Last week against the Steelers went okay. Team still needs considerable work against the run. LaRod Stephens-Howling ran 7 times for 40 yards in the first half alone. Andre Brown fumbled and lost a sweep. Saw some positives as well, including DaMonstah Moore and Cruz.
However, that was last week, making Sunday a whole different story. I am not going to be as detailed with this preview after mentioning that last week was practically a full preseason preview. Here is what I will be looking for on Sunday:
Injured Players Returning?
Nicks has been hurt all camp and did not play last week. The word thus far is that he will be playing, the question is how much? Will they treat it as his first preseason game and keep him in for a drive or two or play him all first half?
Tuck is another guy that has been dinged up during camp. Seems like he is just getting over some back tightness and ready to go. Tuck is one of the most important players on this team, and while health is always the main concern, you have to start knocking off some of the rust. Also would need some game speed work in the 3-4 defense he has been practicing in camp.
Justin Pugh is getting his first NFL action this week. The 1st round draft pick of the Giants this year was out last game with a concussion, but has practiced at both the left and right tackle positions this week. I hated the pick but only time will tell, and to me, first impressions mean a lot.
Terrell Thomas is one of the more interesting stories. As of now, no one knows if he will play or not this week but he needs to get on the field soon. We all know his ACL history and the Giants are being extra careful, but when is it too much? I would like to see him in at least a series or two Sunday and much more against the Jets next week.
Herzlich had a weak showing against the Steelers to say the least. Connor did a little better and has taken some first team reps away from Herzlich during practice. Maybe these aren’t the only two. Will Curry find some reps at MLB somehow? He has the size and speed to shoot the gaps.
Back Up QB
There’s a battle brewing behind Eli and it is between Carr and Painter. There has been nothing but praise for Painter during camp, and Carr has a fatter paycheck. Will Painter come in before Carr this week? Will Nassib play with football players on the O-Line or will they stick with useless garbage cans?
DaMonstah and Hankins
These two rookies stood out the most to me on the D-Line. Damontre Moore had the blocked punt and was firing off the line each snap. However, there were multiple times I saw him fly right past the QB, let’s see if he fixes that and picks up a few sacks. Hankins had a great game as well. Big Hank never got pushed backwards and was actually pushing starters back 3-4 yards, blowing up running plays. Hopefully, more reps will show more stats.
Last week, play 2, the Giants went to the 3-4. During practice this week Tuck was standing up, as was Tracy. They now have the size for the 3-4 inside linemen but do they have the outside backers? More practice during preseason, the better they will be when they want to confuse offenses in the regular season.
3rd Running Back
Da’Rel Scott showed that all a defender has to do is blow on him and he will go down. Now, either he proves his worth this game, or they put in Michael Cox who looked good for a 7th round pick. Cox has the hands, the speed, and running power. Would like to see him against better competition.
Rueben Randle Bounce Back
Randle didn’t have a strong showing last week. A play down the left sideline that was missed because he couldn’t get off the line quick enough. Expectations are very high for Rueben this year, hope he shows up.
Secondary vs Luck
Andrew Luck came bursting upon the scene last year as a rookie, lit up the scoreboards with his arm and receiving corps. Giants have a weak secondary, and an even weaker one this week with Rolle out due to injury. How does Mundy do in his place? How will the corners for the Giants backup a strong(er) performance against the Steelers?
There is still so much work to be done for this Giants team. Getting some injured players back, while implementing a whole new defense. There are still question marks at multiple backup positions, as well as starters at linebacker. There are plenty of other things to look for, but I will leave that up to the community to decide. Enjoy the game and feel free to let us know what you will have your eye on!