The last week of New York Giants preseason football is finally here, taking us ever so closer to regular season football.
In the final preseason games against the New England Patriots, Giants Head Coach Joe Judge has said that he plans to play some starters after sitting them in the first two preseason games.
With the joint practices that happened before the Cleveland Browns preseason game and this week with the New England Patriots, the starters have been getting their reps in, just not for a TV audience.
Joe Judge said Daniel Jones will play at least the first half vs. the Patriots in preseason game No. 3.
Jones and the starters might also play a bit in the third quarter.
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) August 23, 2021
What to Keep an Eye on for the Offense
The obvious is Quarterback Daniel Jones, who will be entering his third season, often considered a pivotal year for Quarterbacks. After a solid first season, last year was all about cutting back on turnovers, and Jones did; the issue is his passing production took a hit. There were many causes for this, from a weak offensive line to a new offensive play-caller.
Keeping an eye on the offensive line is also a must. Last season the line slowly improved over the year, and it would be good to see that improvement continue. Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, and Will Hernandez seem to be the sure starters, going from left tackle to right guard. The main question mark appears to be the right tackle. Nate Solder and Matt Peart are the players fighting for that position, so whoever starts against the Patriots might have the job.
With Saquon Barkley doing practice in a no-contact uniform, we will unlikely see him in this game. New signings Devontae Booker and Corey Clement will probably be the primary backs until Barkley is 100% ready.
Kenny Golladay is not going to dress in the final preseason game, but with the back end of the wide receiver depth chart is hotly contested, it might be good to give others the opportunity. This preseason, David Stills V has impressed with six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown in two games. Dante Pettis seems to be a stand-out in practice but hasn’t had much of a role in the two previous games.
If he gets some more opportunities this game, expect him to make it on the 53-man roster.
Could watch this all day ? pic.twitter.com/2FobdaXyYB
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 26, 2021
What to Keep an Eye on for the Defense
The Giants’ defense is stacked, and with Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham calling plays again, this defense is well on its way to being a top ten defense in the NFL. The defensive line is stacked, and last season fell into place, and with additions like Austin Johnson and Danny Shelton, the D-line can go six deep without skipping a beat. The defensive line seems to have already solidified itself and probably won’t change from now to Week 1.
Even though the Giants did not suffer in the sack department last season, it felt like one elite pass rusher would put the defensive unite over the top. Even though they didn’t get an elite rusher, the return of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines could be the much-needed help. Rookie Azeez Ojulari and new signing Ifeadi Odenigbo could also be used in a four-person rotation at the edge position, offering versatility. This final preseason game could be the game that solidifies the starting two. Niko Lalos and Cam Brown might be trying to prove themselves to make themselves noticed and get involved in the rotation.
Blake Martinez fills one inside linebacker spot, and the second spot is up for debate. Tae Crowder, Reggie Ragland, and Carter Coughlin seem to be the ones who will make the 53-man roster. Crowder was the backup last year but only played about 37% of his eligible snaps. Graham loves to play nickel defense because the defensive line is so strong against the run. Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers usually lineup in that second inside linebacker spot to get more defensive backs on the field on passing downs.
That takes us to the Giants secondary, which could be a top-five in the league this year. With the signing of Adoreé Jackson as the second corner, alongside James Bradberry, who was in the Pro Bowl last year, this is a special group. On top of that, Ryan and Peppers rounded out the safety position. Look out for Xavier McKenney to make an impact in this final game, to solidify his role as the third/nickel safety. He already left a mark last year and throughout the offseason, but now is when he wants more snaps. The Giants also acquired depth by trading for Keion Crossen from the Texans and Josh Jackson from the Packers. Those two will likely receive a roster spot along with Julian Love and Darnay Holmes.
The backend of the depth chart for defensive backs, just like the wide receiver, will be a nail-biting battle. Sam Beal, Rodarius Williams, and Aaron Robinson are all players the Giants have invested recent draft picks in, and not all might make the 53-man roster.
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