Saturday, August 9, 2014
W2W4: New York Giants
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants (1-0) take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) in their second game of the preseason Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.
1. The pass rush: Damontre Moore looked good against a rookie backup tackle Sunday night in Canton, but I was expecting more than I saw from Jason Pierre-Paul in the short time the first team was on the field. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (assuming he plays) poses a tough test for a pass rush because of his mobility in and outside of the pocket. But it'll be interesting to see whether the Giants' defensive ends can get into the backfield and help dictate the action. They only had 33 sacks last year. Justin Tuck, who had 11 of them, is no longer on the team. Pierre-Paul must deliver at a high level this year, and it would help the Giants' optimism about this critical aspect of their defense to see him wreak havoc against a real opponent, even in a meaningless game.
2. The passing offense: The Giants' first-team offense only looked effective Sunday when it was running the ball -- and against a backup defensive line, at that. They definitely want to lean on the run, but they'd also like to get their short, quick passing game going at some point this preseason. They still don't have first-round wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) on the field, but that means more opportunity for guys like Marcus Harris, Corey Washington and Preston Parker, who are trying to earn roster spots. Can Victor Cruz get open in the slot and show an ability to turn a short pass into a long gain? His position in your next fantasy draft could depend on it.
3. The secondary: This looks like the star unit of the team on either side of the ball, but defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said this week that the question was "Can we get them to play together?" I have other questions. Is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie really a lock-down corner who can play the opposing team's No. 1 receiver every week? (And which superhero cleats will he wear?) Will Prince Amukamara's determination to increase his interception total pay off? Will Walter Thurmond continue to dominate other team's slot receivers the way he's been handling Victor Cruz in practice every day? Does Zack Bowman continue to force his way into the mix with his physical style? And speaking of physical style, will this group get called for fewer downfield penalties in this game than it did Sunday?