Game Preview: New York Giants at New York Jets, August 27, 2016
Third preseason game is the most important… blah, blah, blah.
We know where all eyes will be in this game – Victor Cruz. A healthy and productive Victor Cruz – combined with Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard – changes the entire complexion of the offense.
THE INJURY REPORT:
- WR Geremy Davis (hamstring)
- TE Will Johnson (burner – will not play)
- TE Matt LaCosse (knee – will not play)
- LG Justin Pugh (shoulder)
- S Darian Thompson (shoulder – will not play)
- S Mykkele Thompson (concussion – will not play)
NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Fair or not, all eyes will be on Victor Cruz. If he catches a pass, the crowd will loudly cheer. If he catches a touchdown pass and does the salsa, the crowd will explode. Where is Victor Cruz both physically and mentally as a football player? How badly damaged is he permanently? Does he have the same drive and passion to succeed on the football field? We’re about to find out those answers.
Regardless of the reasons, all of the optimism surrounding the wide receiver corps after Beckham and Shepard has dissipated. Victor Cruz and Geremy Davis got hurt. And those who flashed in training camp have been largely invisible in the games. Time is running out on Tavarres King, Roger Lewis, and Darius Powe.
The offensive line and tight ends embarrassed themselves against the Bills last week. The bad news for them is that it doesn’t get any easier against a very talented and aggressive New York Jets defense. The starters are not likely play much in the last preseason game. This will be their last good test before facing the Cowboys in Dallas on September 11th.
One player to closely watch will be Larry Donnell. He had a horrific game as a blocker against the Bills. Does he rebound this week? If not, it may be time to reconsider his starting and roster statuses. Matt LaCosse picked a bad time to get sidelined. With Will Johnson also out, we may see a lot of Jerell Adams in this game.
NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The big question here remains who is the starting middle linebacker? Jasper Brinkley or Kelvin Sheppard. “Still neck and neck,” said Steve Spagnuolo this week. “We’ve been repping it exactly that way. Even when you see in practice, Kelvin will go with the first team, first series and then Jasper will do the same thing. It’s been a great battle. Two guys that respect each other and that’s what the league is all about. The more you can get that at every position the better you’re going to be.”
Another issue remains depth at safety. Darian Thompson is out until at least the opener. The rookie is missing valuable practice time. Is there a viable back-up on the roster? Mykkele Thompson is also out. So Nat Berhe, Cooper Taylor, Andrew Adams, and Justin Currie get an opportunity to impress. “It’s in flux right now until we can get it settled and that’s just where it is at. We’ll find out in these next two games,” said Spagnuolo, who made it clear he desperately wants Thompson to return as soon as possible.
At corner, Eli Apple returns. “I truly believe that this kid is going to be one of the great ones for us down the road,” said David Merritt this week. Spagnuolo had high praise for Donte Deayon too despite a rough game against the Bills. “I love that guy,” said Spagnuolo. “He walks in the room and brightens up the whole room. I don’t know if you guys have had the chance to meet him or talk to him but he is a wonderful young man and he is a feisty player – all 100 and whatever (pounds) he is. He is a football player, God gave him the body he has and he has used every bit of it to get himself where he is right now. I am impressed with what he has done, he has a long way to go and he has to get a lot of reps and we have to see where he is when the bullets fly. The guys love him too and love being around him.”
On the defensive line, we know who the starters will be and that Owamagbe Odighizuwa will be a factor as a reserve. Romeo Okwara has made a strong push for a roster spot. Kerry Wynn returns this week and this will be a big game for him. There are six bodies behind Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins and we’re still waiting for that to sort itself out. Who would start if one of the other two got hurt?
NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Whether you agree or not, the national and local media is not going to let the Josh Brown story fade away. That may force the Giants hand. Enter Randy Bullock, who is not only auditioning for opening night but the full-time job. “We’re looking for the best 53 in Week One. If he’s one of them, then we’ll go with it,” said McAdoo of Bullock.
Remember a kicker has to become comfortable with the snapper and the holder. Bullock doesn’t have a lot of time to get ready.
FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Ben McAdoo on the Third Preseason Game: “As a general proposition, we would like to take our starters into early in the third quarter. We will evaluate it at halftime and see how it goes and then different guys based off of where they are physically. We may give a little bit more or give a little bit less, too. ”
THE FINAL WORD:
Weird and bad stuff always seems to happen in the Giants-Jets preseason game. Cross your fingers on everyone staying healthy. Let’s hope Victor Cruz flashes. And let’s see some toughness, physicality, and proper execution by the offensive blockers.