The Giants take on the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium this Sunday in their second preseason game.
Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll will have some big decisions to make in the coming weeks. Rosters had to be trimmed to 85 players by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline, which led to the departures of TE/FB Jeremiah Hall, DB Gavin Heslop and WR Austin Proehl. By this upcoming Tuesday, the roster must stand at 80 before going down to 53 the following Tuesday (August 30).
The final two preseason games will be a great chance for players to showcase their talents in order to earn more playing time or even a roster spot leading up to the start of the regular season.
Here are some players to keep an eye on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
RB Antonio Williams
The Giants had a very efficient performance in the run game last week against the Patriots, gaining 177 yards on 33 carries (5.4 avg.) with a touchdown. Williams led the charge with nine rushed for 61 yards, good for an average of nearly 7.0 yards per carry, and was responsible for the TD. He averaged 4.6 yards after contact per attempt, and also forced three missed tackles.
It has yet to be determined if Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell will be able to play against the Bengals on Sunday, which could lead to extended action for Williams and Jashaun Corbin. Williams, who spent his first two seasons with Daboll in Buffalo, has impressed the head coach with his work ethic.
"Consummate pro," Daboll said. "I mean, he took advantage of his opportunities. The best play he probably had was on the kickoff on the second half. He went down there and tackled a guy for not much of a gain. He was excited about that. He's a guy that's constantly working to try to stick on a roster, try to stick around. His mindset's good. He's smart. There's good competition in that room."
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.
WR Richie James
While Williams scored the Giants' only rushing touchdown against New England, James was responsible for the lone receiving score. The 26-year-old reeled in three of four targets for 44 yards and the touchdown, and finished with a passer rating generated of 150.0. He showcased his quick reflexes when he made a nice catch on a tipped pass that ended up as a 26-yard gain for the Giants.
Similar to Williams, James is battling for a spot on the 53-man roster. He was listed as the second-string wide receiver behind Wan'Dale Robinson on the team's initial unofficial depth chart. Daboll has been encouraged with what he's seen from the entire WR group this summer.
"I think they're making progress just like all the position groups are," he said. "Everybody's learning new things. But (Wide Receivers Coach Mike Groh) Mike's done a good job with those guys. They're going to continue to grow, continue to learn. And we're going to make it as competitive as we can make it."
OL Devery Hamilton
The Giants have been hit with injuries at several positions in the first few weeks of camp, but none more so than the offensive line. Shane Lemieux and Jamil Douglas both left last week's game early, which led to tackle Devery Hamilton seeing extended action in which he thrived. Hamilton played 70 offensive snaps and earned a 90.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. He received an elite 94.1 grade on 24 run block snaps, and allowed just one hurry on 46 pass block reps. This led to him being selected to PFF's Team of the Week.
"He played a lot of plays in that preseason game, and he competed really well," Daboll said. "He has position-flex. Today, you'll see him inside at guard. He can play tackle. He can play inside. Another smart guy that's doing everything that we ask him to do."
LB Darrian Beavers
The game against the Patriots was the first of Beavers' NFL career. The rookie linebacker played 27 defensive snaps along with 11 special teams snaps and finished with three solo tackles, including one tackle for loss. Beavers is battling for playing time and is currently listed as the backup to Tae Crowder at inside linebacker next to Blake Martinez.
"You want to see how you compete against other guys in the league," Beavers said after his debut last week. "So when it comes down to it, you're just playing football. So I just feel like you don't have to think about those things. You just have to think about playing football. Doing your job and trying to make plays when the plays come."
"I think he's an instinctive player," Daboll explained. "He's got good size and length. Much like (Joshua) Ezeudu, there were some really good plays he had and some plays that we need to correct and teach from so that next time, we're a little bit better at them. But he's a young man that loves football, that has good intelligence, that's tough, that's dependable. And he's a good young player to work with."
OLB Quincy Roche
The Giants claimed Roche off waivers right before the start of the 2021 season. He went on to register 2.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, five QB hits and a forced fumble in limited action across 14 games. The second-year linebacker picked up where he left off in the preseason opener when he finished with three tackles (two solo), one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit.
Between Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Jihad Ward, Elerson Smith, Oshane Ximines and Roche, the Giants have a talented group of outside linebackers. But with Ward and Smith uncertain to suit up against the Bengals, Roche could be looking at additional snaps vs. Cincinnati and thus a big opportunity to showcase his talent.
View photos of the history between the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals.