Aug 16 2010; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (3) catches the ball over New York Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery (26) and runs it in for a touchdown in the third quarter at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Alan Maglaque-US PRESSWIRE

New York Giants vs New York Jets What to Watch For

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Aug 16, 2010; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; ) New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) bleeds from his forehead after getting hit by a New York Jets player during the preseason game at New Meadowlands Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

The New York Giants will take on the New York Jets tonight in their annual pre-season game. The game usually occurs the third week of preseason, but this year for whatever reason the game will be the second week of preseason. The Jets won last year’s battle not that anyone really remembers or cares.

For those interested the game will be shown nationally on NFLnetwork I believe (unless you have Time Warner cable, of course). The game will also be re-run on SNY at 11 o’clock according to my guide.

The Jets-Giants game has seen some big moments in recent history.  It is this game where Eli Manning got hit and bloodied while trying to throw a fade pass to Ramses Barden. This is also the “rivalry game” where Victor Cruz burst onto the scene with an unforgettable pre-season performance. Cruz has a history of playing big vs the Jets, look no further than his 99 yard catch and scamper that help launched the Giants into the playoffs and eventually the Superbowl.

Still, being the second week of pre-season the meaning of the game is lessened, there will be no real winners or losers, no definitive statements made about either team, no covering up of the Giants logos around the field. Just a game between two teams trying to figure out a few starting positions and the bottom of their depth chart.

Here’s what I’ll be watching for both teams. I think it’s obvious that we’re watching for back end of the depth chart players to “pop” and play well so that is not specifically mentioned. I think there is also something about a QB controversy or something with the Jets—I couldn’t care less about reporting about at this moment so that is also not mentioned.

 

For the Jets

Can Quinton Coples have another big time performance

Coples had a big game in week one of the pre-season and is in line for another big game. The Giants offensive line, for those who are uninitiated is not very good and will be without starting LT Will Beatty, and possibly last year’s fourth round pick James Brewer. Coples might get some snaps earlier in the game this week and it’ll be interesting to see how he does.

In fact, I’m going to be watching the entire Jets defensive line. Muhammed Wilkerson, I think, is going to have a very nice season. I was impressed watching him last year. The Jets will still play primarily a 34, but will also throw in more 43 looks this year. Wilkerson has a chance to make a lot of plays this year.

Who is the Jets #2 WR

Stephen Hill or Chaz Schilens is the favorite in the clubhouse to win the #2 WR spot, but is Hill ready for it?  He is supremely talented, big, strong, and fast. But ran limited routes in college and is battling an injured finger.   If he has to miss any extended period of time will he be able to hold of Schilens for the starting job?

Wayne Hunter vs Stephon Hoyer at RT

Wayne Hunter struggled last year, but the Jets have decided to forget ahead with him. He is going against the leagues best pass rush and will see a heavy dose of Justin Tuck.  When Hoyer enters the game he still might see some Tuck and or Jason Pierre Paul (who played a lot with the two’s last week). Sanchez or Tebow…the Jets need someone to play well at RT. If Hunter remains the same turnstile he was last year at RT neither QB will have an easy road to success.

Do the Jets have a #2 back?

In case you couldn’t tell by my line of questions for the Jets, I have a lot of concerns about their ability to score points in 2012. I think their Defense is going to be terrific, I really do, especially if they get anything from the safety position.  But I’m not sold about any unit on the offense. Do they have any WR? What will Holmes bring this year. Can they block well enough to keep Sanchez alive. Who is their #2 back? Joe McKnight has flashed at times, but has also been questioned a lot. Bilal Powell seems to have passed McKnight as the number two back. I like Terance Ganway and am interested to see what he can do tonight.

 

For the Giants

Can Sean Locklear play LT if Will Beatty’s back remains a problem?

Will Beatty has been dealing with a bad back from sciata,  and might not be ready for the season’s opener.  The Giants are looking for Sean Locklear, or perhaps James Brewer (also been dealing with nagging back issue), to show that they can be a reliable LT if Beatty can’t go. If not the Giants will have to consider moving David Diehl back to LT after playing him at RT all spring and summer.

How will the receiver depth chart shake out?

The New York Giants’ Hakeem Nicks will not play in this game, which might actually be a positive development. The Giants know what Hakeem Nicks brings and no on the team is worried about his missed reps this summer. His absence though is helping sort out the rest of the depth chart. The Giants are looking to replace former  #3 WR Mario Manningham. Will the #3 WR be veteran Domenik Hixon,or one of the young guys in the speedy Jerel Jernigan, the massive Ramses Barden, or the silky smooth Rueben Randle. My money is on Hixon starting the season as the #3 and Randle taking it over eventually. Though I would not rule out Jerel Jernigan who is more physically gifted than Hixon.

Can someone catch a punt?

The team wanted Jerel Jernigan to win the starting punt job, but he muffed another punt last week (he muffed approximately 7,000 last year in preseason games). Jayron Hosley looks like the second best option, but he also muffed a punt. The team is hoping one of these two very athletic and talented return men can calm Coughlin’s nerves by catching the remaining of their punt return opportunities.

David Wilson looks good for the Kick return job.

 

Who Wants to make the roster at DT?

Shaun Rogers and Martin Parker are done for the season. Marvin Austin is injured (extent unknown), Chris Canty is on the PUP list.  Someone has to play DT for the Giants, who will it be. Rocky Bernard and Linval Joseph are locks for the team, but there are two other openings until Canty comes off the PUP list. Will 7th round pick Markus Kuhn make the roster. Will Dwayne Hendricks make the team? He had a very promising showing last week.

 

The Nickel Cornerback and the safety position.

The team likes the way Jayron Hosley has played during training camp. If he continues to show improvement he could very well start the season as the #3 CB, which would be a huge relief because then the Giants can leave Antrel Rolle at safety. However, if Hosley struggles the Giants will move Rolle to the nickel cornerback spot creating another vulnerability at safety, which Will Hill will be required to fill (because Tyler Sash is suspended the first four games of the season).  The play in the secondary these next two weeks (I guess three if you want to count the last preseason game) are very important to the direction the Giants will take on defense this year.

 

Anything else you’re watching?

 

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