Our New York Giants finally open their exhibition season tonight against Carolina. There will be an Open Thread for the game this evening.
While we wait, though, let's look around the Land of the Giants and see what we can find.
- Tonight is a big night for Derek Hagan, and he knows it.
He's emerged as an early training camp standout, coming up with tough catches and displaying a serious leaping ability -- not to mention countering a pesky reputation for having the drops. But his performance reinforces the tough decision awaiting the Giants at final roster cuts on Sept. 5.
The team currently has 10 receivers on its roster and probably won't be able to keep more than six. Barring injury, five of those players are considered locks: projected starters Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith, 2008 third-rounder Mario Manningham, and draft picks Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden. That leaves Hagan competing with fourth-year Giant Sinorice Moss and Super Bowl hero David Tyree for what could be a single locker.
"You can't look at the situation that's going to happen later on this month or early into September," Hagan said. "I've got a game to play. I've got a job to do."
- Running back Allen Patrick also understands that Andre Brown's injury has handed him an opportunity.
"Yeah, I feel like it's an opportunity knocking, it helped me better my chances, but at the same time that's one of our teammates we lost the other day," Patrick said yesterday.
If the Giants keep four running backs (in addition to fullback Madison Hedgecock), Patrick's chances just improved. Brown, a fourth-round pick from North Carolina State, was going to make the team. Patrick, the back who replaced Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma, was slowed by an ankle injury with the Sooners and has already been signed and waived by the Ravens and Browns.
- ESPN's Chris Mortensen chatted with Eli Manning at Giants camp a few days ago.
- Rookie linebacker Clint Sintim might be pushing Danny Clark for playing time, but Clark is not stepping aside quietly,
Twice this past week, Sintim took reps with the first-team defense; Tom Coughlin instantly cautioned not to read into anything. Sintim is behind 10-year vet Danny Clark at strong-side linebacker, but when it's time to put the pass-rushers in the game, Sintim -- who had 27 career sacks at Virginia -- could get the call.
"I'm not looking too deep into it," said Sintim, who makes his debut tomorrow night in the preseason opener against the Panthers.
Clark, 32, isn't looking into it too deeply, either. He started 15 games a year ago in his first season with the Giants and, while he likes what he's seen from Sintim, isn't ready to step aside.
"I've been playing some really good football in camp; he's learning from it," Clark said. "He'll play in this league a long time if he stays the course."
Asked if he feels Sintim getting work with the starters is an indication of anything, Clark said, "Not at all. I know when the lights come on we'll figure it out."
- Ralph Vacchiano has a nice interview with Lawrence Tynes.
DN: That was one of the strangest years ever in the NFL. You kick the team into the Super Bowl, you get hurt, but then you get healthy and your replacement isn’t missing.
LT: I couldn’t present a point that validated me kicking. You know, it’s weird how things work out. Spending a year with John Carney was a definite blessing for me. I picked up a lot of things that he taught me mentally and how to approach the game. I’ve always worked hard, but the mental approach is what separates guys. I picked his brain every time I could. We still talk once a week.