The opening preseason game for the New York Giants is in the books – an interesting night for the defending Super Bowl champions, who saw inspiring play from Martellus Bennett and Dwayne Hendricks, a mixed bag from Prince Amukamara, and a not so impressive night from Marvin Austin. It was a sloppy game that was quite honestly poorly refereed by the replacement officials, but it was nonetheless the first step in the Giants evaluating their football team and starting the defense of their championship.
On Saturday night, the G-Men go to battle with their crosstown rival New York Jets, who have been in the news far more this offseason despite Eli Manning and the Blue corner of New York bringing home the Lombardi trophy. As the Giants have proven time and time again however, it all comes down to what happens on the football field – and you can be certain that for Tom Coughlin and his staff, this is just another opportunity to shape their roster with impact football players going into September.
Today we look at things to watch for in the New York Giants second preseason matchup.
The Pass Protection
Eli Manning and the Giants first unit will see a little more extended playing time in this game, and it will be a good opportunity for Tom Coughlin and the coaching staff to get an idea of what type of pass protection Manning will get early in the 2012 season. The one on one matchups along the offensive line will be very telling, as blitzing likely won't be much of a factor in the first quarter of this game and it will be very apparent which members of the line aren't holding their own in the battles they have to win up front.
This is the game where Wilson has to start some momentum going into the season. D.J Ware had an impressive performance in the opening preseason game, and Wilson can't afford to take a backseat this week if he wants to have a shot of significant playing time going into the season. Most importantly, he'll have to show that he's aware and capable in any blitz pickup situations – if they should arise. Wilson has all the physical talent in the world, but he's going to have to show Tom Coughlin that he's ready to put it together and use it on the field.
The New York defense wasn't particularly impressive in the opening preseason game, and the secondary looked a little out of sync, which for the most part is to be expected. That being said, the Giants need to see more from Prince Amukamara and the young cornerbacks on this time while Terrell Thomas continues to deal with his injury setback. This secondary will be the deciding factor in whether the Giants defense will be just solid or elite this season. Someone has got to step up at corner.
He played an impressive all-around game in his time on the field last week, and can really get not only his confidence going but the confidence of his teammates around him going – particularly Eli Manning, if he can come out and have another strong showing against the Jets defense in this game. Bennett has a lot of tools to work with and scouts have always talked about his potential to be a real impact weapon on offense if he committed himself to his craft. So far, so good. He's a standout athlete with the physical skill set to really be a threat for this Giants offense with both his blocking in the run game and athletic ability as a pass catcher. Let's see what he has in store tonight.
There was certainly some sloppiness in this aspect of the game last week against the Jaguars, and still plenty of question marks as to who will emerge in the return game. Tom Coughlin will be looking for impact, high energy performances. It will be fun to watch the younger players compete in the special teams element, as being a standout player here can win a bubble player a roster spot.
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