The New York Giants, after three days of practicing against them, face the Detroit Lions on Friday in a preseason game (7 p.m. ET/NFL Network, WNBC). Jeremy Reisman of SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit provided us with practice reports [Day 1 | Day 2] this week. So, we turn to Jeremy for our weekly “5 questions” segment.
Ed: First, thank you so much for the practice reports this week. They were a huge help. After watching the Giants for a few days what is your overall, perhaps “high-level” impression of this Giants team?
Jeremy: While it’s hard to glean anything from two sets of practices with no live tackling and a walk-through, I came away thinking more of this Giants team than I did after their Week 2 matchup last season. The defensive line looks fierce and is the clear strength of this roster. I feel like that should carry what should be a pretty average offense with the potential of being slightly above average.
My reasoning for thinking the Giants will just be average on offense is because outside of Odell Beckham Jr. (who, admittedly, looks as good as ever), I didn’t see any standout skill players. Obviously, Saquon Barkley didn’t give it a go during practice and he can be a game-changer, but we’ll see. Also, any time Ereck Flowers is in your starting lineup, there should be significant anxiety for your quarterback’s health.
Ed: Personally, I’m really interested in Tyrell Crosby. He is a player I had targeted as a tackle prospect I thought would help the Giants. The Lions drafted him. How has he done thus far?
Jeremy: Crosby is already considered the Lions’ third best offensive tackle on the team, which is both a testament to his talent and the Lions’ lack of depth at the position. He’s been pretty impressive in training camp, but he had a rocky preseason debut. Part of the reason for that disconnect is likely the talent he’s going up against. The Raiders defensive line depth is much better than the Lions’.
Still, Detroit feels they got a steal in Crosby, nabbing him in the fifth round, and although he isn’t expected to start this year, many believe he is a long-term contender for Detroit’s starting right tackle position.
Ed: If you could take one offensive and one defensive player off the Giants roster and put him in Detroit’s lineup, who would they be? Why?
Jeremy: On offense, I would probably take Evan Engram. The Lions’ tight end corps is looking for some answers after giving up on Eric Ebron last year, and the trio of Michael Roberts, Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo hasn’t given much reason for optimism. I like Engram’s athleticism and I think the young tight end could build on an impressive rookie year this season.
Defensively, please give me Damon Harrison. Seriously, I’ll do anything. Okay, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter, Ed.
Snacks is the kind of player you have to game plan around, and the Lions defensive line just doesn’t have a guy like that, unless Ezekiel Ansah suddenly proves he can stay healthy for more than a week at a time. Detroit has already showed some issues defending the run this preseason, and Harrison would put a quick end to that problem.
Ed: Give us some under-the-radar players Giants fans might not know much about, but are likely to notice on Friday night?
Jeremy: Wide receiver Teo Redding has been your prototypical camp darling through the first couple weeks. He underwhelmed in the preseason opener, but 6-foot-1 receiver has the athleticism to go up and snag the ball away from shorter cornerbacks. Additionally, tight end Hakeem Valles had an excellent string of practices against the Giants this week and could make a huge impact during the second half of Friday’s game.
Ed: There are many fans who wanted Matt Patricia to be the Giants head coach. What are your impressions of Patricia thus far?
Jeremy: When the sexual assault allegations from 20 years ago were unearthed, it understandably fractured the fanbase. Off-field stuff aside, I like the idea of Matt Patricia. In a lot of ways, he’s the opposite of Jim Caldwell. Instead of the conservative old-school thinker, Patricia is a guy who is always adapting, always adjusting his schemes and is just a really smart dude. Though his press conferences are always extremely short on useful news, they’re typically entertaining to listen to, because you can tell just how much this guy knows about the game.
I’m not that concerned about the poor track record of New England Patriots assistants-turned-head coaches, seeing as he already has a built-in rapport with general manager Bob Quinn (they worked aside each other for over a decade in New England). That being said, Patricia has quite the task ahead of him, and I’m reserving full judgment until I see some actual results.