The question posed to Tom Coughlin earlier this week concerned Odell Beckham Jr. A portion of the response applied to the entire Giants team.
"There has to be a little bit of a sense of urgency right now," Coughlin said. "You're a couple weeks away from lining up. So I'd like to see things done well, done right."
The players' next opportunity to impress their coach will be tomorrow night, when the Giants host the Jets in the annual MetLife Bowl. Both teams are 1-1 in the preseason.
This is the preseason contest that most closely approximates a regular-season game. The starters will likely play at least the first two quarters. Coughlin will look for execution, production, offensive points and defensive toughness and, as always, a victory. He didn't see what he wanted nearly enough in the loss at Cincinnati and a triumph over Jacksonville – despite giving his front-liners a longer than usual opportunity.
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"We have played our people a little bit more this preseason," Coughlin said. "The third game, obviously, is an important game, just like any of them are. But as far as advancing our people, we'll play a half. There may be some that extend and there may be some that won't play a full half, but by and large, we'll plan on playing a half and a half."
Coughlin hopes that's enough time for the first-team offense to get untracked. Eli Manning has taken snaps with the starters for a total of eight series, during which the Giants gained 104 yards, picked up six first downs and scored only three points. Conservative play-calling designed to reveal little to regular-season opponents is likely part of the reason, but everyone expects more.
"I think we made some improvements last week, but still have a ways to go," said Manning, who completed just eight of 22 passes in the first two games. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get into a rhythm and get in synch and hit the open guys, move the ball, and get some points on the board."
None of Manning's eight completions went to Beckham, who has come up empty despite being targeted seven times.
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"To me, he had a chance for one ball that was thrown out in front of him," Coughlin said. "He had a drop. Again, to me, it's timing, it's rhythm, it's all of those things. But that would be where I would start."
"Obviously, you get on the field, and if the ball is thrown your way, you want to catch it," Beckham said. "But I think I had zero catches in the preseason last year (any other total would have been particularly impressive, since he didn't play in a game). I think Eli and I kind of have an understanding of where each other are. But you always want to work your material, work what you practice, and bring it over into the game as far as for confidence of the others around you. I feel as if we'll be alright whether we get a pass going or not. I'm just looking forward to be able to go against some very good competition."
He should get that against the Jets, who boast two elite cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Preseason game or not, they would certainly enjoy extending the reigning Rookie of the Year's shutout streak.
"I think it'll be a great opportunity for us," Beckham said, "to be able to go into our third preseason game and kind of just take that next step in the right direction as far as moving the offense along. Every other aspect
as well, but specifically speaking about the offense and going against one of the best corners in the league, and Cromartie who's another really good corner, just looking forward to that opportunity."
The Giants will again play without another standout receiver, Victor Cruz (calf strain).
Cruz first announced his atribal to the Giants and the NFL in the 2010 preseason game against the Jets, when he caught six passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-16 victory. That was one of the recent highlights in a rivalry that is often entertaining and fun for the fans. The players and coaches are focused on preparing for the season, but a few of them will admit a Giants-Jets game comes with some extra juice.
"Well, I think so," Manning said. "I think the fact that it's usually the third preseason game, which is the one where the starters are going to play the most. Kind of your final (major tuneup), because your last preseason game you don't get much playing time, so fine-tuning. So you want to go out there and play well, and the fact that it's both New York teams and sharing the stadium, it's always important."
"It is always a good game," Coughlin said. "It is a game that is well-approached by the media, it is a preseason game, we have our issues, we have people that we are trying to evaluate and they do, too, and I think that is where it is."
Coughlin would like to see the Giants step above the fray and demonstrate a level of proficiency he believes is closer to their capability.
*This is the 47th consecutive summer the Giants and Jets are squaring off in the preseason. The Giants won their 2014 meeting, 35-24. They trail in the preseason series, 24-21-1, with the tie coming in 1972.
*Fans attending Giants and Jets home games this season, including Saturday's contest, should be aware of likely postgame traffic delays due to ongoing construction on the Southbound entrance ramp at the 16W interchange to the New Jersey Turnpike. Fans who normally use this route to access the Turnpike will experience delays.
To avoid this construction, fans are advised to use either the 18W interchange to the New Jersey Turnpike or Eastern Spur of the New Jersey Turnpike via Route 3 East (Lincoln Tunnel / New York City / Secaucus).
*To provide a safer environment for the public while attending Giants games at MetLife Stadium, an NFL policy limits the size and types of bags AND purses that may be brought into the stadium.
The Giants strongly encourage fans to not bring any type of bags or purses. Fans will be able to carry the following style and size bags into the stadium:
One bag that is clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and does not exceed 12" x 6" x 12.", OR
A one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar) AND
In addition to one of the clear bags noted above, fans may also carry in a small clutch bag, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap.
An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the Stadium entry gates.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, binocular cases, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Finally, all fans must pass through a metal detector prior to entering the stadium.
Playmakers on Jets first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike