It’s Giants vs. Jets, for crying out loud!
It’s a preseason game. The result really doesn’t matter. The important part will still be how well the Giants play, and which guys step forward or backward in the myriad of position battles that are still ongoing.
Still, it’s the Big Brother Giants against the Little Brother Jets. It’s a Jets home game, so the stadium is going to be all decked out in annoying Jets green. And, yes, we just made ‘annoying Jets green’ an official part of the color palette.
Coach Pat Shurmur doesn’t seem all that interested in rivalry talk.
“I’ve heard a little bit, but I’m also a guy who thinks you can root for the Yankees and then root for the Mets. But you know I’m a little off center. We’re going to go out and compete with the Jets and try to do what we can to get our team right, and do what we can to try to win the game. That runs parallel, and I’ve heard there’s a little bit of a rivalry here, so we’ll deal with it,” he said. “I think we’re both going to play this game with the same thing in mind – get our team better, find out what our team is all about.”
Still, no Giants fan wants their team to lose to, or look bad against, the Jets.
It’s the ‘dress rehearsal’
That means you will see more from the starters than you will in any other preseason game. You won’t see Saquon Barkley. My guess is that you won’t see Odell Beckham Jr., or if you do it will only be for a very brief cameo. You should see extended play from Eli Manning and the Giants starting offensive line. From the starting defense.
This will be a good chance to judge just how far the Giants are from being ready for the start of the season, which comes Sept. 9 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That Darnold guy
The Giants passed on quarterback Sam Darnold in the 2018 NFL Draft, taking running back Saquon Barkley instead. Unless you have been living under a rock — or on a deserted island — you know that lots of people have made lots of fuss over that decision.
Well, Friday night you won’t get a look at Barkley. You will get a look at Darnold. Thus, you can see for yourself what the Giants passed on.
You can’t actively root “for” the guy if you are a Giants fan. After he missed basically two full years because of a devastating non-contact knee injury it’s hard, though, not to be happy that the guy is back in action. And apparently playing well. Good for him.
A long look at the offensive line
We have only seen glimpses thus far of the Giants revamped offensive line. Some of those glimpses have been encouraging. Some have been frightening. We get our longest preseason look at this group on Friday, and that should give us an idea of just where this group stands and whether or not there should be concern as the season draws near.
You could get some roster hints
Everybody wants to know who will be on the final 53-man roster. Which, by the way, is hardly final. It usually starts changing the day after it is announced, when waiver claims are granted, and continues to change right through the end of the season.
Regardless, everybody wants to know who will be on the roster when the Giants face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 9. Friday night should offer some hints.
As noted above, starters and front-line players will see extended playing time Friday night. Still, much of the intrigue as preseason winds down involves the bottom of the roster and which guys will win the myriad of position battles currently taking place.
The game vs. the Jets should offer some clues. There will be a limited number of snaps available once the starters exit the game. The guys who get the majority of them are the ones most likely to be the backups, to win the position battles at spots like cornerback, offensive line, tight end, wide receiver and other places where the composition of the roster remains in question.
Seeing who gets an edge in position battles
Dan [defense] and Chris [offense] already did a fantastic job in breaking down the position battles to pay attention to Friday night. I’m not going to belabor each and every one or re-write their work. There are, however, a few that I’m particularly interested in.
- Can undrafted free agent Robert Martin continue his excellent preseason and force the Giants to find a spot for him on the 53-man roster?
- With Hunter Sharp and Kalif Raymond having opened the door, will the Giants look at Cody Latimer on kickoff returns? Will someone else get an opportunity to return punts?
- Can Donte Deayon make up for lost time in the fight to a spot at cornerback, maybe even the starting role in the slot? After missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, Deayon has to play well to have any hope.
- Is there still time, and opportunity, for an early training camp sensation like Amba Etta-Tawo to land a roster spot?
- Can Jonathan Stewart show us one run, just one, that will at least temporarily quell all the complaining about why the Giants signed him to begin with?