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Cover 3: Intriguing players to watch

With the season opener less than three weeks away, the Giants are gearing up for their third preseason game, their annual meeting with the Jets. Starters and significant role players typically play the longest in this game before resting in the preseason finale. With that in mind, we asked our staff about which player they want to get a good look at this week.

JOHN SCHMEELK: I feel really good about the readiness of the best players of the team as opening day approaches. I've seen enough in games and practices to be confident the Giants stars will be ready to go on Sept. 9 against Jacksonville. Even for Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley, I'd feel just fine if I don't see either take a snap before opening day. That leaves the players competing for roster spots. 

I would like to see more snaps from Curtis Riley. We got our first taste of him as the starting free safety against the Lions last week, but I would like to see him play an entire half against another team's first-team offense. He has been praised for his communication abilities, but I would like to see him take a few more snaps as the team's single-high safety and watch how he covers the field on deep passes outside the numbers. 

Offensively, I want to see more of wide receiver Cody Latimer. I would like to watch his chemistry with Eli Manning for a half. With Latimer's extensive special teams experience, the coaching staff has been giving other players reps on specials to see what they can do, so I want to see him in that role on returns and in coverage for a few snaps, too.

DAN SALOMONE: Davis Webb has been the talk of the preseason, but there is another Webb to keep in mind. B.W. Webb has put himself in position to be the Giants' third cornerback, a significant role and essentially a starting job in today's NFL with offenses playing three wide receivers for the majority of games. Originally a fourth-round draft choice by the Cowboys in 2013, Webb has bounced around the league with the Steelers, Titans, Saints, Bears, Browns, and the Giants as of March. After not playing in any games in 2017, he might have a lasting home as the Giants' slot corner. 

"He's done a really good job covering," coach Pat Shurmur said after Sunday's practice. "He covered pretty well outside against Cleveland [in the first preseason game]. He's done a nice job in the slot as well."

Webb, who has five tackles and a pass defensed in two preseason games this year, has played in 49 regular-season games with 10 starts in his career. He also has the benefit of learning from newcomer William Gay, the longtime Steeler with 176 games under his belt. Just like Curtis Riley at free safety, Webb has a chance to put another clamp down on a starting gig.

LANCE MEDOW: Between practices and the first two preseason games, I feel we've had the opportunity to take a look at most of the starters, so my focus in the third game against the Jets will be on a player who has a chance to start and provide depth at linebacker -- Ray-Ray Armstrong. He joined the Giants last November after he was released by the 49ers, and played in the final five games of the season. But given he's now playing in a brand new scheme, it will be interesting to see whether he'll build off his impressive performance against the Lions when he had a couple of tackles along with an interception. Armstrong is a polished veteran. He's been in the league since 2013 and his speed and length provide the versatility you want out of a linebacker and special teams contributor.

Armstrong has a chance to carve out an integral role in the defense this season because of his ability to play down in the box and drop back in coverage. He even received first-team reps in the nickel defense Sunday when the team resumed practicing following last Friday night's game. When it comes to training camp and preseason contests, it's not about players who flash here and there. It's about players who are consistent. Armstrong has a great opportunity to prove he can be that this Friday against the Jets.

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