The preseason continues for the new-look Giants on Sunday night. Head coach Brian Daboll and crew will host the Bengals at MetLife Stadium (7 p.m., NBC/NFL Network)
It’s currently unclear how many offensive starters will play due to the various injuries on the Giants offensive line. On the other sideline, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is already planning to sit many of his starters.
Regardless, there are still various reasons to tune in and watch Big Blue suit up against the defending AFC champions.
Max Garcia fighting for a spot. The Giants are down to their sixth center. That’s right — sixth. Starters Jon Feliciano and Shane Lemieux are dealing with injuries, and so are reserve linemen Ben Bredeson, Jamil Douglas, and Garrett McGhin.
Garcia is expected to assume the starting duties against Cincinnati, and this could be one of his few opportunities to crack the 53-man roster. Garcia has dropped on the depth chart in training camp but has an opportunity to redeem himself against the Bengals.
A dominant performance could spark a resurgence for Garcia en route to potentially solidifying a more concrete role.
Step forward for A-Rob? Second-year cornerback Aaron Robinson had a performance to forget in last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Patriots. A blown coverage down the right sideline in the first quarter was followed by a taunting penalty in the end zone. Robinson then got hit with a double move, as rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton caught a strike from Brian Hoyer in the back of the end zone. Robinson was also called for holding on that scoring play, putting the cherry on top of the crap sundae.
The 2021 third-round draft pick is expected to start at the boundary corner spot opposite Adoree’ Jackson. But right now, Robinson looks like he’s setting himself up for an early-season benching, even if he does land the job for Week 1.
Robinson could build confidence with a solid performance Sunday night though, even if it’s against the Bengals’ backups. It would help alter the current narrative surrounding the novice defensive back.
Darrian Beavers’ rise. Beavers turned heads against New England last week. In his first NFL game action, the rookie sixth-round linebacker showed great pursuit and recorded three total tackles, one behind the team lead.
Beavers is currently fighting to be the top depth option behind projected starters Blake Martinez and Tae Crowder. His primary competition is fellow rookie Micah McFadden, who the Giants drafted in the fifth round out of Indiana. If Beavers continues his productive preseason against the Bengals, he could solidify his spot over McFadden on the depth chart.
In the event he continues to play well into the regular season, Beavers could also eventually challenge Crowder for a starting spot. But obviously, in a perfect world, each of the linebackers vying for playing time impress and remain healthy, providing the Giants with a reliable rotation for a crucial position group.
QB1. On Sunday, and for each game this coming season, all eyes will be on Daniel Jones when he’s on the field. Every move he makes will contribute to the ultimate decision on whether he’s the franchise’s answer at the game’s most important position.
He probably shouldn’t play Sunday night due to various offensive linemen sitting out. But he needs game experience in Daboll’s offense. When Jones takes the field with what’s left of the Giants offense, he must hone his pre-snap reads, post-snap decision-making, timing, and accuracy, all of which will be meticulously evaluated.
Jones needs to prove he can feel comfortable not just in this system, but as an NFL starter, period. Even a few series in a preseason game are important.