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Fact or Fiction: Breaking down the secondary



Meriweather is the most physical safety on the roster.**

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JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -Even though I haven't seen it in a game as of yet, I'm going to go with Landon Collins. He showed his physicality at Alabama and he isn't built much differently than linebacker JT Thomas. He can be an extra linebacker in the box, and will be great as a tackler. I would name Meriweather the Giants' safety most likely to force a turnover. He has a real nose for the ball.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -Let's see what Landon Collins can do first, but Brandon Meriweather's play has spoken for itself as the nine-year veteran is the player with the most NFL experience in the group by far. And despite playing in just 10 games last season with Washington, he was able to notch career highs in sacks and forced fumbles with three apiece.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -If you go by track record in the NFL, Brandon Meriweather tops the list. Given that the rest of the safeties on the team have very little NFL experience combined, Meriweather automatically becomes the veteran of the group with eight years in the league under his belt and, during those eight seasons, he's earned a reputation as a very physical, hard-hitting player. When asked about what Meriweather will bring to the team, Tom Coughlin's answer: "He'll bring a degree of toughness to our secondary." His stats support that claim as well. Last season, in just 10 games with the Redskins, Meriweather recorded three sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes defended. The two-time Pro Bowler's name is synonymous with toughness and physicality.

Andre Williams is the most improved 2014 rookie.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I'm not sure how we are making this type of determination after one preseason game. The person I see the most improvement from now, and expect to see the most improvement from over the course of the regular season, is Weston Richburg. He had some admitted struggles last year at guard, but he should be a much better center this year, and improve over the course of the year as he gets more experience at that position. Jay Bromley is a close second for me, but I still think he needs to show his improved play against the run in game situations. Williams is improved as a pass catcher and as a more patient runner, but I think we saw some of that at the end of last year as well.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -It took the Giants four drives to get a first down in the preseason opener. Running back Andre Williams was the player who finally moved the chains, but it wasn't with his legs. Rather, Williams caught a short swing pass that was more difficult than it looked and took it up the field for a 16-yard gain. Craig Johnson, his position coach, said this week that Williams probably wouldn't have made that catch last season as a rookie out of Boston College, crediting his extra work with the JUGS machine and drills with tennis balls.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -It's very difficult to respond to this statement until we actually see some regular season games but, at this point, I would say Bennett Jackson is the most improved player out of the 2014 rookie class. Last year's sixth round pick spent the 2014 season on the practice squad injured list while recovering from surgery on his left knee. Based on the unofficial depth chart, Jackson has made the jump from the practice squad to a starting safety/nickel corner. While I'm sure everyone in last year's draft class has made strides, I don't think anyone can top what Jackson accomplished in a very small period of time.

Running Backs have the most roster competition.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -We know three running backs (and one fullback) that are going to be on the roster. That means the only question is whether they keep a fourth, and that will depend upon whether guys like Orleans Darkwa and Akeem Hunt show enough to force the team's hand. Darkwa has been very impressive in the spring and summer in all phases of the game. It is far more competitive out at cornerback, where beyond Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (and probably Trumaine McBride), I have no idea who is going to be on this roster. There are a lot of guys fighting for their lives out there, and many, like Trevin Wade, are rising to the occasion. Safety is another position that is completely up for grabs past draft pick Landon Collins. Who will be the other three guys on the roster? I have no idea.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -In terms of roster spots, some of the biggest decisions to come will be how the wide receiver corps shakes out. The group is 11 players deep right now, and they all have made plays at times throughout the spring and summer. As offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said last week, you would like to keep every one of them, but as we know, that's not possible.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -Based on the first preseason game, I'd say this statement is a fact with impressive performances by Orleans Darkwa and Akeem Hunt, but who knows if there are even spots up for grabs behind Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen. In recent history, the Giants have kept three running backs and a fullback, so even though there is a great deal of depth at the position, there may not be roster spots to compete for. Wide receiver is a different story. After Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, there could be up to three open spots among a versatile group that includes veterans James Jones, Preston Parker, last year's preseason standout Corey Washington, free agent addition Dwayne Harris and this year's sixth round pick, Geremy Davis. Between that depth and experience, the competition at wide receiver tops the battle at running back.

Trevin Wade has been the biggest surprise performer.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -I had no idea who Trevin Wade was when the Giants brought him in. He has four years of experience, but he was never someone that got a lot of playing time. Whenever you see a player like that, the natural reaction is to dismiss him as potential impact guy. But Trevin Wade has destroyed those assumptions, and you can argue he has been the best corner in camp not named Prince or Dominique. He is a great story in camp and could be an important player for the Giants this year if he continues to play well.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -I'm going with New Jersey native Bennett Jackson, who has gone from cornerback to safety and now is adding nickel corner to his repertoire. He's answering the challenge in his second year after spending his rookie campaign on practice squad injured reserve.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -I'd put Bennett Jackson in this conversation, as well, given he's coming off a season-ending injury and changing positions, but for someone who wasn't on the roster last season, Trevin Wade has been a pleasant surprise. The former seventh round pick has shown a knack for finding the ball, both in practice and in games. In the preseason opener against the Bengals, he not only stood out based on the eye test but filled up the stat sheet as well. Wade had an interception, two tackles and three passes defended. He was, by far, one of the most active players on the team and even earned high praise from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo when he addressed the media earlier this week.

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