Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens, August 31, 2001: The starters will only play about a quarter. The most important thing is to get them in and out of the game without injury. Forget about the revenge angle – you can’t avenge a Super Bowl loss.

Giants on Special Teams: The only kicker the Giants ever had that made me feel confident was Matt Bahr. With the game on the line, he almost always came through. I think I’m going to have that same feeling with Morten Andersen back there. If you remember my Key Questions Heading into the 2001 Training Camp, the kicking game was my number one concern. Well, the Giants have appeared to have addressed that. Let’s just hope he does a decent job on kick-offs as well.

P Rodney Williams needs to more consistent fast. The poor Giants’ coverage teams can ill-afford him sending off a lot of line-drive punts with little hang-time.

As for those coverage teams, it looks like the Giants will be condemned to yet another year of letting the opposition make big plays on returns. The front office did not bring in any special teams demons. That is going to cost the Giants again.

The return game won’t get untracked unless the blocking gets better. That is a doubtful proposition as it has been poor all preseason.

Giants on Defense: Unfortunately, Kenny Holmes didn’t get much playing time with his new compatriots this preseason. He will most likely see a quarter at most on Friday. DT Keith Hamilton has also missed a lot of time. How out of sync will these guys be? It will be interesting to see if DT Cornelius Griffin (ankle) plays.

As for the reserves, there is a big battle going on between Ross Kolodziej, Lance Legree, and Frank Ferrara for roster spots. This is their last chance to impress before the cut down day. Cedric Scott is safe, but he needs to make more plays.

At linebacker, Mike Barrow (arch) should be back. Jessie Armstead needs to get it going. The learning process for Brandon Short continues. Dhani Jones is safe. Will the Giants keep both Jack Golden and Kevin Lewis?

The corner situation is a bit of a mess. Jason Sehorn is out at least one more week. Emmanuel McDaniel and Dave Thomas have not been impressive. Will Allen and Will Peterson aren’t there yet, but flash ability. Ralph Brown has quietly had a very good camp and preseason. Shaun Williams, Sam Garnes, and Omar Stoutmire are set as the top three safeties. To me, the big battle on defense this last week is between Clarence LeBlanc and DeWayne Patmon.

Giants on Offense: If Kerry Collins can become more consistent, he could challenge for a Pro Bowl spot. If he doesn’t, the Giants will struggle to make the playoffs. It’s that simple. He’s the most important performer on the team.

Ron Dayne looks primed for a good year. How rusty will Tiki Barber (hand) be when he gets back after this game? Damon Washington is a good third back. At fullback, Greg Comella will be an instrumental part of the offense – especially with the problems at tight end. Will the Giants keep a back-up fullback (Anthony Green or Adam Wright)? They did not last year.

Amani Toomer has missed a lot of time with an ankle injury…let’s hope he reverts to his earlier form at camp where he looked very sharp. The Giants are going to miss Ike Hilliard. Joe Jurevicius has had a good preseason and Ron Dixon had a big game last week, but Hilliard is more talented than JJ and more polished than Dixon. How many receivers will the Giants keep – five or six? What do they do with Jonathan Carter, who has missed much time with a knee injury?

At tight end, Howard Cross (knee) has missed a ton of time and won’t play again this week. How rusty will he be? Dan Campbell didn’t do anything in the passing game last week after a big week of practice. Do the Giants keep Marcellus Rivers or Adam Young? My bet is on Rivers. Is Taman Bryant safe on the practice squad?

I am concerned with Lomas Brown. He has not been sharp. If he doesn’t do well, the Giants only options are to move Luke Petitgout over there or play Chris Bober. If you move Petitgout, who plays right tackle? Even if Lomas and Glenn Parker do play well again this year, can they stay healthy? The interesting battles on the offensive line is to see which rookies are kept: OG Rich Seubert and/or Terrance Sykes. Does Scott Kiernan finally make it?