The first round of NFL roster cuts, when teams have to trim their rosters 90 players to 75, comes on Tuesday. With that in mind, here are five New York Giants who need solid performances Saturday night when the Giants host the New York Jets (7 p.m. ET) in the annual "MetLife Bowl."
Some of these will be "roster bubble" type players. Some of these will simply be veteran players the Giants really need to see something from as the regular season closes in.
The darling of the 2014 preseason and, well, still the darling of many Giants fans who don't understand why he is buried on the depth chart, Washington's roster spot is in serious jeopardy. The additions of Dwayne Harris and James Jones and the drafting of the impressive rookie Geremy Davis have pushed Washington even farther down in the wide receiver pecking order.
Washington has only three preseason catches for an average of 8.3 yards per catch. He was also pedestrian in the training camp practices I was able to attend. He needs a big night, or he could soon be looking for work.
No, Schwartz is not here because he is in danger of being cut. He is here because the Giants are still trying to figure out how healthy the veteran offensive lineman is, whether they can count on him when the regular season starts, and if he is in the starting lineup whether that should be at right guard or right tackle.
Well, my guess is we have talked about -- maybe complained about -- Kuhn enough to know why he is on this list. Pro Football Focus has Kuhn at -5.7 through two preseason games, worst on the Giants' defense. Also per PFF, his run-stop percentage is zero. Yes, zero. No run stops in 22 run snaps with just two tackles. We keep seeing Kuhn washed out of plays or pushed backwards. Yet, head coach Tom Coughlin recently praised the veteran's ability to anchor. It would be nice to actually see it.
Jayron Hosley/Mike Harris/Josh Gordy/Chandler Fenner
Beyond Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trumaine McBride and almost certainly Trevin Wade, the backup cornerback position is a muddle. How many will they keep? Which ones will they keep? Will they turn to the waiver wire once roster cuts are made? All of these guys could be considered to be on the roster bubble. Which of them will step up Saturday night?
The Giants drafted Hart, who didn't turn 21 until a few days ago, in the seventh round. They expected Hart to transition from the right tackle spot he played at Florida State to guard. Perhaps out of necessity, though, Hart has been used primarily at right tackle during camp and in the first two preseason games.
The youngster has been surprisingly effective, and the Giants have obviously noticed. When starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse left practice early Wednesday after being stepped on, Hart reportedly split first-team right tackle reps with Schwartz. In 31 pass-blocking snaps, he has given up just one pressure. That is a pass-blocking efficiency of 97.6 percent, best among Giants tackles thus far. Granted, that is against backups and players who won't be in the league, but it is still impressive.
The Giants likely see Hart as a developmental lineman, and he could still be ticketed for the practice squad. If he keeps impressing, though, could he sneak on to the 53-man roster?