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Sideline View: Practice observations (8/24)

jones-center82417.jpg brings you practice notes and observations straight from the sidelines:

The New York Giants were back on the practice fields today at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. They are gearing up for their preseason game against the Jets in the annual MetLife Bowl, which kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

Here is what we learned today at practice:

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• Two days before the all-important third preseason game, also known as the NFL's dress rehearsal, the Giants' top three receivers for much of practice were Sterling Shepard, Roger Lewis and Travis Rudolph. For the second consecutive day, Lewis had a big practice and hooked up with Eli Manning on some deep throws while Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) and Brandon Marshall (shoulder) are banged up. Marshall watched practice again from the sidelines, while Beckham remained inside getting treatment.

• Brett Jones, who backs up Weston Richburg at center, took a few snaps on the top line at right guard, the position held by John Jerry. He did the same thing yesterday as the Giants are in the middle of an 11-day stretch that includes three games.

"I think the first group needs to play together and you need to be able to push the first group as well, so there is a balance there," coach Ben McAdoo said. "But guys have earned opportunities to go in there and compete and we need to give them those opportunities."

McAdoo was asked if it's too late to consider any changes on the offensive line with the season opener two weeks from this Sunday.

"Never. Convenience is never a good answer," he said. "You have to do what is best for the team and if you can improve the roster, you improve it. If you can improve the starting lineup, you improve it. You never take the easy way out."

• Fullback Jacob Huesman had a touchdown catch today on a pass that didn't look like it was going to him. The ball ricocheted off a few players – offensive and defensive – before the fullback snatched it in the end zone, much to the amazement and delight of his teammates on his side of the ball.

• Keeping with the plan of the first two outings, McAdoo said the Giants will treat the third preseason game much like they did last year with respect to playing time. In that game, a 21-20 victory over the Jets where Tavarres King caught the game-winning touchdown with 2:25 remaining, Manning played one drive into the second half. He did not play the fourth and final preseason game last year.

•   McAdoo had a good line when asked about the league relaxing the rules on celebrations: "We want to make sure we are not kicking PATs from Hoboken. We need to make sure we stay within the rules there and keep the extra points makeable." The Giants have had the officials in the facility to go over the new rules, which owners passed earlier this offseason. Examples of what will be allowed after scores under the new policy include using the football as a prop after a touchdown, celebrating on the ground, and group demonstrations.

• The Giants today signed defensive back Tim Scott, who was released earlier this month by the Washington Redskins. He also has had stints on the practice squads of the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns. There was an opening on the roster after cornerback Valentino Blake was placed on the exempt/left squad list. "He is dealing with personal issues," McAdoo said of Blake. "We are going to give him some time and space to deal with those."

• Clubs must reduce their active roster to a maximum of 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Instead of first cutting down to 75 players like the league did in the past, teams will go straight from 90 to 53 because of a rule change.

"Yeah, the cut down rule will make it interesting," McAdoo said. "There will be a lot of players out there and a lot of good players out there. Some teams are stockpiling at some positions and they may not keep them around, so you will be able to find some good players out there that have some experience possibly that can come in and make your team better."

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