The New York Giants finish their preseason Thursday night vs. the New England Patriots (7:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network). Here are five things to watch as the Giants look to settle the final spots on their 53-man roster.
1. The Giants' offense: Starters will play 12-15 plays, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. One crisp drive that results in a touchdown would be a great thing to see from an offense that has struggled to make plays throughout the preseason.
2. The play of James Brewer: The Giants' new starting left guard is moving into a position that is unfamiliar to him. With David Diehl and David Baas out with injuries the Giants are running out of potential offensive line configurations. Looks for signs that Brewer understands his assignments and can hold up physically on the inside.
3. The play of Ryan Nassib: Best guess is that the rookie from Syracuse plays more snaps Thursday than any other Giants' quarterback. The assumption from most analysts throughout the preseason has been that the Giants will keep three quarterbacks, with Nassib being No. 3. The Giants usually keep only two quarterbacks. Nassib will have to show Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride he can handle the job to convince them they don't need to use a third roster spot on a quarterback.
4. The battle for roster spots in the secondary: Charles James, Trumaine McBride and Terrence Frederick are competing for a roster spot. James, an undrafted free agent, might have an advantage because he has shown the ability to handle punt return duties. He has two returns for 20 yards and three fair catches. There is also a decision to be made at safety. Rookie fifth-round pick Cooper Taylor has missed significant time with a hamstring injury. Can he get on the field Thursday and earn a spot on the roster? Can David Caldwell show he deserves a spot?
5. Sorting out the defensive line: Basically, the Giants have 15 talented players for what might be 10 spots. Defensive ends Adrian Tracy, Justin Trattou, Matt Broha and Adewale Ojomo will likely be fighting for a job Thursday. At defensive tackle someone from the troika of Marvin Austin, Mike Patterson and Shaun Rogers is not going to make the final roster.