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New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Preseason Week 1 Preview

August 8th, 2014 at 4:15 PM
By Dan Benton

After what felt like an eternity, the New York Giants are already preparing for their second preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Time sure does fly, doesn't it? Nevertheless, Big Blue will return to MetLife Stadium for the first time in 2014 to host the aforementioned Steelers and Eli Manning's 2004 draft mate, Ben Roethlisberger.

Head coach Tom Coughlin has already said starters will receive approximately the same number of reps as they did in the Hall of Fame Game against the Buffalo Bills, so we can expect to see them on the field for about two or three series.

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What to Watch For:

  • New Offense Test 2 – It took them a little while to get going a week ago, but for a brief moment, the Giants offense looked comfortable and efficient in Ben McAdoo's new offense. With an additional week of practice under their belt — which included some really impressive day — the entire unit gets a second chance at putting it all together during live game action. Now we get to see whether or not the high completion percentage a week ago was a mere anomaly or something we might begin expect weekly.
  • Running Backs – Since the Giants last took the field, David Wilson was hit with news that his football career is over and Peyton Hillis suffered an ankle sprain that will keep him out "a little while." Now the question becomes, "can the Giants withstand these losses?" Obviously Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams will get their fair share of carries, but who will step up behind them? Paging Michael Cox and Kendall Gaskins. Your time is now.
  • Aggressiveness from Defensive Backs – Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has stressed aggressiveness with cornerback Prince Amulkarama, but others have picked up on the message. Zack  Bowman has heard the pleas (of fans) and started a daily tradition of knocking whatever is in the hands of the offense out their hands, while returns for touchdowns has been a focal point in practice. Can it carry over into live game action? Saturday presents exactly that opportunity for Big Blue's defense, who will aim to score in every game this season.
  • Offensive Line/Depth – The Giants will again be without left tackle Will Beatty on Saturday night, and could be without left guard Geoff Schwartz as well. That will allow for some depth players to get a chance with starters

Five Six Players to Watch:

  • Wide Receivers Marcus Harris & Corey Washington – Both Harris and Washington put on quite a show against the Buffalo Bills a week ago, and followed it up with a great week of practice. For hardcore Giants fans, each have now become a household name and are really starting to shoot up the ranks of popularity. However, they're both still battling for a job and can't allow the early success to distract them. In order to really impress head coach Tom Coughlin, they'll need to string together solid games and they'll get a shot at doing that this Saturday against the Steelers.
  • Quarterback Ryan Nassib – Nassib looked promising against the Bills and much more comfortable in Ben McAdoo's offense than he did Kevin Gilbride's. Still, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the former fourth-round draft pick and, as we noted earlier this week, it's imperative that he goes out and wins the back-up job from Curtis Painter. From an investment standpoint, the Giants need Nassib to do well. He'll get a second crack at it on Saturday.
  • Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul – Perry Fewell said this week he's seen "bursts" of the JPP of old, but that JPP did not show up last week against the Bills. Save for one batted down pass, JPP was manhandled one-on-one by a rookie and shutout of the box score. After a good week in practice, which included the repeated abuse of Charles Brown, JPP will look to knock off some of that remaining rust.
  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley – Hosley had an awful performance against the Bills and will need to put on a show this Saturday. Both Charles James II and Trumaine McBride have been performing at a high level in practice and the former brings quality to the Special Teams unit, so Hosley needs a rebound in order to keep his hopes at a roster spot alive. He's already got a number of things going against him, including a four-game suspension to start the regular season, but it would be foolish to ignore his potential. He just needs to put that potential on display.
  • Tight End Larry Donnell – Big Blue's tight ends have been generally unimpressive, but Donnell has stood out slightly above the rest since training camp began. He had another big week of practice and can only serve to help his own cause by playing well against the Steelers on Sunday. The starting job is still there for the taking and he's currently the closest to grasping it.

What say you, Giants fans? What are you most looking forward to seeing on Saturday night?

Also…

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14 Responses to “New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Preseason Week 1 Preview”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    First preseason game for me (and last one this year) in quite awhile, but I’m looking forward to it because of all the new faces and question marks.

    I guess with Schwartz out Jerry will play over on the left side of the line. I just hope Brown and Jerry don’t get our quarterbacks killed. I’m also hoping to see some of Richburg at center rather than guard.

    I think three guys Dan didn’t mention really need to step up: Manningham, Robinson, and Walton. Those are three I’m sure the coaches were counting on, and each now needs to start rewarding that confidence. Mario needs to show his knee is getting better and he is less tentative. Walton needs to show he can be physical and not just a technique guy, because otherwise Richburg might be a better choice at center. And Robinson needs to start showing a lot. He and Donnell should be big parts of the game plan and they need to show McAdoo that they can produce. Robinson, in particular, may be trying the patience of everyone around the team.

    I didn’t mention Conner, but unless he has a solid game he’s probably pretty much toast. Hynoski is doing better, and is ahead of him on the depth chart. And there aren’t a lot of NFL jobs for fullbacks. His career may be on the line over the next two weeks.

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      Can’t believe you are now changing your tune and saying Brewer was “respectable” last year. What games were you watching? Brewer might be the worst offensive lineman in the history of offensive lineman. In fact he puts the “offensive” in offensive lineman.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Respectable at that ONE thing, sealing a smaller guy on the outside. Otherwise he stunk up the joint.

        •  fanfor55years says:

          I’d love to have one of the no-names drive him off the roster, but I suspect the coaches will want to stick with him for one more season to see if their investment in his education finally pays off.

          •  skinnydoogan says:

            It won’t he is as bad as it gets. The sooner he gets cut the better.

            •  skinnydoogan says:

              There are more athletic grizzly bears on this planet than him. I saw him up close and personal at many practices, as unathletic and ponderous as they come.

