What should we look for Saturday when the New York Giants face the Indianapolis Colts in their third preseason game? Here are five things to watch for as the Giants hit the mid-point of their five game preseason schedule.
Progress On Offense
OK, so that is vague. How do we define progress? It would be nice to see the Giants' first-team offense string together some first downs and actually hit a few plays in the passing game.
"We would like to be a little bit more consistent and have a little bit better tempo on the offensive side of the ball," said head coach Tom Coughlin.
Eli Manning was only 0-for-2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Saturday. Does Coughlin think the Giants need to have some success throwing the ball down the field in the preseason?
"If the opportunity is there, yes. Is it something that is at the top of ‘Here is what we must do' board, no," Coughlin said. "Naturally, if the opportunity is there and you get the one-on-one matchup you'd like to have, you'd like to see what could happen with that."
Offensive Line Play
So, sure that is really a sub-section of 'progress on offense.' It is, however, a critical component and there are a couple of very interesting things to pay attention to on Saturday night.
First is the preseason debut of Will Beatty. Working his way back from the broken leg he suffered in last season's regular-season finale Beatty will start vs. the Colts. He is unlikely to play as many snaps as the other starters, but the ones he does play will be important.
"I have been looking forward to this moment," Beatty said. "I am expecting a lot from myself. I am going up against [Robert] Mathis, and it is his 11th year in the league, and knowing it's a preseason game, but his intensity to the game and how he plays it; he will look at it as a regular season game. Each snap he gets, he is going to give it his best. This is my marker of how well I have trained during the off-season to recover and get back to top shape."
The other position on the line that remains a question mark is right guard. Brandon Mosley has continued to take the first-team reps there, and Coughlin said he thought Mosley "had a pretty good week."
It will be interesting to see if Mosley can transfer that good week of practice to the game and solidify his status as the starting right guard. If he can't, maybe we see some adjustments at the guard spots next week.
The Giants have not surrendered many points in the first two games, but the first group surrendered significant chunks of yardage on the first two drives against the Steelers. Coughlin indicated Thursday he would like to see improvement.
"Right away, I would like to stop the run. I don't want anyone to run the ball on our first defense. We have kept people out of the end zone," Coughlin said.
Andrew Luck and the Colts should provide the Giants' highly-regarded secondary with it's best test to date.
"It's going to be a great test for us," said cornerback Walter Thurmond. "We're striving to be the best secondary group out there and one of the best defenses to play the game this year, so it's going to be a great test. They have a great ground game, Andrew Luck is a phenomenal passer. It's really going to test us."
Wide Receiver Competition
Can Corey Washington and Marcus Harris continue to impress? Preston Parker has gotten a number of opportunities, especially in the return game. He has been solid but has yet to make a noticeable 'splash' play. Can he come up with one? Can Mario Manningham, who seems to have lost some ground to the young players in the battle for roster spots, make up some of that ground?
Can Anyone Play Tight End?
Larry Donnell is the clear front-runner at that spot. This week. Next week, who knows? Let's see which guys make plays Saturday, both blocking and receiving.