It is that time of year again. New York Giants are back in business! While we have to wait until September 10th (when they destroy the Cowgirls) for the Giants to play meaningful games, tonight we open the preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Let me tell you what you should be looking for, if you are a Giants fan, in this matchup.
Evan Engram spread all over the offense
Reports have it that Evan Engram is dominating to start off training camp. He has played three different positions so far: Tight End, Fullback and Wide Receiver. As a rookie last year, Sterling Shepard played 29 snaps in the first preseason game. I expect the same, if not more, amount of playing time from Engram in the preseason opener. Engram should be the starting Tight End come the regular season. If the Giants want him ready against the Cowboys he needs to get his reps in NOW.
Josh Johnson v Geno Smith
We all know Eli Manning is the starting Quarterback for the Giants. I do not even know why I even mentioned that because it will be that way until Eli retires. Besides Eli, the Giants have three other Quarterbacks on the roster. Those QBs are Josh Johnson, Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb. Davis Webb will be a Giant there is no question about that. However, the Giants will only be keeping one of Johnson or Smith once the regular season comes around. These two will be battling it out throughout practices and the games during the preseason. I am actually a bit excited to watch Geno Smith play. He had a stellar college career before being drafted out of West Virginia to the New York Jets. He disappointed with the Jets, but I think he is going to try and bounce back with the Giants. I think he is going to have a strong preseason and make the team as the backup. Will he be the future once Eli retires? Maybe …
The Offensive Line
The biggest problem for the Giants this season will be the same as last season, the offensive line. Besides Justin Pugh at Guard and Weston Richburg at Center, there are question marks and concerns. I will bullet point a few questions that you should be asking yourself while watching the Giants in this game.
- Have Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart made any improvement in their games?
- Can rookies Chad Wheeler and Adam Bisnowaty compete with Hart and Flowers for starting spots at the Tackle position?
- DJ Fluker has played Right Guard all of camp so far. Can he be more effective and replace John Jerry?
If the Giants can see improvement in two of those positions I think they have a real shot to contend this year.
Who will replace Jonathan Hankins?
I think we will see an extended run for Jay Bromley, Dalvin Tomlinson and Robert Thomas right out of the gate. One of these players will be starting on the D-Line come Week 1. It will be curious to see who that player will be. I think the battle will come down to Bromley and Tomlinson. Jay Bromley is in his 4th year out of Syracuse and the coaches expect him to step up this year. On ESPN radio, Bromley stated that he has been working hard and will do whatever he needs to help his team win. He has the size the be a force (6’3, 314 lbs) and is a local kid. It would be a great story to see him thrive. However, I love Alabama defensive players. Dalvin Tomlinson is just that. Nick Saban breeds absolute animals on the defensive end of the ball. They are nasty and they are not afraid to get physical. Tomlinson is about the same size as Bromley (6’3, 317 lbs), but I think he has the better skill set. He was overlooked a bit on a stacked Alabama defense. However, I think he will wind up winning the starting job.
Do not forget about the kickers
The Giants may have a big problem at kicker this season. The kicker has become so much more valuable since they have moved back the extra point as it is not a given anymore. This preseason we will see veteran Mike Nugent battling it out with Aldrick Rosas for the position. Rosas signed with the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2016, but was cute before the season began. In 2014 at Southern Oregon University, Rosas was 16 of 21 on Field Goals with a long of 48, while missing 3 PATs. Those stats do not make me feel comfortable and I am not sure if I am ready to put my trust into Rosas. On the other hand, Mike Nugent has been a solid kicker for a while now. However, last year was maybe the worst of his career. He missed a career high 6 PATs, while having one of the worst FG% (79.3%) of his career. It will be a scary season for Giants’ kickers no matter who wins the starting spot.