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Cover 3: What we learned from Giants vs. Jets


The crew breaks down the first preseason game against the New York Jets.

John Schmeelk: It is easy to draw a simple conclusion: Joe Judge was using this game as an evaluation tool. He said as much in his opening statement in his postgame press conference:

"Well, look, obviously we didn't do enough tonight to win the game," Judge said. "The objective tonight mainly was to evaluate our players. There were a lot of things we saw out there tonight that were positive on an individual basis."

It seemed like the coaching staff prioritized seeing certain players not just for a certain number of snaps but in certain roles. Ostensibly, if a player could succeed in that role for an extended workload, it would give them a better chance to either make the team or have a larger role.

Cam Brown didn't play any defensive snaps but played 13 special teams snaps, including a few chances to be a gunner in punt coverage. Rodarius Williams didn't play any special teams spare three snaps on field goal/extra point block, but he played 61 defensive snaps, including 28 snaps either in the slot or playing in the box. David Sills took 33 snaps at wide receiver but didn't play any special teams in the game. Carter Coughlin received 21 snaps at inside linebacker with another four on the defensive line.

With no fourth preseason game, this game served as a way for Joe Judge and his coaching staff to see players in different roles that they think will be important in determining whether they are on the final roster and how they can contribute when they are on the field. As the preseason continues they can then use those players in other places to see how well they operate in other roles.

Check out the best photos from the Giants' preseason opener against the New York Jets.

Dan Salomone: Joe Judge isn't one to single out players, but he did in his postgame press conference on Saturday night. While prefacing it by saying he wanted to reserve blanket statements until he watched the tape, he noted the performances of Carter Coughlin ("flashed positively" as he moves from outside to inside linebacker), Cam Brown ("a good job for us at the gunner position"), Matt Cole ("showed up" on punt coverage), and C.J. Board ("nice job" returning punts and kickoffs). As clubs start to make roster decisions over the next few weeks to get down to 53 players, these are things to keep in mind.

In terms of the state of the team, the biggest takeaway was the Giants getting a look at the first-team offensive line. In keeping with the first unofficial depth chart, which was released last week, the starters were left tackle Andrew Thomas, left guard Kenny Wiggins (in place of the injured Shane Lemieux), center Nick Gates, right guard Will Hernandez, and right tackle Matt Peart.

"There were enough positives right there to really get a look in terms of what we can do to keep helping these guys and put them in the right position, and maybe some things you want to stay away from in the future in terms of play calling or snaps," Judge said. "But this is the time of year you really find out about that. In practice, you find out about some things. When you see a foreign opponent, you find out a little bit more about it right there. In terms of how they worked, how they responded on the sideline, the adjustments they made, that was encouraging. We've got to keep making progress and moving forward."

Lance Medow: The goal of the Giants' first preseason game was to clearly evaluate the back end of the roster as the bulk of the starters, on both sides of the ball, were spectators. While team production is always the most important factor and you'd like to see better results on offense, for the sake of this game, individual development took priority and that was evident across the board. One of the most notable position battles moving forward will be for the fifth and sixth wide receiver spots, assuming they keep six. David Sills showed some flashes with a team-high three catches for 49 yards, highlighted by a 37-yard grab, C.J. Board had a strong performance on special teams as a return man and the same can be said for Matt Cole, who made a great hustle play by preventing the ball from going into the end zone on a punt. The fifth and sixth wide receivers have to be able to contribute on special teams to earn a spot on the 53-man roster and, most important, receive a jersey on game day.

With Saquon Barkley still working his way back from a torn ACL, depth at running back is key and Corey Clement took advantage of his 11 offensive snaps with five carries for 32 yards. Although his fumble in the red zone cost the Giants at least three points, he was extremely decisive when hitting the hole and showed some shiftiness and quickness when entering the open field. Much like last season, when Wayne Gallman emerged as a reliable option, the Giants will need a complementary back to Saquon.

On the defensive side of the ball, linebackers Reggie Ragland and Carter Coughlin were active as they combined for nine tackles, a sack and a pass defensed. Coughlin is making the transition to inside linebacker and Ragland's size makes him an attractive option to help Blake Martinez clean up in the middle of the field. While those two players have the potential to contribute against the run, the same can be said for veteran defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who will be called on to replace Dalvin Tomlinson this season. At 6-2, 345, Shelton is quite the presence and he delivered with a key stop on fourth and one to stall a Jets drive early in the second quarter.

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