Joe Judge has long pointed to the Giants' preseason finale next week against the New England Patriots as the game he wants to play his starters in the lone appearance for most of them before the regular season begins in three weeks.
That means after joint practices with New England on Wednesday and Thursday, vital players like Daniel Jones, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard on offense and Leonard Williams, Blake Martinez and James Bradberry will make their 2021 summer debuts Sunday against the Patriots.
Will Saquon Barkley join them?
"We have not (made a decision)," Judge said after the Giants' 17-13 preseason loss in Cleveland today. "We are going to the doctors and approach it as we get closer. We will have conversations tomorrow and will definitely be increasing what he's doing. I can't tell you exactly what that's going to be. I don't know at this point if that's going to include 11-on-11 or 7-on-7, or whatever it may be, but we're going to make sure we're very calculated with what we do. At the same time, he had a great week this week with the trainers and with what he could give us on the field. I know he is tapping his foot and getting anxious. As soon as we get the greenlight from the medical staff, we'll keep going."
Barkley, who was activated off the physically unable to perform/active list on Aug. 9, has been kept out of team drills in practice and the first two games. Is Barkley, who underwent knee surgery last Oct. 20, on a timeline that will put him on the field for the opener against the Denver Broncos?
"I don't have an answer there," Judge said, "but I wouldn't eliminate any possibilities."
Check out the best photos from the Giants' preseason contest against the Cleveland Browns.
*Tight end Kyle Rudolph has been on PUP/active list since camp opened. Might he be activated this week?
"He had a good week this week at rehab," Judge said. "When I talked to him with the medical team, it's optimistic that there may be a chance coming up to get off. Again, that is an individual basis so we will see what the medical team says on that and see if we can get him out there with the team working."
*Safety Julian Love was asked if Judge calls him "duct tape" because he's versatile.
"Listen, it might be a Philly thing where he's from and how he grew up," Love said. "Something is broken, and you put duct tape on it. I don't know how his household was taken care of, but that is kind of his expression. Just do it all. I take pride in that. Obviously, over the years to get better, try to establish how I want to be as a player and that involves doing a lot. I like it. I like doing a lot."
So does wide receiver Matt Cole, who distinguished himself during the game at cornerback, which he had last played in which school. Cole has already earned his own nickname.
"Have you ever seen (My) Big Fat Greek Wedding – the dad always used to put Windex on everything?" Love said. "We will say Matt Cole is Windex."
Cole, meanwhile, has his own nickname idea.
"I do not want to toot my own horn, but I do not think a receiver caught the ball on my side of the field – Cole World," he said. "I think I did pretty good. I just stepped up and just filled in a spot. My coaches helped on the side that are sure about the defenses that they run. I would just charge."
*The Giants' offensive starters were quarterback Mike Glennon, running back Devontae Booker, wide receivers C.J. Board and Dante Pettis, tight ends Kaden Smith and Rysen John and an offensive line, from left to right tackle, of Jackson Barton, Kenny Wiggins, Jonotthan Harrison, Ted Larsen and Chad Slade.
The defensive starters were linemen B.J. Hill, Raymond Johnson III and David Moa, linebackers Ryan Anderson, Oshane Ximines, Reggie Ragland and Devante Downs, cornerback Madre Harper and Rodarius Williams and safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love.
*Thirty-three players on the Giants' 85-man roster did not play.