              •  fanfor55years says:

                Hey, I don’t disagree. he only survives because they still need to build depth on that line. If he isn’t gone this year he should certainly be gone by next one.

                •  GOAT56 says:

                  You know I like giving everyone a fair chance chance to prove themselves. But Brewer has had 3 full years prior this year so I think he’s received a full chance. Now it’s not about upside it’s about being capable and from what I have seen and read I don’t have any reason to believe he’s worth a roster spot.

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    There are 3 more under the radar players I think should be mentioned:

    1) Preston Parker #83. He also looked like a capable WR. Not the big gut the roster could use, more like a Jerigan. But what really turned my attention is that he received so many PR reps. I don’t think you give a nobody PR reps. I think it means he’s a under the radar roster contender.

    2) Kerry Wynn #69. He was a terror in the second half. And it wasn’t just against future security guards he badly beat the bills second round pick Kouandjio from Bama several times. He missed handled a fumble recovery for a TD which is why he’s not more known. But given we have some pas rush concerns a kid like him can sneak on the roster. He really has some Ojomo qualities as he was used as DT in college his last year.

    3) Atkins #49. I don’t know much about him but he was all over the place in the second half. Then Fewell mentioned him by name as a young LB that had impressed. He’s not a young guy but a 4 year vet. Maybe he can emerge out of nowhere to claim a roster spot kind of like McBride did last year.

    Also I will be looking a our young safeties. Taylor because we might need him to play a big role this year and he needs to keeping round out his game. He’s athletic and intelligence but it seems he’s still trying to get his attacking skill down. Behre I’m watching because he does need to keep flashing that “missile” ability to force himself on this roster. DB is incredibly competitive. Merit said it’s the best group he’s had.

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      GOAT, I just went and googled if all the planets were lined up perfectly, you and I agreed on something. Going to buy a lottery ticket right now……

  3.  rlhjr says:

    Brewer is not worth being concerned about. But it does cast a negative light on the scouting/talent evaluation prowess of this team. That they allow him to continue on when (as I’ve observed too many times) he can’t engage a defensive linemen directly in front of him. Yeah troops, he is exactly that slow and awkward.

    NEXT. Quoting from the article;
    “Tight End Larry Donnell – Big Blue’s tight ends have been generally unimpressive, but Donnell has stood out slightly above the rest since training camp began.”

    That’s a bit like being the tallest midget.

    Again, I’m not concerned. Because after this season if they are not brain dead, Reese and his scouts will figure out they need an offensive tackle, tight end and another young athletic linebacker to start/keep the ball rolling.

    Hint, to Reese, use the first pick on an offensive tackle. Hint two, be on the lookout for a mobile safety if no elite OT are around. Hint three don’t take any of the named players after the third round if you expect them to play.
    That is all…..

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      Yes, yes and yes, however, come this time next year, no matter what the outcome, Jerry Reach, will have us stocked with “projects” that are “raw” and we will be having the same conversation. I was thinking about what you said, and you are right, this is a glaring indictment of Reach and our scouting dept’s inability to see talent when it is there. They allowed out O-line to putrify to the point where we all had to witness the abject disaster that was last year. They also allowed our TE’s to do the same thing. Hopefully I am wrong and Mara straightened it out, but the continued presence of the likes of Brewer, Painter and some other unmentionables, leads me to believe otherwise.

  4.  Kettles78 says:

    I am looking to see if the Oline can create some running lanes against the 1st team defense of the Steelers and if the Dline can put any pressure on the 1st string Oline of the Steelers.

    Those are the 2 big items but of course seeing the young drafted talent as well as the other young guys play and see who earns a spot on the team

  5.  James Stoll says:

    From here on out this preseason we all should be looking first and foremost for one thing: can the O-Line compete against the other teams 1′s.
    For the second straight week Beatty can’t play. As awful as he was last year, with a depth chart of Beatty, Brown, Brewer, we really need Beatty back to see if last year (actually the last 1 1/2 yrs) was more aberration than norm. Anyone know why he is being held out? Is he practicing fully?
    Against Pittsburgh’s first defense, you would hope to see the offense pick up at least 2 firsts in each of the series they play.
    Hopefully, Andre Williams will get first team reps. Especially if Jennings gets stuffed at the point of attack in the first series due to desultory o-line play, it would be interesting to see if Williams does in fact have that Tiki-like ability to make something out of nothing. Last week he just looked like a guy who had that innate instinct for seeing and attacking a hole.

    We all want to see Harris and Washington again, but undoubtedly the firsts will feature Victor, Rueben and either MM or JJ. Last week no balls were thrown to either Cruz or Randal as the offense never got started in the first 2 series and then did most of its damage on the ground in the third.

    GOAT and I have officially adopted Kerry Wynn into the G101HoF. Looking to see how early he gets in and of course how he fairs.

    I wonder if Parker will get any punt return reps tonight. As well as he did last week, the team might be on a rotation plan where they try one guy for one game, someone else for another. As well as he did for him to make the team we would likely have to carry 7 WRs (Cruz, Randal, Beckum, MM, JJ, Holliday, Harris, Washington, Parker) or 6 with two of the above not making the grade. With Holliday still out, I suppose we could see James or Hosely or JJ back there tonight.

    Speaking of Holliday, before he gets the ax, I hope he gets healthy enough to play an entire preseason game (hopefully the Jets at the latest) so we have a chance at season what a true return man can do. Of course, if he did play and was electric, it would complicate decision making.

    One of my work colleagues is from Pittsburgh and a die-hard Steelers fan. He tells me their o-line is supposed to be back to top form this year. Assuming he at least is hearing or reading this from people that know, it should be a good test for our d-line.

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