. If he's not healthy, he'll go IR and London will make the squad. My guess is David Tyree stays on the PUP list until mid-season.
Tight ends (3) -- Boss, Matthews, Johnson.
This is what I figured when camp started, and nothing has happened to make me feel any differently.
Offensive Linemen (9) -- Diehl, Seubert, O'Hara, Snee, McKenzie, Reugamer, Whimper, Boothe, Koets.
Too bad about Shane Olivea. The Giants thought they had really stumbled upon an excellent, experienced backup at the tackle spots, but his back injury landed him on IR.
Defensive Linemen (8) -- Umenyiora, Tuck, Robbins, Cofield, Alford, Tollefson, Wynn, Nwagbuo.
Wallace Gilberry has been impressive, but he is a defensive end and the Giants already have too many of those. He could end up on the practice squad. I picked Ogemdi Nwagbuo to make the roster when camp started. I will stick with that, but the truth is I think the fourth defensive tackle on this team is probably a veteran who is in camp with somebody else right now.
Linebackers (7) -- Pierce, Kiwanuka, Wilkinson, Clark, DeOssie, Kehl, Blackburn.
All you Chase Blackburn fans out there can stop hating me now! I originally figured rookie Jonathan Goff might play Blackburn out of a job. Goff is hurt right now, though, and could be headed to IR. Even if he comes back, Blackburn deserves to stick around. He makes too many plays and is too good of a special teamer. A guess here is that if Goff is healthy the Giants carry an extra linebacker and only seven defensive linemen. The other difference here is that Danny Clark has clearly earned a starting nod over Gerris Wilkinson.
Cornerbacks (6) -- Ross, Webster, Madison, Thomas, Dockery, McQuarters.
R.W. McQuarters has been slowed by injuries during camp, opening a door for Geoffrey Pope. I still don't see McQuarters getting dumped, though.
Safeties (4) -- Phillips, Johnson, Knight, Butler.
Kenny Phillips must start. How this guy lasted to the 31st pick in the first round I will never know.
Specialists -- Jeff Feagles (punter); Lawrence Tynes (placekicker).
OK, so tell me what you agree with and where you think I'm wrong.