The New York Giants open another week of training camp on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. In a signal that we are getting closer to the real deal, it is a week that will end with the Giants facing the New York Jets in their preseason opener Saturday evening at MetLife Stadium.
Let’s get to some ‘things I think’ as the Giants continue to get ready for a new season.
Offensive line woes
The last few practices have been rough for the Giants’ offensive line, and it is understandable that there is some restlessness in the fan base. Still, I think it’s far too early to simply conclude that the line will be terrible, Daniel Jones will be running for his life, Saquon Barkley won’t have anyplace to run and this version of the line is already a failure.
The Giants were caught off guard by the retirements of Zach Fulton and Joe Looney, two veteran players they were counting on to provide — at least — depth and flexibility. They have, for the most part, been working without starter Shane Lemieux since his knee injury early in camp.
Kenny Wiggins, a journeyman who played one snap last season, has spent much of his time running with the first-team offense recently. Nate Solder and Nick Gates have filled in at guard.
The Giants had signed Fulton and Looney for a reason, and it is obvious they need to add at least one experience interior offensive lineman. They know that. I’m sure they will add at that spot. Will it happen today? Tomorrow? When cuts are made around the league at the end of the preseason?
The idea is to find someone who can help, not just rush to fill a spot.
If you want to be critical of the Giants for not selecting an interior offensive lineman like Wyatt Davis in Round 3 or Trey Smith in Round 6, I get it. I was a bit surprised, too, but the Giants made that bed and it is too early to draw conclusions.
As Lemieux works his way back and Matt Peart takes more and more reps after starting camp on the PUP list, I think the starting five will solidify and look better. There is time to figure out the depth.
Fans? In the stands? Remember those?
The Giants get to play in front of fans twice this week. They will hold a ‘FanFest’ on Wednesday evening at MetLife Stadium. The Giants announced weeks ago they had reached “ticketed capacity” for the event. The exact number of tickets considered capacity is unknown, but that promises to be a fun night.
Saturday’s preseason opener vs. the New York Jets will the first football game with fans in attendance. Preseason or not, I know I’m looking forward to it. I would think players and coaches are, too.
With only three preseason games, it is going to be interesting to see how Joe Judge approaches reps in those games. I suspect there will be differing approaches throughout the league.
One thing to consider: The final preseason game (vs. the New England Patriots) is Aug. 29. The regular-season opener is Aug. 12, two full weeks later. I wonder if that might lead Judge to use that third game as the “dress rehearsal” game, giving starters extended playing time.
Big week for injured players
I don’t know at this point which of the injured will return to practice this week. I do know that if guys like Elerson Smith, Aaron Robinson, Oshane Ximines, Ryan Anderson and Rysen John want a chance to be Week 1 contributors they need to get on the field soon.
53-man roster projection
I had a request over the weekend for a “rolling” 53-man roster projection that would be updated daily. To use a Joe Judge phrase, I don’t think I want to ride that roller coaster.
What I am intending to do is post roster projections prior to each preseason game, and then right before cut down day on Aug. 31.
It is also noteworthy that a cut down from 90 players to 85 has to be made on Aug. 17, eight days from now. So, there are a few guy on the roster today who won’t be going to Ohio for joint practices with the Cleveland Browns.