The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.
Joint practices are more valuable than preseason games for starters.
John Schmeelk: Fact - Yes, but only because they can get so many more reps in competitive practices with a reduced risk of injury. On a rep vs. rep basis, the preseason action is still more valuable because players are tackling to the ground, but Giants players got a much higher volume of competitive reps against a real opponent in their four joint practices against the Browns and Patriots than they would ever get in preseason games.
Lance Medow: Fact – The majority of NFL teams tend to rest the bulk of their starters during the preseason, so there's more value in participating in joint practices while gearing up for the regular season. Most coaches feel more comfortable playing their starters in a controlled setting against another team, so if you can get quality reps against an opponent's first-team offense or defense throughout a lengthy practice, your players will likely get more out of that activity as opposed to playing a few series against a mix of talent in a preseason game.
Matt Citak: Fact – As we saw in the Giants' first two games, many starters do not see much (if any) action during the preseason. Joint practices allow for starters and reserves alike to essentially get real, competitive game reps in a controlled setting. Additionally, going up against the same opponent on consecutive days allows for corrections to be made, as Logan Ryan has pointed out. After Mac Jones had a strong performance against the Giants on Wednesday, Ryan and the defense were able to make some changes heading into Thursday's practice, which led to a much improved performance.
Daniel Jones is the player to watch in the preseason finale vs. New England.
John Schmeelk: Fact – When you watch Jones, it will become immediately clear how the team is performing in pass protection. It will also offer a clue as to which receivers might be claiming the final couple of spots on the depth chart. And Jones's play is a likely indicator to whether the offense is starting to click and if the improvement everyone hopes to see this season is ready to be reveal itself. Otherwise, keep an eye on Matt Peart, who needs to walk away from this game without giving up too many pressures at right tackle. Nate Solder, a reliable veteran, is waiting in the wings if he falters.
Lance Medow: Fact - We haven't seen the majority of the starters in the first two preseason games, so you can pretty much pick just about any player - but Daniel Jones is atop the list. This is a critical third season for him and it will be good to see where his chemistry is with some of the new weapons and how he and the offensive line work together in Year 2 of Jason Garrett's scheme. All eyes will be on Jones.
Matt Citak: Fact – This is an easy one. Jones has yet to see any game action this preseason, but that will change on Sunday against the Patriots. Joe Judge has already said that the third-year quarterback will play at least the first half of the preseason finale – and although he won't have his full arsenal of offensive weapons (Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney remain sidelined) - it will still serve as Jones' first test of the season.
View photos of the Giants practicing with the Patriots in New England ahead of Sunday's preseason finale.
Graham Gano is the most underrated player on the roster.
John Schmeelk: Fact - The guy just doesn't miss field goals. What else can you say? He is the model of consistency and he has a big enough leg to put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs and extend well past 50 yards on his field goal range. He is an extremely valuable weapon for the Giants to have and very underrated.
Lance Medow: Fact - All you have to do is watch what Graham Gano did last season. He led the team with 114 points, made 31 of his 32 field goal attempts and converted 21 of his 23 extra point attempts. Five of the Giants' six wins last season were decided by five points or less. Considering the team averaged just 17.5 points per game, more often than not a Gano field goal was the difference.
Matt Citak: Fact – Gano was a very late addition to the Giants last year, but that is no excuse for overlooking his dominant 2020 campaign. Gano finished the season an incredible 31-of-32 on field goals and 21-of-23 on extra points. His 96.9 field goal percentage was the highest since he went 4-for-4 in his rookie season and the third-highest in the NFL last year.
There won't be any surprises in the 53-man roster announcement.
John Schmeelk: Fiction - There is ALWAYS a surprise when it comes to the 53 man roster. There's a player that the coaching staff and/or front office really likes and finds valuable that the media just has not picked up on. Who is that going to be this year? Maybe Matt Cole? Could Jake Hausmann's blocking get him on the roster? There's going to be someone that surprises everyone - except for the Giants' front office and coaching staff.
Lance Medow: Fiction - There's always a surprise or two and that's because the coaching staff is evaluating players based on what they do in the classroom and at practice on a daily basis as opposed to relying on some preseason flashes. There are a lot of things the public doesn't see that determine roster spots so it's easy to dismiss a player that may not stand out on a daily basis or be a consistent contributor to the highlight reel. On top of that, medical information influences the roster and the Giants could very well keep extra depth at a position to protect themselves in case any player has an unforeseen setback.
Matt Citak: Fiction – There always ends up being a couple of surprises when it comes to the 53-man roster. Since taking over as head coach, Joe Judge has made it abundantly clear that players will be rewarded for their strong play at practice. Could one of the undrafted rookies, such as Raymond Johnson or Brett Heggie, make the team? What about guys like Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Matt Cole? Expect a surprise or two.