Davis Webb will get more snaps than any other quarterback against the Browns next Thursday
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - I don't think Eli Manning will play much more than a series or two. I would expect Davis Webb to play at least the rest of the first half and maybe into the third quarter. Webb is no longer strictly a developmental quarterback. He is now the backup quarterback and has to be ready to play at a moment's notice. He played sparingly in preseason last year, but did lead the game-winning drive at New England in the finale. Webb needs as many reps as he can get this preseason and it will start on Thursday against the Browns.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Although Eli Manning is playing in a new offense and you can argue every rep in the preseason is important, it's safe to say Pat Shurmur and the coaching staff will use the preseason opener as a means to evaluate the other quarterbacks, especially Davis Webb, who is in line to serve as Manning's backup. Last year, Manning didn't play in the first preseason game and Geno Smith, who ultimately won the backup job, wound up playing into the fourth quarter before giving way to Webb. This year, the latter will see the majority of snaps.
PAUL DOTTINO: Fact - It would be hard to imagine Davis Webb, who was the No. 3 quarterback last season, to be anything less than the No. 2 this year. He has spent an entire off-season preparing for that role and head coach Pat Shurmur specifically mentioned that he and starter Eli Manning have been good throughout training camp. But what is the one thing that Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman have yet to see? Webb getting tested in a game - which is why, if he is potentially going to be one snap away from having to play during the regular season, the Giants must offer him as much preseason experience as he can get.
Manning has been sharp, so one would not expect him to need many preseason snaps. He is a study machine and likely already understands most (if not all) of the new offensive scheme. Rookie Kyle Lauletta was taken in the fourth round and this should be considered a developmental season for him - one would expect that he will do as much as he can to soak it all in while getting minimal preseason reps, just to get his feet wet. I would expect the only variation from this plan during the preseason would be in Game 3 - the one where the starters often play at least the first half
Donte Deayon has made the best case so far in camp to be the starting slot cornerback
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - This was a "fact" until he went down with a hamstring injury. Deayon hasn't practiced since Sunday when he suffered the injury, and he needs to get back on the field. When he was practicing, he did look the best of the slot corners. I was especially impressed with his ability to get his head around, locate the ball and high point the ball to knock it away from receivers. It's something a cornerback without superior size has to learn to do. He's also shown good hands, coming down with a couple of interceptions. Since he has gone down, the race has been close but I'll give the nod to B.W. Webb, who has done a decent job with the second team.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact -With one week of practices in the books, it's fair to say not only is Donte Deayon the front runner for the starting slot cornerback job, but he's also been one of the most active players on defense overall. Prior to suffering a hamstring injury, Deayon was opportunistic and collected a few interceptions while showcasing his strong cover skills deep down the field. After spending parts of the last two seasons on the Giants practice squad, you can tell the former Boise State standout is hungry to make the final 53. While a few other corners have flashed, I don't think any of those other players has been as consistent as Deayon practice to practice.
PAUL DOTTINO: Fact - Coach Shurmur made it clear from the start of camp that the slot corner spot was open. Fast forward to Dante Deayon making several plays during the first week or so and drawing a positive review from the coach for his coverage skills - it would be very difficult for anyone to believe that he hasn't gained a leg up on the rest of the depth chart. Of course, he's got to stay on the field and a minor hamstring issue put his progress on hold.
This is his third camp with the team - and he has always drawn plenty of support for his attitude and willingness to play above and beyond his diminutive stature. So while he appears to be in good position, the sooner he returns to the field, the better - and then he will have to pick up where he left off and continue to make plays.
Lorenzo Carter has looked like the second best natural pass rusher at practice after Olivier Vernon
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I was ready to label this a "fact" when I came up with the statement earlier in the week, but I've changed my mind. While Carter has all the natural skills, size and athleticism you want from a pass rusher, he isn't quite polished enough for me to give the nod here. I've been impressed with Connor Barwin since his arrival and I believe he is the second best pass rusher on the team as of August 3. Barwin has an array of moves and looks like a technician as an edge rusher. He will be very valuable as a situational rusher in sub packages.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact -You can certainly make a case for Connor Barwin, but given Lorenzo Carter was asked to fulfill multiple roles at Georgia and there was some uncertainty about what his main focus would be with the Giants, I think he's done a nice job settling in as a pass rusher here. James Bettcher has moved Carter around during practice, but he understands his priority is to get after the quarterback and he has delivered. Carter's length makes him a handful to contain. The next test will be to see if his hustle during practice translates over to games, but as of right now, he is one of the most impressive pass rushers on the team.
PAUL DOTTINO: Fiction - You can't help but be impressed with Lorenzo Carter's athleticism every time you watch him on the field. But the team's next best natural pass rusher? I suppose you'd have to define "natural" first - should we take it to signify his pure skills or the ease in which he attacks the backfield?
So I'm going to put veteran outside linebacker Connor Barwin ahead of Carter on this list, for now. Barwin is a savvy pro who exhibits confidence and assertiveness on every snap - in short, it almost seems like he can get pressure off the edge in his sleep and THAT is "natural" enough for me.
Eli Apple had his best week of practice last week as a member of the Giants
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Apple hasn't been perfect, but he has been very good. He has shown a consistent physicality at the position and isn't afraid to mix it up with anyone that lines up across from him. A little rivalry with Odell Beckham Jr. has been brewing, and Apple hasn't been shy letting everyone know he thinks he is capable of covering the Giants' top wide receiver. You need confidence as a young cornerback and he has shown that belief in himself. There has been a little too much contact and some flags for penalties in those matchups, but the signs are pointing up.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -I think Eli Apple has had a strong showing during practice, but I'm also not someone who subscribes to hyperbole and I didn't have the luxury of seeing him practice every single day during the regular season in 2016 and 2017. Going "fiction" here is no reflection on Apple's performance. It would simply be an exaggeration to crown the week as the best of his Giants' tenure thus far.
PAUL DOTTINO: Fiction - Eli Apple has been active on the field during both off-season camps and has also drawn positive reviews from coach Shurmur. But it might be a stretch to say he was at his best last week. The third-year cornerback had many outstanding practices last August - and looked as though he was going to build off a strong rookie campaign. And the team had every right to expect it, given that he was a first-round draft choice, but it did not work out that way. To his credit, his play this summer looks much more like what was projected of him after he established a high bar during the 2016 season. He's clearly on track to reaching that level again and it's very reasonable he will get there - and maybe beyond once the season starts.