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Game Preview: Important roster decisions loom


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants have many important decisions to make in the next 10 days.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, like 31 other NFL teams, they must lop five players off their roster to reach the league maximum of 80. A week later, all teams must reach the regular-season limit of 53 players.

For those players on the Giants' bubble, two big preseason showcases remain – tomorrow night against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals and next Sunday vs. the Jets.

Coach Brian Daboll said he plans to play his starters, as he did last week in New England, where most were on the field for a series or two. Cincinnati's Zac Taylor said he will once again keep his first teamers on the sideline.

Here's a position-by-position look at the Giants' roster with 10 days remaining before the big cutdown:


The only intrigue here is whether backup Tyrod Taylor will get some snaps with the first team. If he does, Daboll said it would "absolutely not" indicate any disenchantment with Daniel Jones.

"As we get going here in terms of the preseason games, we'll talk about whatever we think is best," Daboll said. "I have full confidence in Daniel and full confidence in Tyrod with what his role is. Each day we evaluate the guys. But will he get a few reps here or there? He might."

Jones played the first two series against the Patriots with Taylor playing the second quarter and Davis Webb the second half. That playing time distribution could be repeated tomorrow.

Running Back

Saquon Barkley had five touches in the opener, a number Daboll might target again. He wants to get Barkley some in-game work without overtaxing his body. Barkley didn't play in the preseason last year and even the limited reps he gets in the games will leave him better prepared to start the season. Backups Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell have missed practice or been limited, so the bulk of the carries will go to Antonio Williams and Jashaun Corbin.

Wide Receiver

Can Collin Johnson continue his impressive summer? He led the team last week with seven catches and 82 receiving yards, though he did lose a fumble. Kadarius Toney will miss his second straight game. Kenny Golladay made a big play in practice Thursday and the Giants would love to see him duplicate it in the game. Wan'Dale Robinson, Richie James, Darius Slayton and David Sills should all get an opportunity to impress the coaches.

Tight End

With Ricky Seals-Jones and Andre Miller sidelined by injuries, the Giants are a bit thin here. Rookie Daniel Bellinger tops the depth chart, followed by Chris Myarick and Jordan Akins. The tight ends accounted for only two of the Giants' 27 completions against the Patriots.

Offensive Line

This is another group that has been thinned by injuries. Before Friday's practice, coach Brian Daboll announced Max Garcia will start at center while the following offensive linemen will not play against Cincinnati: Jamil Douglas, Ben Bredeson, Josh Ezeudu, Garrett McGhin, Jon Feliciano and Shane Lemieux. Nick Gates and Matt Peart remain on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. The starters still standing are right guard Mark Glowinski and tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal. Look for the backups to get a lot of work.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.

Defensive Line

Dexter Lawrence has been a constant presence in the middle of the line. Leonard Williams didn't play last week and was limited in practice this week, an indication he again won't be in uniform. Azeez Ojulari practiced for the first time this week, while the two players listed behind him – Jihad Ward and Elerson Smith – left the field with injuries. The coaches must decide how much of a workload to give Ojulari. Justin Ellis should make his Giants preseason debut.


Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said this week he is "pleased with the whole linebacker room." He seems particularly enamored with rookie draft choices Darrian Beavers and Micah McFadden, Martindale said both players have progressed because they're using their hands more productively. "Once you get a linebacker who can use his hands, then you've got a linebacker," Martindale said. "I think they're both coming along really well and right on schedule." Veteran Blake Martinez, coming off ACL surgery, did not play last week but returned to the practice field this week. All eyes will again be on edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, the team's top draft choice.


The Giants think they have five solid starters in cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson and Aaron Robinson, safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love and nickel corner Darnay Holmes. Robinson was targeted last week by the Patriots, but Martindale said the second-year pro has "had a tremendous camp." The Giants continue to seek quality depth. With Rodarius Williams sidelined, rookies Darren Evans and Zyon Gilbert will likely get most of the cornerback snaps tomorrow night. Veteran Andrew Adams and rookie Yusuf Corker could be just as busy at safety.

Special Teams

Kicker Graham Gano and punter Jamie Gillan have performed exceptionally well in practice. The Giants are still looking at punt and kickoff returns, duties manned respectively last week by C.J. Board and Jashaun Corbin.

Representatives of the Giants' storied past visited practice and learned they will receive the franchise's highest honor.


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