Preseason Midway Point: What The New York Giants May Change Up

David GellerAnalyst IAugust 25, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  David Tyree #85 of the New York Giants catches a 32-yard pass from Eli Manning #10 as Rodney Harrison #37 of the New England Patriots attempts to knock it out in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

This past Saturday, I helplessly watched the Giants get pushed around by the Chicago Bears. I didn’t watch with anger or malice, but rather intrigue and curiosity.


How bad can such a good team play?


The Giants did not implement any semblance of a pass rush on Jay Cutler. A pedestrian Bears offensive line was constantly destroying the Giants at the point of attack on running plays.


Most disturbingly, there were penalties galore. Not heat of the moment infractions, but ones that defined the Jim Fassel era. Illegal formations became a prominent theme for those brutal sixty minutes.


It was so atypical of this Giants squad that it was impossible to be worried. Factor in that the Giants had less rest then Tim Lincecum between starts, a lengthy flight, and a talented Bears team coming off an embarrassing debut against the Bills, and the math worked out to a 17-3 drubbing.


Tom Coughlin, who understandably looked baffled for four quarters, has voiced his frustrations since the game. Following the debacle, he declared that his team was embarrassed.


He then directed his criticisms not to journalists specifically, but the endless heap of compliments that has been laid on the Giants defense the entire offseason.  He questions the accuracy of reports claiming the Giants have the deepest defensive line in the league, stating that none of it has materialized.


If the players don’t practice or play, it is not depth.


Now he is reiterating the message that is forever linked to the 2007 Giants Super Bowl squad: Talk is cheap, play the game.


Wow, this Jets game on Saturday just got a whole lot more interesting.


This cliché has never been in the same galaxy as a preseason matchup, but it applies for the Giants third game: All hands on deck.


Bumps and bruises are no longer valid excuses to avoid dressing up for game action. If someone can play, they will be out there. The Giants projected starting offensive line on opening day will be the starting front on Saturday.


If a key starter misses this game, then his injury may be worse then what we initially feared.


That’s just one of my predictions for the rest of preseason. Here are some more, and a few things to watch for:



Hakeem Nicks Will Be Catching Live Passes From Eli Manning


Before Monday I was confident that this would happen. But with Nicks’ splendid practice in the books, it’s a foregone conclusion.


The wide receivers have played well, but no one has jumped off the screen. The passing game has been pedestrian throughout the first two games, and an explosive play is imperative on Saturday.


Nicks gives the Giants that possibility.



Dave Tollefson Will Play More on the Inside

Jay Alford’s status looks bleak. He has torn ligaments in his MCL and ACL, and in two weeks, he’ll likely be placed on IR. Chris Canty has missed the majority of training camp while he’s adjusting from being a 3-4 end to a 4-3 tackle, and may not play any time soon due to a torn hamstring.


This leaves Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, and Rocky Bernard as the only other tackles that are guaranteed a roster spot, and each of them is currently battling through serious injuries.


With a surplus of linemen playing defensive end, Tollefson may prove to be most valuable on the inside. It isn’t foreign territory for the third-year linemen from Northwest Missouri State, who has proven to be versatile for the Giants the last couple of seasons.


And it just may prove to be his meal ticket as the season progresses.



The Offensive Line Will Be Tested on Saturday

Rex Ryan takes his preseason ball seriously. He sent exotic rushes in the direction of the Rams in the preseason opener, and has gone as far as calling his reunion with the Baltimore Ravens “special.”

A game in which a down didn’t pass in the first quarter that he didn’t rush Flacco? Seriously, Rex? What are you trying to prove?


In the most crucial game of the preseason, Ryan will employ a similar game plan to what he’ll be throwing the Texans way on Sept. 13. It will be a good test for the Giants offensive line, which finished the 2008 season with some inconsistent performances.



There's a Quarterback Competition Going On, Y'Know!


Granted, it’s been as exciting as the battle for the fifth rotation spot for the Washington Nationals. But it’s something to be on the watch for. Bomar has only thrown the ball three times this preseason, while Woodson has hardly been lighting up in his extended time.


The offensive line play has been horrendous but Woodson has been erratic, too. Since Manning is playing into the second half on Saturday, we likely won’t see much of Woodson or Bomar. But against New England, Manning will be pulled along with the starters early on.


And both kids will have their chance to shine.



The Irony of All Ironies


September 3 will be David Tyree’s last game dressed as a Giant.


But, it will be the first of many playing on the same field along with those Patriots. With no receiver emerging, the Giants can’t afford to cut Sinorice Moss and Derek Hagan due to their big play capabilities.


That would force Reese to reluctantly cut ties with Super Bowl hero David Tyree.


There’s little doubt that Tyree will find a home elsewhere in the NFL, and New England is the perfect spot. His special teams prowess makes him an instant Belichick favorite, and as the Patriots know, he is more than capable of sliding into a wide receiver slot if needed.


It would be ironic and humorous to those in New York, and it may not attain a positive fan response.


But, it would be a smart move for the big guys making the decisions in New England.