1) CB Michael Coe – It’s safe to say nobody’s season outlook has changed more greatly than Michael Coe’s since the beginning of training camp. A valued special teamer, the six-year veteran had Terrell Thomas, Prince Amukamara and rookie draft pick Jayron Hosley to compete with when it all began. But one by one, Thomas was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a re-aggravated knee injury; Amukamara suffered a high ankle sprain; and Hosley is questionable while battling turf toe. Now Coe looks to step in and play opposite Corey Webster.
“I’m sure that anybody that we face will try to look more at my side because Corey has the reputation he’s built up,” Coe said. “They’re always going to go after somebody new whether it be whoever is out there in the secondary. I think that gets you more ready because you know the ball is coming your way any play. So you’re always going to be ready for that.”
2) LB Keith Rivers – On Wednesday, Rivers will begin to show whether or not the Giants got a steal of a trade for the former ninth overall pick. Battling injuries since 2008, the newcomer added another level to an already competitive battle for playing time in the linebacker corps. Meanwhile, starters Michael Boley (hamstring) and Mathias Kiwanuka (groin) are questionable heading into the opener. Rivers had a solid preseason, starting all four games with 16 total tackles, but regular-season action is a whole different ball game.
“I like our linebacking corps,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “They were young a year ago. I think Keith Rivers has added a lot to our linebacking corps and then the young guys have gained experience and then just trying to understand what each individual linebacker brings to the table so we can use their talents to the best of our ability. So yes, I think I’ll be using three linebackers.”
3) DE Justin Tuck – “Build the bridge” is a team concept, but it also works on an individual level, especially in the case of Justin Tuck. Recently named defensive captain for the third year in a row, a healthier Tuck turned it on physically and mentally down the stretch last season. He recorded 3.0 of his 5.0 sacks during the final five weeks of the regular season. He went on to notch another 3.5 in the playoffs, including 2.0 in Super Bowl XLVI. Tuck has been on a mission this summer, and it begins on Wednesday.
“I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you all the things that are going to happen here,” Tuck said earlier this week. “That’s why you play the game. I feel like we’ve built that bridge from the 6-0 record we had to finish last year, but who knows. We’re just going to go out here and play the game, and play it to the best of our abilities, and see what happens.”
4) WR Hakeem Nicks – Working back from his foot injury suffered in May, Nicks has seen just two offensive series this preseason (against New England in the finale). Listed as questionable, Nicks says he’ll be ready to play through the pain on Wednesday night while Tom Coughlin said he thinks he will also. From day one, Nicks said he would be ready for the opener. Well, it’s here.
5) S Antrel Rolle – Helping glue the defense together last season by playing all over the field, Rolle thought he could get back to a traditional role this year. But another round of injuries to the secondary might have the two-time Pro Bowler doing the same thing again, especially in covering slot receivers. Much of that will be dictated by Hosley’s status and how prepared Fewell thinks Will Hill is for the responsibility.