Players can hit sleds, dummies, and each other all they want in practice, but all of that is meaningless until they do it live during a game with a real opponent. That's what Saturday night against the Jets is all about as starters knock off the rust, rookies get up to speed, and players simply try to make an impression.
If you thought preseason was meaningless, think again. Here are five reasons to watch the Giants take on the Jets on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7:00 pm (EDT) on WCBS-TV
1) Defensive line, particularly the interior - Entering camp, Tom Coughlin thought his team was as deep at defensive tackle as any other position. Coming out of it: Shaun Rogers (blood clot in left leg) and Martin Parker (back) are both done, while Chris Canty (offseason knee surgery)has no timetable for return and Marvin Austin (back) is still sidelined. The Giants re-stocked and signed a trio of defensive tackles. There's still time before the season, but Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard will be the go-to guys in the middle for the time being.
2) Return game - Good and bad came out of the first preseason game. David Wilson returned a kickoff for 48 yards, and Jayron Hosley added a 20-yard punt return. But then came the drops. Hosley and Jerrel Jernigan each muffed a punt, turning the ball over deep in Giants territory. The flashes have to be encouraging, but there are kinks that must be worked out. Other players like Rueben Randle and even Domenik Hixon could be worked in against the Jets.
3) Linebacker competition - Top to bottom, middle to outside, linebacker coach Jim Herrmann has competition at every spot. The young talent of four second-year linebackers blending with the vets is only making the team better, said Herrmann. On an individual level, we'll see which players rise to the top as the second and third teamers expect to see a lot of action against the Jets.
4) Offensive line, particularly left tackle - Will Beatty is still battling back issues and missed practice on Thursday. While he's on the shelf, Sean Locklear has been manning the left tackle position. James Brewer and the two offensive tackles drafted this year – Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants – will also see action later on in the game as they work toward their futures.
5) MetLife Bowl II - The run for the bronze Snoopy is on. Yes, it's just preseason, No, there will not be much game-planning. Yes, the teams are more concerned with their respective division foes. But any trophy is a good trophy, right?