New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills, August 3, 2014
For the first time this season, the New York Giants take the field for a preseason exhibition game versus the Buffalo Bills. The last time New York played in the Hall of Fame game, a young tight end made an impact
As vanilla as it may be, as Eli Manning trots out from the sideline and into the huddle it will mark the first time Ben McAdoo’s offense is displayed in an actual game. While the offense won’t be as complex as it will be come the regular season, Sunday will be the first time it’s run in a live game.
How does Eli Manning look in a West Coast Offense?
For the duration of his career, Eli Manning has been as prototypical of a quarterback as one can get. Five and seven step drops, a perfect pocket and long balls down the field were what was asked of Manning and exactly what he accomplished. With Ben McAdoo in and Kevin Gilbride out as New York’s offensive coordinator, the question on how Manning fits a West Coast scheme is on many people’s mind.
The progression of Ryan Nassib
Very little was shown of Nassib last year (19 preseason pass attempts) as the Giants elected to hide the fourth-round pick in order to develop. Now in year two, the No. 2 quarterback position is Nassib’s to lose. He’s looked good in the team’s last two camp practices, but can he show it in a game? Nassib should get an awful lot of reps versus Buffalo.
The ‘Legend’ of Devon Kennard
It’s hard to watch a Giants’ training camp practice and not notice the rookie fifth-round pick. Whether it’s his bone-crushing hits, or involvement in nearly ever defensive formation, there’s something about the 23 year old that sticks out. Kennard has enjoyed hitting teammates in practice, now’s his chance to hit an opponent with a different colored jersey.
The rebuilt, re-tooled secondary
For years and years, the Giants’ defense game plan was predicated on pressuring the quarterback and hiding any weaknesses in the secondary. While the scheme worked for two Super Bowl championships, eventually opponents countered. Knowing quarterbacks wouldn’t have time for long developing plays, offenses worked in short, quick-hit passes to negate New York’s ferocious pass rush. This offseason, the attention turned to the secondary and the likes of Walter Thurmond, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Zack Bowman and others. While it won’t be displayed long, how does the group look together?
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Connor Hughes – WR Marcus Harris
There have been many, many practices throughout the Giants’ training camp where the offense has looked lost, but the one constant has been second-year pro Marcus Harris. Last year’s undrafted free agent has flashed time and time again with impressive grabs, well run routes and incredible effort. Now, he needs to transition from training camp hero, to game day warrior. Can Harris have a Victor Cruz-like performance in the preseason to earn himself a roster spot? Sunday will be his first chance.
Eric Kennedy – DE Damontre Moore
Christ, I could put a dozen legitimate candidates here. I am tempted to go with Brandon Mosley at right guard or his possible replacement Weston Richburg since the state of the offensive line is so critical. But I’m going to go with Damontre Moore as I am very concerned about the Giants ability to rush the passer outside of Jason Pierre-Paul. Moore flashed big time in his preseason debut last year, but got hurt in that game, and never seemed to get back on track. He’s not much bigger this year, but he is stronger and has reportedly looked sharp at camp both against the run and the pass. Will he be a future stud defensive end or just a guy? If the former, this defense could reach a new level given all of the talent in the secondary.
THE INJURY REPORT:
• Jon Beason *PUP LIST*
• Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring/out)
• William Beatty (illness/out)
• David Wilson (neck/out)
• Bennett Jackson (ankle/out)
• Xavier Grimble (hamstring/out)
• Trindon Holliday (leg/out)
• Spencer Paysinger (concussion/out)
• Mike Patterson (shoulder/out)
• Robert Ayers (ankle/out)
• Trumain McBride (hip/out)
• Eric Herman (out)
FROM THE COACHES MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin: “Well, it’s obvious that you don’t play a game without wanting to win. But it’s the overall picture of the organizational things, the substitutions, the penalties – holding them to a bare minimum; don’t turn the ball over, don’t make the game a sloppy game. Establish some of the things we’d like to do. For example, I’d like to be able to run the ball and be able to do that in the first game this weekend as well. I’m sure Buffalo wants the same thing. So we have those kinds of goals, the specifics about it we’ll present to the team. Coming out of camp – we have not been here very long – have an opportunity to play a game, see what people are like under those circumstances, the enthusiasm, the energy, certainly come out of the game without injuries, all those things.”
THE FINAL WORD:
Connor Hughes – Football is finally back as both the Giants and Bills take the field on Sunday. With all the new pieces added to New York’s roster, I’m excited to see each take the field. Different players have flashed at different times during training camp, but now it’s for real. Heck, maybe even a tight end makes a play or two? Buffalo: 17 – Giants: 13.
Eric Kennedy – In a four-game preseason, the first game is usually a glorified scrimmage. This may be even uglier than that. I don’t expect the Giants starters to play long or look particularly sharp. The coaches will be more interested in working on certain plays and seeing certain players than winning the game. But it will be interesting to see how up tempo the offense is from the get-go. Keep in mind that Coughlin said this week that only half the offensive installation is in place. This is still very much a work in progress. The Giants will also be missing some very important components on both sides of the ball (Beckham, Beason, Beatty). If Nassib struggles, this one could get ugly. Buffalo 27 – Giants 13.