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Notebook: Backups get extended look in preseason


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When Mike Glennon entered the NFL in 2013, most coaches followed a familiar plan for deploying their personnel in the preseason: play the starters for a couple of series in the first game, a little more in the second, past halftime in the third and not at all in the fourth contest.

And now?

"I feel like since I got in the league, the whole trajectory has changed," Glennon said.

It did for Glennon Saturday night when the Giants opened their preseason against the Jets. Coach Joe Judge sat almost all his starters, including Daniel Jones, so No. 2 quarterback Glennon started the game along with numerous other backups. He played three series in the Giants' 12-7 loss in MetLife Stadium.

The Giants have two preseason games remaining, at Cleveland and against New England, and Judge has indicated Jones and the first teams will get their heaviest workload against the Patriots.

"It used to be everything built up to the third game and then it started a couple of years ago, it was like no one played anymore," said Glennon, who completed three of seven passes for 20 yards. "Now it seems like maybe teams are treating the first game like the fourth game and the third game like the third games – I don't know. You guys have probably been around long enough to see the same thing, so I don't know what the plan is. But yeah, it felt kind of more like a fourth, which is weird, but we'll see. Maybe that's what it's going to be going forward now that there's only three games."

The only starters to play were four offensive linemen – tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart, guard Will Hernandez and center Nick Gates -- and wide receiver Darius Slayton, who appeared briefly and caught one pass. Left guard Shane Lemieux, who returned to practice this week following a knee injury, was replaced by Kenny Wiggins.

"I want to get those guys some more chemistry on the field against a different opponent and I want to see as much of Mike and get as much experience in preseason as we can get with those guys," Judge said. "He's not always going to get a lot of reps with those guys in the regular season as of right now, so we want to make sure we took advantage of the time we had."

"I think it's great to get with those guys because if something were to happen, those were the guys to be with," Glennon said. "So, to get more familiar with them and really just throwing to guys like Darius Slayton. I don't typically get a lot of reps with him in practice because Daniel is usually getting those reps. It's always good to get an opportunity to play with the ones. So, to Joe's point, the backup usually doesn't get to do that, so I appreciate that opportunity."

The Giants struggled to move the ball most of the game. They finished with just 163 total yards, 58 net passing yards, 11 first downs, and their time of possession was only 20:11. The Giants had a chance to score in the second quarter after a pass interference penalty gave them a first down at the Jets' seven-yard line. But Corey Clement fumbled after running for four yards and the Jets recovered. The Giants' lone score was a fourth-quarter, 21-yard pass from Clayton Thorson to wide receiver Damion Willis.

The Jets scored on rookie Chris Naggar's 30-yard field goal and La'Mical Perine's four-yard run before adding a late safety when Thorson was sacked in the end zone.

The Giants made some memorable plays and had some promising performances. Wide receiver David Sills, playing his first game since the 2019 preseason, caught three passes for a team-high 49 yards, including a game-long 37-yarder. Running back Sandro Platzgummer, an Austrian native who will spend a second season on the Giants' practice squad as part of the NFL's International Player Pathway Program, ignited a wild bench celebration with a 48-yard run. Rookie cornerback Rodarius Williams, a sixth-round draft choice, tied for the team lead with eight tackles (six solo) and recovered a fumble that he returned 29 yards to set up the Giants' touchdown.

Second-year linebacker Carter Coughlin, who played on the outside as a rookie, played well in his first game inside, where he has practiced much of camp.

"It was a blast, putting everything that I've been working on in practice, everything that I've been taught from the coaches and getting a chance to really go out there and do it for real," Coughlin said.

"I thought Carter did a good job for us overall tonight," Judge said. "He had a couple of things that we have to clean up and nothing was perfect with him. But in terms of a motor, Carter plays with a motor. He's got good athleticism, he has good play strength, he shows some instincts and obviously with us moving him back and forth inside and outside - the inside is new to him. There's a lot of things for him he's experiencing for the first time, but I'd say he's flashed positively throughout camp."

Wiggins had the team's highest snap count. After playing early with the starters, he briefly left the game but had to return when his left guard replacement, Kyle Murphy, was carted off with an ankle injury.

"Throughout my career I've been a starter, I've been a backup, I've been a role player, whatever it is, I've kind of done it all," said Wiggins, an eight-year pro and first-year Giant. "That's just old hat for me. Going in, getting plugged in at different positions or whatever it is, I'm just here to play football."

But he played more against the Jets than he expected.

"Kenny is a tough dude and he's a football player," Judge said. "Having to kind of answer the bell right there and play 60 minutes…I don't think anyone out here right now is in shape for 60 minutes of football. And Kenny is the kind of guy that's not going to turn anything down."

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

*Wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the Giants' first-round draft choice this year, didn't participate in warmups and wasn't on the sideline. He has an undisclosed injury.

"Any injured player who was not going to be able to play in the game we didn't put on the sideline," Judge said. "Everyone on the sideline would have been healthy enough to participate in the game. The only exception would be Saquon (Barkley). And if it's a captain, there's a different deal. Sometimes I'll let them on a field."

Judge said he is hopeful Toney will soon return to practice.

*Linebacker TJ Brunson and tight end Cole Hikutitni left the game with injuries.

*The Giants' offensive starters were quarterback Mike Glennon, running back Devontae Booker, wide receivers Darius Slayton, Dante Pettis and C.J. Board, tight end Kaden Smith, tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart, guards Kenny Wiggins and Will Hernandez and center Nick Gates.

Defensively, the starting 11 included linemen Danny Shelton, B.J. Hill and Austin Johnson, inside linebackers Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland, outside linebackers Azeez Ojulari and Trent Harris, cornerbacks Isaac Yiadom and Madre Harper and safeties Julian Love and Joshua Kalu.

*The second offensive line, from left to right tackle: Jackson Barton, Kyle Murphy, Brett Heggie, Jake Burton, Chad Slade

*This was just the fourth time the Giants and Jets squared off in a preseason opener. They also did so in 1983, 2010 (the first NFL game in MetLife Stadium) and 2019. The Giants had won the previous three games.

*The Jets ended the Giants' four-game winning streak in the preseason series and lead 26-25-1 all-time.

*The Giants are 37-31-3 in preseason openers since 1950.

*The Giants' game captains were center Nick Gates and safeties Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love (who started).

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