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Friday, August 9, 2013
W2W4: Giants at Steelers

By Ohm Youngmisuk

The New York Giants begin erasing the memory of last season's failed title defense with their preseason opener in Pittsburgh.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Here's what to watch for:

Start, then finished: The starters will play only about 12 to 15 snaps, according to coach Tom Coughlin. It will be interesting to see if Eli Manning is in sync with Victor Cruz after not having worked with him for much of the offseason, due to Cruz's contract negotiations. The two have appeared to be on the same page during training camp. We also get our first look at how Manning works with tight end Brandon Myers.

Wide receiver Rueben Randle looks to continue an impressive summer. It remains to be seen if Hakeem Nicks will play, as the team has been taking a cautious approach with its star receiver to make sure he will be at full strength for the season.

Wilson! We should get our first glimpse at David Wilson as the starting back. He's expected to start but share carries with Andre Brown. What might be more important than how many yards Wilson racks up is how he blocks on passing plays.

Keep an eye on the linebackers. All three starting jobs are up for grabs. Mark Herzlich will start at middle linebacker with Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers on the outside against the Steelers. MLB Dan Connor, OLB Jacquian Williams and OLB Aaron Curry are the second-teamers. Williams should also see snaps as a nickel linebacker.

Competition at defensive tackle. The Giants fortified their defensive interior by adding Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson, drafting Johnathan Hankins and re-signing Shaun Rogers. Jenkins could start at defensive end against the Steelers if Justin Tuck (back) does not play. If that happens, Rogers might join Linval Joseph with the first-team defensive tackles. Keep an eye on Hankins, who has impressed thus far on the second team. Marvin Austin, the 2011 second-round pick, will need to show what he can do this preseason.

Opportunity knocks: There should be plenty of chances for young players such as defensive ends Adrian Tracy and Damontre Moore. Several Giants, including Jason Pierre-Paul (back), won't play. Right guard Chris Snee (hip) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) just came off the PUP list this week and will sit. First-round pick Justin Pugh (concussion) will also be out. Tackle James Brewer (head), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and running back Ryan Torain (head) also might not suit up.