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Giants vs. Lions: Giants offensive players who need strong performances

Which Giants players need to distinguish themselves on offense Friday night?

NFL: Cleveland Browns at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Giants offense takes the field against the Detroit Lions Friday night, the coaching staff will be evaluating a number of position battles across the roster.

The team established a baseline for these position battles with their first preseason game. With the next three games, coaches will be looking to see which players grow and distinguish themselves over their previous performances. These battles will be played out on the field over the next three weeks, and here are some players who need to perform on the field to force the battles into their favor.

Davis Webb

This wasn’t a competition before the Giants’ played the Cleveland Browns last week, but is now after a very shaky performance from Davis Webb and some solid play from the rookie Kyle Lauletta.

Webb apparently let his emotions get the better of him in his first truly meaningful snaps since Cal’s season wrapped up in 2016, and he struggled to control the football. He will need to show that he can play with a cool head and trust his mechanics in a live game situation, and have a good showing to put the coaches’ minds at east with him as Eli Manning’s backup.

Jon Halapio and Brett Jones

After giving up a sack of Eli and apparently being outplayed by Brett Jones, it would stand to reason that Jon Halapio would need to step up and deliver a solid performance in Detroit. However, Halapio apparently retains a firm grasp on the starting job in practices since that game.

So it might just be Jones who needs to come out with a strong performance, perhaps even dominant, to get his foot in the door with the starting line.

Backup offensive linemen

The loser of the battle for the starting center job will likely be one of the offensive line’s primary back-ups. Otherwise, John Jerry, Zac Kerin, and Chris Scott are in a battle with John Greco for another back-up position. Greco appears in the lead after a stand-out performance at both guard and center for the Giants. The others, particularly Jerry, will need to play well to unseat Greco.

On the outside, Chad Wheeler is in a fight with Nick Becton and Malcolm Bunche for the swing tackle job. Wheeler showed improvement at both left and right tackle over his rookie season, but the Giants could really use a strong performance from him to feel better about their offensive line depth.

Reserve receivers

The Giants are still waiting for receivers to step up and define their depth chart behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

Hunter Sharp didn’t do much with his opportunity with the starting offense and special teams. Meanwhile, Kalif Raymond needs to show improved route running this week.

Alonzo Russell and Cody Latimer have both had strong practices, but neither showed up in the box score against the Browns. Neither did Amba Etta-Tawo

Marquis Bundy was the Giants’ leading receiver last Thursday, catching two passes for 46 yards. That gives him a foundation to build off of, if he can.

Meanwhile, Travis Rudolph is dealing with an injury, Roger Lewis Jr. is buried on the depth chart, and Jawill Davis could use a highlight play to separate himself from the pack.

More-so than any one receiver needing a strong performance the Giants need one (or more) of their receivers to distinguish themselves on game day.

Scott Simonson and Garrett Dickerson

The top of the Giants’ tight end depth chart seems set with Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison as the starters, with Jerell Adams as the third tight end. Ryan O’Malley is currently injured, so the question at tight end is whether or not Scott Simonson can force his way on to the roster.

There is also the question of Garrett Dickerson. Dickerson impressed in the off-season, but was held out of most of training camp. He might be a practice squad player at this point, but if he wants to carve out a role on the offense it would likely be as an H-back.

Shane Smith, Robert Martin, Jalen Simmons

Shane Smith has been getting snaps with the first team offense, but that is no guarantee of a roster spot. He will need to show that Giants that not only is he a better lead blocker than Rhett Ellison, but also a viable-enough receiver to be worth a roster spot on a team that values passes out of backfield.

Martin and Simmons were impressive in the Giants’ first preseason game, but in all likelihood are playing for spots on the practice squad. However, either could force the Giants’ hand with an impressive performance through the next three preseason games.