Giants vs. Bears Game Preview

Posted Aug 23, 2012

Coach Tom Coughlin will be looking for improved production as the Giants take on the Bears Friday

It’s dress rehearsal time for the Giants.

Like most NFL teams, the Giants use their third preseason game to most closely approximate a regular season contest. When the Giants host the Chicago Bears Friday night in a nationally-televised game in MetLife Stadium, their offensive and defensive starters will get their longest stints of the summer.

The Giants are in accelerated development mode. They will face the Bears only 12 days prior to their regular season opener against NFC East rival Dallas.

Coach Tom Coughlin wasn’t pleased with the defense in a preseason-opening 32-31 loss in Jacksonville and was not satisfied with the offense when it scored only one late touchdown in last week’s 26-3 victory over the Jets. He is looking for better performances from both units against the Bears.

“You’re running a lot of bodies in and out and it’s not quite the continuity you’d like to have, but still, offensively we need to go, we need to get something done here,” Coughlin said. “We have some people who need to show that.  Yes, quite frankly, we had a special teams’ error in both games.  That’s got to be eliminated.  We’ve got to put the ball in the end zone, that’s something that’s a challenge for the offensive team.  The defense played well last week.  We had the ball run on us the week before, so it’s a consistency thing. Can we go do that week in and week out?  Against a team that scored a lot of points (33 in a victory over Washington) the other day and moved right down the field, advancing the ball in the air. It’s a good football team. It’s time for us to start to move in the direction of the execution and the performance being at a high level.”

Coughlin wants to see a more productive running game. After finishing last in the NFL in 2011 and vowing throughout the offseason to improve, the Giants have run for a 3.2-yard average in two games.

“It’s been a high priority,” Coughlin said. “It hasn’t been accomplished very well, but we certainly have tried it. We rushed it 32 times the other night for 1.8 yards per rush (in a victory over the Jets).  Obviously, it hasn’t been very successful, but we will continue to try to develop the run in all capacities. Whatever the personnel combination is on the field, we’ll continue to try to rush it.”

The ground game could get a boost from first-round draft choice David Wilson, who is expected to get his initial snaps with Eli Manning and the starting offense.
“He’s made good progress for a young guy,” Coughlin said. “There are some things about his game we would like to see just like I would like Rueben (Randle) to do some things. We need to play them and give them an opportunity to have some multiple reps, so we can see exactly what happens when they do start to get into a game mode. “

Manning has completed 11 of 22 passes for 122 yards and has yet to throw a touchdown pass in his limited preseason work. He is also looking to progress with the regular season looming.

“The third preseason game is always a game where the starters play the most,” Manning said. “They’ll play into the third quarter. Going against the Bears, they always have a great defense, good players, good scheme, so it’ll be a good challenge for us. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go out there, execute, run our game plan very well, and see if we can get a couple of touchdowns.”

This is more or less Manning’s final preseason tuneup. If he plays Wednesday against New England, it will be for only a series or two.

“You’re going to play the most extensive reps that you’ll get in the preseason before the first game that really counts,” Manning said. “So you want to try to go out there and play well. We treat this week like a game week, in our preparation, having three days to go over everything, install everything. Hopefully, we’re the most prepared going into this game, and it shows on Friday night.”

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back spasms), linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring), tackle Will Beatty (back) and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot) are starters not expected to play.

At left tackle, veteran Sean Locklear will continue his quest to prove he deserves to start should Beatty remain sidelined.

“Sean’s a veteran guy,” said Manning. “He knows his stuff, knows what he’s doing, he’s come in and worked well with the starting group. Any time you play left tackle, or play offensive line, it’s like, ‘Hey, what do you call things?’ Everybody’s done the same scheme, it’s just done in a different way, or you call it something different. So, he’s got everything down. He’s playing at a high level, doing things well. So, I feel very comfortable with him out there.”

Another newcomer, Keith Rivers, is playing weakside linebacker in Boley’s place. Rivers has no qualms if he opens the season as the starter.

“I’d feel pretty comfortable,” he said. “I’ve been playing with the guys for the last two weeks, getting more and more comfortable every day. I think I would be alright.”

With the Dallas game looming, Coughlin is looking for his team to be more than alright in the summer’s most important preseason game.

*The Giants will host the Bears in a nationally-televised preseason game for the second consecutive year. On Aug. 22, 2011, they crushed Chicago, 44-13.  

The two teams will meet in the preseason for the third time in four years. On Aug. 22, 2009, the Bears defeated the Giants, 17-3, in Soldier Field, which was the ancient rivals’ first preseason meeting since Aug. 5, 2000.

From 1950-1963, the Giants and Bears met in 11 preseason games in locations as varied as Toronto, Memphis, Syracuse and Ithaca, N.Y. The Giants won five of those games. Overall, the Giants are 7-9 in preseason games vs. the Bears.

*The start time of the Giants-New England preseason game on Wednesday, August 29 has been changed to 7:00 p.m. ET. The game was originally scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. The change was made to accommodate WNBC-TV’s coverage of the Republican National Convention that evening.

*The Giants, American Red Cross, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Fox 5, My9 and WFAN are teaming up to host the Giants Third Annual Blood Drive on Saturday, August 25, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MetLife Stadium. Every presenting donor will have an opportunity to get their photo taken with the Giants Super Bowl XLVI Trophy and meet a Giants legend. Giants legends scheduled to appear throughout the day include Stephen Baker, Greg Comella, Keith Hamilton, Brian Kelley and Jeff Feagles. The first 1,000 presenting donors will also receive a limited edition Giants T-shirt. Free parking will be available for all donors at this event. 

Throughout the day randomly selected attendees will be eligible to win great prizes, including autographed Giants merchandise and recliners courtesy of Bob’s Discount Furniture.  Fans will also be able to use the occasion to tour the Giants Legacy Club presented by New York Presbyterian Hospital.  The Legacy Club is the Giants’ interactive team museum, which includes artefacts from throughout the team’s history, including a brand new display dedicated to the team’s 2011 championship season.  The day will include fun for the whole family, with clowns, face painters and plenty of great refreshments.

Walk-ins are always welcome; however, donors are highly encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance to help eliminate unexpected wait times and to ensure they have ample time for photo opportunities. All current eligible and new donors can schedule an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visiting

With extreme heat keeping some donors at home and severe storms forcing the cancellation of dozens of blood drives earlier in the month, the Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for donors of all blood types. Red Cross blood donations are the lowest they have been in 15 years. Public support from the organization’s late-June appeal helped temporarily stop a decline in the blood supply. However, the mid-week Independence Day and extreme summer weather have contributed to a decrease in donations lately.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood and blood products, the Red Cross is dedicated to ensuring that every patient who needs a lifesaving transfusion is able to receive one. In fact, the Red Cross must collect more than 17,000 pints of blood each day to meet the needs of patients at more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.  It is the blood on the shelves today that helps save lives tomorrow.