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Giants 22, Jets 16: Winners, losers in Giants’ position battles

Which Giants won — or lost — in their position battles Friday night?

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

The New York Giants still have one more preseason game to play, which means that players on the roster bubble have one more game in which they can impress coaches before the big cutdown before the regular season.

But Friday night's game against the New York Jets might have been several player's last, best, chance to make a difference in their roster battles.


Offensive Line - Patrick Omameh struggles with the starters

The Giants' starting lineup might be set, but the battle down the depth chart rages on. Not only are players battling against one another, but also with players who might be cut around the league.

After the first half the Giants have to be concerned about the right guard spot on their starting offensive line. Omameh proved to be a liability in both the run and the pass. He was repeatedly beaten by the Jets’ starting defense, and struggled both as a pass protector and run blocker. He will likely remain the starting right guard, but he has not closed the door on his competition.

Meanwhile, Brett Jones and John Greco continue to be a solid duo at center and right guard (respectively) on the second team offensive line. The Giants were inconsistent moving the ball on the ground in the second half, but at first blush, those two seemed to win their battles.

Wide receiver - Hunter Sharp has an exciting return, flops as a receiver

The Giants have featured a two-tight end package throughout the preseason, suggesting that they won't rely on the wide receiver position as heavily as in years past. However, there is still a huge number of players vying for spots behind Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Cody Latimer -- Not to mention for the role of return man on special teams.

Wide receiver/returner Hunter Sharp had a couple nice returns, which might help his case to make the roster, but he also missed a pair of receptions which lead to stalled drives.

His competition, Kalif Raymond also had a pair of exciting returns, but also failed to haul in his lone reception.

Elsewhere on the receiving depth chart, Alonzo Russell and Russell Shepard both impressed with long receptions.

Running back - Jonathan Stewart stumbles in start

Realistically, at this point only two questions face the Giants at the running back position. The first is whetherWayne Gallman can force his way past Jonathan Stewart on the depth chart. The second is whether one of the young running backs, FB Shane Smith, or H-Back Garrett Dickerson can force the team to carry four backs.

Wayne Gallman once again made a strong push for the RB 2 or 1b (as the case may be) job behind Saquon Barkley after Jonathan Stewart lost seven yards on 3 carries and lost a fumble. The Giants’ offensive line didn’t do much for Gallman, who used his agility and burst to hit holes that were only open briefly or to run through arm tackles at the line of scrimmage.

Newly added running back Jhurell Pressley was the third running back on the field. His speed and quickness impressed, quickly hitting the hole, using subtle moves to elude would-be tacklers, and carrying defenders when he had to. If he can show something as a returner in practice, he might force the Giants hand.

As an aside, Friday night had to be a rough night for Orleans Darkwa. He has had workouts with a couple teams, but he had to sit at home while Stewart — who, for all intents and purposes took his job — has averaged -.5 yards per carry and lost a fumble.


Dalvin Tomlinson and Kerry Wynn continue their strong pre-seasons

The Giants' defensive line is proving to be much deeper, and much better, than many would have thought before the start of the preseason. The Giants might be forced to make some difficult decisions and cut talented players.

The winners on the defensive line had to be Tomlinson and Wynn. The two have been human wrecking balls this pre-season, and this game was no different. Tomlinson gave the Jets’ starting offensive line all it could handle, making an impact in both the pass and in the running game.

If any of the defensive linemen hurt themselves, it might have been Robert Thomas who had a penalty to extend a Jets’ drive which lead to points.

Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris picked on in the second half

The Giants' depth at the cornerback position is worrisome to say the least. The team might even have some valid concerns about the starting duo of Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. But even if those two exceed expectations, the team might still have concerns.

Eli Apple got dinged with a holding penalty early, but rebounded with a nice pass breakup. Other than that the cornerbacks at the top of the giants’ depth chart didn’t really distinguish themselves either way. Sam Darnold completed just 50 percent of his passes for 86 total yards, most of which came on mismatches against linebackers. All told, the Giants’ secondary did not embarrass itself.

In the battle down the depth chart, reserve corner Chris Lewis-Harris was the loser on the night. He was targeted frequently by Teddy Bridgewater, and gave up a few receptions.

Michael Thomas shows up again

Landon Collins is entrenched as not just one starting safety, but also one of the best players on the Giants' defense and in the League as a whole. Beyond Collins, the team is still searching for answers at the free safety position.

Curtis Riley got the start and was largely invisible, which is not a bad look for a free safety. If there was a loser, it was Darian Thompson who has watched his starting job slip away while he was injured.

Meanwhile, Michael Thomas continues to flash with the second-team defense. A few times he came flying downhill to help make stops, impressing on both special teams and as a defender.