So we all know the preseason is merely just a tune up for the veterans, play a quarter in the first game, maybe six plays in the second game and a huge opportunity for the unknowns to make a name for themselves (Victor Cruz anyone?). However one game really does matter and that is game three, where the team is solidified, the starters play most of the game, the real unknowns don’t play much, but the ones that did impress get a longer look to see if they have what it takes to make the squad. Game three for the Giants is an away game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday Aug 28th at 7:30PM EST.
The Giants have a lot of moving parts that need to be solidified in this game for us to really know if they will be a contender or a pretender this year. Eli Manning with a very padded helmet will return to the lineup and no better time than to face the 2009 third ranked defense and their star linebacker Ray Lewis. If the Giants do not secure the line of scrimmage, Eli’s head could be in the helmet this time around. The offensive line has been a mystery so far this year with so many injuries and the David Diehl project moving from left tackle to guard. In this game we should have all the starters back and it couldn’t come any sooner to see if this line that has been the picture of consistency for many years is back to true form. David Diehl will be back at left tackle, Rich Seubert returns to his guard spot and the normal cast of characters center Shaun O’Hara, right tackle Kareem McKenzie and right guard Chris Snee will all play. Recently signed tackle Shawn Andrews and William Beatty should get long looks to see if they will provide depth across a line that has been banged up. The running back by committee must come to life in this game. Ahmad Bradshaw has looked good this preseason and many are saying he should start over Brandon Jacobs. The big fella needs to show he is back from two years ago. Andre Brown has provided a nice change of pace and look for Danny Ware to get some carries in this game to see how many RB’s they will carry. The young WR core has looked strong all preseason with the exception of last game when Hakeem Nicks decided to do his best impersonation of Mike Tyson. Steve Smith, Ramses Barden, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham will get extended time with Eli, but what about the battle for the 5th spot between Victor Cruz, Derek Hagan and Sinorice Moss. Well most likely it is the battle of the 6th spot for Cruz and Moss, but should be fun to watch. Let’s not forget that we have barely seen a TE this preseason so Kevin Boss and Travis Beckum while secure need to get some serious reps in, and will the Giants keep Scott Chandler the second year pro out of Iowa?
On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants are trying something different for this game as Keith Bulluck will be moved to outside linebacker in place of Clint Sintim. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell feels strongly that Bulluck, middle linebacker Jonathan Goff and Michael Boley are the three best linebackers and wants them on the field together. Since Bulluck spent ten years patrolling the outside LB spot for Tennessee, this is a bit of a no brainer. Is the move of Bulluck, more of a nod for Goff or a demotion for Sintim who in his second year shows signs, but has not made anyone forget about LT or Carl Banks from years past. In the secondary, you should be able to evaluate in this game the Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle safety tandem against the strong arm of QB Joe Flacco with some new weapons to his arsenal namely pro bowler Anquan Boldin. Last and certainly not least, the defensive line has shown signs of yesteryear with the athletic quickness coming from the ends from both Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. The grab your popcorn moment of this game is to see how the interior parts of the defensive line fair against the hard charging running style of Ray Rice. Defensive tackles Rocky Bernard, rookie Linval Joseph, Barry Cofield and most notably Jay Alford (who showed so much promise in their 2007 championship run before he got hurt), all must show they can stop the run effectively. The NFC East is full of bruising RB’s that go between the tackles and this group must secure the line of scrimmage in this game to get back to Giants football.
Game three is upon us and no better time to see the Giants come together, as this will be the last time they see significant action as game four is known for not allowing the starters to get more than a quick warm-up. Plenty of moves to be made for the Giants to make a run and this weeks test against a strong Baltimore Ravens team will prove they have the mettle to compete this year or if they still have many question marks going into the year.
About the Author
Written by Dennis Napoliello
Graduate of Providence College with a BS degree in Business Administration. While at Providence College, I co hosted the #1 radio program titled "The Sports Page". I make my living in the fitness industry as National Vice President of Sales at David Barton Gym located in New York City. On a personal note, I have been a long standing Giants fan as my family has held season tickets since the opening of Giants Stadium in 1976. I now own the tickets and enjoy going to the game with my three children (Peyton, Trevor and Camryn), wife (Michelle), Dad (Al) and brother in law (Chris). Other than college, I have lived my entire life in NJ and currently reside in Roxbury, NJ. My objective with this blog is to have fun writing, along with my two sons, about the team we love, and to be as objective as possible always trying to give you the fans point of view,