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5 players to watch in Giants vs. Dolphins


Given their shared history, Sunday will be a game of chess between Joe Judge and Brian Flores. But both head coaches would say it's all about the pieces.

"Flo is a guy that I know very well," Judge said this week. "We worked together for seven years in New England. A lot of respect for Flo. I think he's got a very unique path in terms of how he became a head coach, working in all aspects of the organization, starting in personnel, working with offense, defense and special teams, so his involvement with all three phases along with the draft and free agency really shows through his personality and how they play."

Here are five of those pieces to watch when the Giants (4-7) take on the Dolphins (5-7) in Miami:

S Xavier McKinney

McKinney is making a Pro Bowl push in the home stretch of his second year in the NFL. Entering Week 13, he is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions by a safety (five) and is third in passes defensed at his position (nine).

"Zay in the beginning of the year was getting to the ball; he just wasn't catching it," veteran safety and defensive co-captain Logan Ryan said. "Now he's catching it. He's got great range. No other safety in the NFL has four or five picks out of the post. That's really hard to do. It's a lot of range, it's a lot of instincts, and that means you're really playing well and playing free. I'm excited for Zay, but he's not stopping here. He's still out here early, he's still putting work in, and I'm excited to play along with him and see at the peak of our powers what we can be and really help lead our team and lead our defense. He's a leading force now. He's not a young player who's just trying to do his part. He's a leading force in what we do and the reason why we're playing well defensively is because of Xavier McKinney and other people along with him. He's definitely a leader of the charge."

DB Logan Ryan

Ryan returned to the practice field this week after he was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 19 and missed two games. Like Judge, he has numerous ties to the Dolphins, most of them stemming from his four seasons with the Patriots.

"I know this team," Ryan said. "I like this game. We need it. It's going to be a good challenge out there in the heat. I know Brian Flores really well. I know [co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach] George Godsey really well. I know [defensive coordinator] Josh Boyer, he was my coach in New England. So those three guys are coordinators, they were like running my scout team when I was on the scout team in New England, so I know those guys really well. I know how they think. They know how I think. They know how our coaches think. It's going to be a lot of familiarity on how the programs are run, how the defenses are run, and the emphasis on getting the ball and playing physical. It's going to be a good battle of kind of some programs who are kind of run at the top very similar in what they preach."

WR Kenny Golladay

While the news of this week revolved around the status of Daniel Jones and his neck strain, last week was about the transition to senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens as the play-caller. Golladay was targeted seven times and had 50 yards receiving, both his highest totals since Week 4 in New Orleans.

"To be honest, I really didn't count," Golladay said. "When you're actually seeing the ball a little bit more, you don't even start counting the targets, but you know if you get two targets if that makes sense. I didn't even know how many targets I had. I knew how many catches I had. I know there were some opportunities out there that I wish I had back, like on those two fade balls. I don't want to leave it in the ref's hands. Just got to do better, but I feel like I made plays down the stretch when we needed it."

RB Saquon Barkley

In 2019, Barkley racked up 143 yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns in his only meeting with the Dolphins, which was also Eli Manning's final start. Last week, Barkley had 13 carries for 40 yards, 32 of which came on one run in his second game back from an ankle injury.

"This is one of those things where week by week it's just going to keep getting better and better," Barkley said. "Just getting back in a rhythm, just feeling it, getting my eyes back into it last week. I felt like I played better last week than I did in Tampa. Felt like my legs were underneath me a little bit better. Throughout the rest of the season, just going to continue to get better."

QB Mike Glennon

Jones has been ruled out for Sunday's game in Miami after the quarterback was not cleared for contact, coach Joe Judge announced Friday morning. Jones suffered a neck injury in the Week 12 victory over Philadelphia and was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Mike Glennon will start against the Dolphins, and Jake Fromm, who was signed off the Buffalo Bills' practice squad this week, is expected to serve as the backup.

Glennon, originally a third-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013, last played extensively in the Giants' Week 5 loss in Dallas after Jones suffered a concussion. Glennon completed 16 of 25 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions in the game, and Jones was cleared to start the following week. Glennon has started 27 games throughout his career, most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 3, 2021 when he threw two touchdowns with no interceptions in a loss to Indianapolis. The 6-foot-7 quarterback is 6-21 as a starter.

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