The Giants complete their preseason slate on Sunday when they "travel" to MetLife Stadium to take on the Jets - both teams head into the finale with a 2-0 record. The Giants had a comeback win against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, defeating the reigning AFC Champions, 25-22, thanks to some late heroics from Davis Webb and Alex Bachman. The Jets picked up the victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, 24-16.
The two teams enter this matchup after participating in a productive joint practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Thursday. Head Coach Brian Daboll was happy with what he saw from his team.
"Thought it was a productive practice yesterday with the Jets," said Daboll. "I thought we got a lot accomplished. It was good to see another color jersey, guys going against different skillsets, the competitiveness. I thought we practiced the right way. (Jets Head) Coach (Robert) Saleh and his team I thought did a fantastic job, and we tried to reciprocate it. We got a lot out of it. It was good work."
The Giants and Jets have met in the regular season 14 times dating back to 1970, and the Giants hold an 8-6 lead in the series. The two franchises who share MetLife Stadium have also played an annual preseason game since 1969, with the lone exception being the 2020 season when there were no preseason games played. In last year's preseason matchup, the Jets emerged with the 12-7 victory over the Giants.
There are no official injury reports in the preseason, but Daboll announced the following players will not be suiting up for Sunday's preseason finale: WR Sterling Shepard, WR C.J. Board, OL Shane Lemieux, OL Josh Ezeudu, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Garrett McGhin, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, OLB Azeez Ojulari, OLB Elerson Smith, CB Rodarius Williams, S Dane Belton and K Graham Gano.
Additionally, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Darius Slayton and OLB Jihad Ward are all questionable for the game.
Although Coach Daboll ruled out four offensive linemen out for Sunday's game, the unit received a boost this week. OL Jon Feliciano and Jamil Douglas, listed as the starting and backup center on the team's latest unofficial depth chart, returned to practice on Wednesday and participated in team drills. Meanwhile, OL Chris Owens, who signed with the team one week ago, was waived on Thursday to make room on the roster for TE Tanner Hudson.
Daboll added that Shane Lemieux may not be ready for the start of the regular season.
"He's coming along. But I wouldn't anticipate him anytime soon," the head coach said Friday morning.
THINGS HEATING UP AT WR
The Giants have had some changes at the wide receiver position over the last few days. On Wednesday morning, Sterling Shepard passed his physical and was activated off the PUP list. The veteran's presence provided a boost to the WR room, but only a few hours later, the Giants lost Collin Johnson to a season-ending Achilles injury. Additionally, the Giants claimed Jaylon Moore off waivers from Baltimore on Thursday, and then brought back Travis Toivonen, who was waived exactly one month ago, Friday morning. Bailey Gaither was claimed off waivers from the Ravens, then waived after failing his physical.
On top of all the changes in the WR room this week, the Giants have also seen several of their own young receivers begin to blossom. Alex Bachman had a career day against the Bengals last weekend as he caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score in the final minute. Meanwhile, David Sills finished with five receptions for 56 yards, and caught another six passes from Daniel Jones during team drills against the Jets Thursday. Sills' performance left his quarterback impressed.
"I think he's done a great job for us this camp," Jones said after Thursday's practice. "He's an extremely hard-working guy who you can count on to be in the right spot. He's a smart football player, he knows how to get open, he's talented from a route-running standpoint and someone who I have worked with a lot. He's been here for a few years, and I've really enjoy working with him. He made a lot of plays today, and he's made a lot of plays this camp."
KAFKA TO CALL PLAYS
For the third consecutive game this preseason, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka will be calling the plays, Daboll said Friday. The offense has been efficient in the first two games, gaining more than 415 total yards in each contest while averaging 24 points per game. Against both the Patriots and Bengals, the unit put together scoring drives in the final minutes of the game to win. Although Kafka will call plays against the Jets, Daboll has still not decided who will handle the duties Week 1 in Nashville.
"Mike's done a good job," said Daboll. "He'll call this one, and we'll revisit (Week 1) like we revisit all of it. But he's done a (good job). Lot of confidence in Mike."
View photos from the joint practice between the Giants and Jets at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
WHO STEPS UP AT OLB?
The Giants have been hit with a few blows to their promising group of outside linebackers recently. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux was hurt during last week's game against the Bengals, while talented second-year linebacker Azeez Ojulari is "day-to-day" after getting injured during Thursday's practice. Elerson Smith has also been sidelined from practice with an injury.
