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What are the 10 NYG-JAX storylines to follow?

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1. Starters look to start fast with extended time.


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After playing roughly one quarter in the opener, the Giants' starters on offense and defense are expected to go a little deeper in the second preseason game on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Whether it was the first-team offense managing just 28 yards on 15 plays or the defense allowing 10 points in the first quarter, both sides said they have to start faster.

2. Offense tries to find a rhythm.

Against the Bengals, quarterback Eli Manning went 4 of 8 for 22 yards, 16 of which came from a short pass that running back Andre Williams turned into a bigger gain. Heading into the matchup with Jacksonville, Manning stated his goals. "Obviously, put some points on the board and get some drives going, sustain some drives," he said. "Hopefully be able to get out there, set the tempo, play fast with the offense, get some first downs and get into a good rhythm with the offense."

3. Who's playing? Who's not?

Three wide receivers were unable to practice on Thursday at training camp: Victor Cruz (calf), Rueben Randle (knee) and Julian Talley (toe).

Additionally, defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), offensive lineman Brandon Mosley (back), and safeties Landon Collins (knee) and Cooper Taylor (toe) are also on the injury report.

**

Playmakers on the Jacksonville Jaguars first-team offense, defense, and special teams

  1. Offensive line combinations. **

With the return of Geoff Schwartz to practice, the offensive line is healthier than it has been in a while, opening up competitions up and down the depth chart. While rookie tackle Ereck Flowers and guard Justin Pugh have held down the left side with Weston Richburg at center, coach Tom Coughlin said the right side will likely stay the same for the start of the Jacksonville game with John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse at guard and tackle, respectively.

But Schwartz, who can play inside or outside, will get his reps while players like rookie Bobby Hart look to factor into the unit.

5. Wide receivers stepping up.

In the wake of the Cincinnati game, Coughlin voiced his displeasure with the wide receivers, one of the deepest positions on the roster. They accounted for just eight of the 15 completions last week.

6. Expect a run-heavy game with Jacksonville.

Like Coughlin, old meets new on Saturday for linebacker J.T. Thomas III, who played the last two seasons under head coach Gus Bradley in Jacksonville before joining the Giants this offseason. As his current and former teams go head-to-head this weekend, Thomas knows what to expect from both sides.

"I think both teams want to run the football, and that's important," said Thomas, who had 12 tackles and a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown last season against the Giants. "I know that's something that Gus kind of harped on when I was there, and of course that's something that coach Coughlin looks forward to being able to do -- establish the run game. That will be the battle on defense between both defenses, seeing who can come out and impose their will on the opposing offense."

7. Big Blue debuts for Meriweather, Staten.

The Giants acquired two players this week: two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather, a free agent who last played for Washington, and defensive tackle Jimmy Staten, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle. Meriweather will be wearing No. 43 while Staten is No. 63.

8. Kennard lining up all over the place.

Linebacker Devon Kennard had a breakout game against Jacksonville as a rookie, notching 2.0 sacks in his third career start. With new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, look for Kennard's pass-rushing ability to be utilized both from the linebacker position and up on the defensive line.

9. Improvements in punt return and coverage.

Over the last two years, the Giants have given up four punt returns for touchdowns while ranking 27th on the other side in averaging 7.5 yards per return. So it's clear why it has been a major emphasis for the Giants, who brought in Dwayne Harris this offseason. The former Cowboy has two return touchdowns on his resume.

"We want to make a big difference on the opponent's punts and our punts," special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said this week. "We need to see a big swing there; we spent some money with bringing guys in to get that done."

10. Surprise stars.

Last week Akeem Hunt broke a 70-yard kickoff return, and defensive back Trevin Wade claimed the first interception, which he ran back for 61 yards. Who will it be this time on Saturday night?

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