With the start of the NFL season just over two weeks away, the New York Giants will look to fine tune some areas when they take on the Jets.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—The New York Giants will take on the Jets in their annual preseason clash at MetLife Stadium in what will be the dress rehearsal before the season opener.
Since this is the third preseason game in which the starters will play at least the first half and area bragging rights are on the line, this game will be far more intense than the previous two preseason games.
The Giants looked better in their 30-17 win over the Detroit Lions last week than they did the previous week against the Browns. But the Giants know there are still improvements they need to make before they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener.
Alec Ogletree told Elite Sports NY what he expects.
“Hopefully, we get a win and a lot more of the defense gelling together as one. We also have to make sure we get our communication down, and just building those blocks so that hopefully when it comes to Week 1 we’re ready to go.”
Here are the things to watch for when the Giants take on the Jets:
The play of the inside linebackers in pass coverage
The inside linebackers have been solid against the run, but they have given up big plays in the passing game in their two preseason games. Against the Browns, they gave up a 36-yard touchdown to tight end David Njoku, and last week they gave up a 42-yard completion to running back Theo Riddick.
The Jets will try to get running back Bilal Powell matched up against one of the Giants linebackers in coverage. Ogletree and the rest of the linebackers must tighten up on their coverage skills or teams will exploit this weakness. It’s possible that Ray-Ray Armstrong may play some snaps with the first team defense after taking reps with the first team defense in Monday’s practice.
Will Davis Webb have another strong performance?
After Davis Webb’s performance against the Browns, Giants fans thought the team made a mistake by not taking Sam Darnold with the second pick in the draft. Following his performance against the Lions when he played with the first team offense, Webb erased doubts of his naysayers as he completed 14-of-20 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Against the Jets he’ll likely play with the second team offense just as he did against the Browns. It will be interesting to see if he can thrive with the second team offense and continue to show that he can be the heir-apparent to Eli Manning.
Which receiver will have a Victor Cruz moment?
Eight years ago, recently retired Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz burst onto the scene and scored three touchdowns in the Giants 31-16 victory over the Jets. If not for that performance, Cruz may not have gone on to become a Super Bowl champion and a Pro Bowl receiver.
The Giants have many talented receivers on their roster, and someone will need a breakout performance to help their chances of earning a roster spot.
After Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer, it’s hard to predict who will be the other receivers to make the final roster.
Hunter Sharp, Amba Etta-Tawo, Kalif Raymond, Russell Shepard, Roger Lewis, Travis Rudolph, Alonzo Russell, Jawill Davis and Marquis Bundy are all vying to make the roster. The Giants may not keep more than six receivers on their active roster, so whoever performs best against the Jets, stands a good chance of making the roster.
What will we see from Jhurrell Pressley?
With Saquon Barkley still nursing his tweaked left hamstring, and Jalen Simmons in concussion protocol, the Giants brought in running back Jhurrell Pressley. Pressley took reps this week in practice with the second and third team offense, and head coach Pat Shurmur said he will play on Friday.
“He’s a guy that I’m familiar with from Minnesota. He competed hard for us there. He’s a tough guy, he’s fast. We’re going to get him in the game, and he’s going to play for us. He’s a terrific young man as well. Plus, it was easy to get him here. He was down there in Delaware. So, it was a quick drive up. We like what we’ve seen in the past. He’s going to get his opportunity.”
It’s unlikely Barkley or Simmons plays on Friday, so Pressley will certainly get plenty of action Friday night.
A week ago, Pressley was sitting on his couch hoping to get a phone call from an NFL team. Now he has a chance to shine against the Jets and potentially earn a roster spot.