All three young outside linebackers have been ruled out for Sunday and Jihad Ward is questionable, which has paved the way for some of the team's other OLBs to get a bigger opportunity against the Jets. Undrafted rookie Tomon Fox made one of the plays of the game last week when he forced a late fumble that the Giants recovered to seal the victory over Cincinnati. Quincy Roche has registered five total pressures (two hits, three hurries) in the first two preseason games, good for a PFF pass rush grade of 75.5. Then there is Oshane Ximines, who has made a good impression on his head coach.
"I think he's done a good job," Daboll told reporters about Ximines. "He's been ready to go. He's been available. He's been improving. He's a big-body guy. Got heavy hands. Does a good job of setting the edge. Think he's picked up the the defense well. (Outside Linebackers Coach Drew Wilkins) Drew's done a good job with him. So, we need that from our guys."
McFADDEN OFF TO STRONG START
Micah McFadden was the eighth player selected among the Giants' 11-man draft class this year. The linebacker out of Indiana was thought to be a good fit for Wink Martindale's blitz-heavy defense, and two games into the preseason, the shoe has certainly fit.
McFadden tied Austin Calitro and Darren Evans with a team-high four tackles in the preseason opener, and followed that up with five tackles against the Bengals, which again led the team. He has registered two pressures on just 11 pass rush snaps, which has helped him earn an 83.1 pass rush grade. McFadden's 90.3 overall grade is the highest on the defense, and also ranks in the Top 10 among the league's rookies through the first two games. The inside linebacker has also picked up 84.9 run defense and 81.2 tackle marks. All four of those PFF grades rank among the top four on the Giants' defense. McFadden could be looking at an even bigger role following the season-ending injury to Darrian Beavers.
It's been a very busy week for the front office between injuries, waiver claims and free agent signings. Here are all of this week's transactions:
Waiver claims: The Giants claimed a couple of players, including CB Harrison Hand (from Minnesota) and WR Jaylon Moore (from Baltimore). Hand has played 23 games with one start over the last two seasons and recorded one interception, three pass breakups and 22 tackles (19 solo). Moore spent the last two seasons on the Ravens' practice squad. WR Bailey Gaither was also claimed off waivers, then waived the next day after failing his physical.
Free agent signings: Veteran tight end Tanner Hudson was signed Thursday morning and immediately made his presence felt as he caught the deepest pass of the day against the Jets. Hudson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after going undrafted in 2018. He spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad and did not appear in a game. Hudson then played in 20 games from 2019-20 and totaled five receptions for 67 yards. He also played in every postseason game during the Buccaneers Super Bowl run following the 2020 campaign. He then spent most of the 2021 season on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad.
The Giants made two more free agent signings Friday morning, bringing back a couple of familiar faces in K Ryan Santoso and WR Travis Toivonen. Santoso spent the 2020 season with the Giants before bouncing around between a few teams last season. Meanwhile, Toivonen was waived by the Giants exactly one month prior to being re-signed Friday.
TE Jordan Akins, OL Chris Owens and S Andrew Adams were let go this week.
Injury updates: C Nick Gates and T Matt Peart were placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, meaning they no longer count towards the 80-man roster. Gates and Peart will miss at least the first four games of the season. LB Darrian Beavers, TE Andre Miller, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, WR Collin Johnson and WR Marcus Kemp were all placed on injured reserve and will miss the entire 2022 season.
SCOUTING THE JETS
While it remains to be seen which, if any, Giants starters will take the field for Sunday's preseason finale, Jets head coach Robert Saleh has already told the media he plans on playing his starters. The Jets starters are likely to take the field for a quarter to a quarter-and-a-half after not playing in Monday's win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Starting quarterback Zach Wilson will miss the preseason finale as he recovers from a knee injury suffered in the opener, which means veteran Joe Flacco will start under center for the Jets. Flacco is plenty familiar with Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale as the two were together in Baltimore from 2012-18.
The Jets have put together a talented group of skill position players. Running back Breece Hall was selected with the 36th overall pick in this year's draft after two consecutive years with over 1,400 rushing yards at Iowa State. He joins second-year RB Michael Carter in the backfield. The Jets spent the No. 10 overall pick on WR Garrett Wilson, pairing him with Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios in a deep receiver room. They also completely overhauled their tight end group with the free agent additions of C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, as well as drafting Jeremy Ruckert in the third round of this year's draft.
On defense, the Jets added two big name defensive prospects in the first round with their selections of CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner at No. 4 and EDGE Jermaine Johnson at No. 26. They also signed two veteran DBs in free agency- CB D.J. Reed and S Jordan Whitehead. EDGE Carl Lawson also returns this year after missing all of last season with an Achilles injury. DL Quinnen Williams and John Franklin-Myers, along with LB C.J. Mosley, round out a solid defensive front.
View rare photos from the local rivalry between the Giants and Jets.