Sunday, August 18, 2013
Giants-Colts: What I'll be watching
By Dan Graziano
Yeah, I'm gonna slip on down to MetLife Stadium and check out the New York Giants in tonight's preseason game against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts because why not? Beats working. Wait. Actually, in my case, it is working. So strike that. I'm gonna slip on down to the Giants' game and do some work, reporting back to you, dear reader, on what I see and learn in case you have something better to do tonight than watch preseason football. Which... well, we'll leave it at that.
Here's what I'll be watching extra closely about the Giants tonight:
- The running backs. Mixed reviews in the first game from the coaching staff on David Wilson's pass-blocking, which as we've discussed at length here is the real key to his seizing the starting running back job. Wilson's incredible to watch run -- effortless speed, more power than he gets credit for. And I think he's a willing and sufficiently physical pass-blocker. But in his second pro preseason, he admits he's still getting up to speed with the Giants' blocking schemes. And Tom Coughlin said last week he'd like to see him diversify his blocking repertoire a bit. I'm also taking a look at rookie Michael Cox, who's had a strong camp and is in the mix for kick-return duties if they take those away from Wilson. Cox could also get in the running back mix as a No. 3 behind Wilson and Andre Brown, and the Giants won't be shy about finding ways to get him the ball if they feel he can help them.
- Can Rueben Randle get open consistently? Randle's great with the ball his hands -- a long-striding downfield threat who could fill the Mario Manningham role the Giants couldn't fill in their wide receiving corps last season. The key for Randle is his ability to stay in sync with quarterback Eli Manning on the pre-snap read, so that he's (a) open and (b) in the right spot when Manning finds him in his progression. That's where the Giants say they've seen improvement with Randle this summer, and if he keeps it up, the passing game becomes much more diversified. No. 1 receiver Hakeem Nicks is also making his preseason debut tonight, so we'll see how the offense looks with him, Randle and Victor Cruz all on the field at the same time.
- The linebackers. We've joked a lot about how nondescript this crew is, and the thinking now seems to be that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is going to use them in different packages and combinations depending on the game situation. Jacquian Williams, for example, may play more on passing downs because of his ability to cover tight ends. The Giants believe each of their linebackers has something at which he's good, and the challenge will be finding ways to maximize the positives in the group by running them on and off the field at the appropriate times.
- Justin Tuck. Also making his 2013 preseason debut tonight is Tuck, who's entering the final year of his contract and says he's eager to make up for two down seasons. Tuck was looking good in practice before his recent back problems, and it'll be worth watching tonight to see whether he gets handled by the Colts' offensive line or whether he looks as rejuvenated as the Giants need him to be in order for their pass rush to return to Super Bowl glory.
- Angry fans at the gates. Yeah, if you are going tonight, you really should read this on the NFL's new bag policy for games. The best advice is: Don't bring a bag at all. Seriously, not even a pocketbook. Especially not a pocketbook, actually, unless it's made of clear plastic. Because they're only going to let you bring in a bag if it's "clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, and does not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches." Or if it's it's a "small clutch bag, roughly the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap." So like I said, best not to bring a bag at all if you can get away with that. But if you try and bring your backpack or pocketbook in and they won't let you, don't come crying to me. Cause I warned you.
I'm sure there's more, but that's what I've got for now. Say hi if you see me.