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New York Giants position battles: What we learned Friday night

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Andre Williams, Greg Milhouse boosted their stock vs. Dolphins

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at New York Giants
Andre Williams
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Ben McAdoo has said that when it comes to building a roster preseason games would weigh more heavily than practice sessions. So, let’s look at a few of the position battles going on with the New York Giants and see what we can learn from Friday’s preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins.

Running back

Rashad Jennings is going to be the starter and Shane Vereen will handle the bulk of the pass-receiving duties.

What did we learn about the guys competing for jobs behind them?

First, as dismissive as we have been here at Big Blue View of Andre Williams after two sub-par seasons, Williams was really good Friday night. He carried nine times for 41 yards, including a 16-yard run. He is noticeably thinner than in the past and perhaps that is why he looked quicker. He also showed some one-cut ability, which hasn’t always been there.

Orleans Darkwa, who yours truly stumped for recently, ran hard in his two carries, gaining 16 yards. He also played well on special teams. If I was Darkwa, though, I would be concerned about only having played five offensive snaps.

Rookie Paul Perkins flashed his skills wtih seven carries for 36 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and two catches for 4 yards. He also botched a handoff, though, creating one of the Giants’ turnovers.

Bobby Rainey had a miserable night with two fumbles and a poor angle in punt coverage that led to a 28-yard return. Those miscues overshadowed his four carries for 17 yards.

Wide receiver

If you look purely at the number of receptions, no one stood out Friday. Geremy Davis, with two catches, was the only wide receiver with more than one reception.

The playing time, though, is the telling factor here. Davis and undrafted free agent Roger Lewis played the most snaps of the wide receivers, each getting 32. Both played extensively early in the game. Darius Powe got only 10 snaps and Anthony Dable got just seven in a late-game cameo.

Safety

Playing time again gives us an indication how the competition for spots behind Landon Collins and Darian Thompson is shaping up. Nat Berhe was inconsistent, but got 23 snaps. Cooper Taylor was on the field for 22 plays. Undrafted free agent Andrew Adams got 16 snaps, as did Mykkele Thompson. Bennett Jackson got only eight snaps.

Coach Ben McAdoo termed the fight for roster spots behind the starters an “open competition.”

“Nat Berhe got some good snaps in there, as did Mykkele Thompson. It is really an open competition there,” he said. “Cooper Taylor, you can throw in the mix, (Andrew) Adams, Bennett Jackson and (Justin) Currie -- it is an open competition there behind them.”

Defensive tackle

Undrafted free agent Greg Milhouse played only 16 snaps, but made the most of them with four tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit. Davon Coleman had two tackles and batted down a pass in 25 snaps. Jermelle Cudjo had one tackle for loss in 24 snaps. The picture behind Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins remains unclear.