EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Head coach Ben McAdoo said he plans to treat the Giants' preseason opener the same way he treated last year's. That means there'll likely be no Eli Manning, no Odell Beckham Jr., no Jason Pierre-Paul, no Landon Collins or many other starters.
And the starters that do actually play probably won't play much at all.
So no, the paying customers won't get their money's worth when the Giants play the Steelers at the Meadowlands on Friday night. But there are still a few interesting storylines and at least 10 intriguing players to watch:
The battle of the backup quartebacks between the ex-Jet starter and Josh Johnson is hotter than expected with Smith having a good camp so far. The games will tell the story, and this game is the first step in the still-only-26-year-old Smith's attempt to revive his career.
The Giants overhyped him this offseason with breathless tales of his work ethic -- He even spent the offseason in New Jersey! -- but the camp results have been spotty so far. They are all in on the idea that this 23-year-old will finally fulfill his potential this season. He might not play much on Friday night, but this will give everyone a first glimpse on their chances of being right.
The undrafted free agent rookie stepped into the spotlight when he took three reps at left tackle with the starters during team drills at camp on Wednesday. That was new. McAdoo said he just wanted to take a look at him. But was it also a warning shot at Flowers or a sign that there may be competition? He should play plenty on Friday night. How he plays may determine what's next.
The promising, yet untested, young kicker still leads the battle with veteran Mike Nugent (and every other available kicker), but the Giants are sure interested to see how he performs in actual games. Preseason games aren't exactly high stakes, but if there's any chance for a pressure kick late, expect them to take it.
The Giants had such high hopes for him last year before injuries derailed his rookie season. Now he's back, healthy and having a terrific summer. Think Collins was good last season? If Thompson is what the Giants think he is, their safety duo may be hard to match.
All the plans on how the Giants will use their first-rounder won't be unveiled in the preseason opener, but he figures to have a few balls thrown his direction to give him a taste of the NFL. If camp is any indication, there's big play potential. With his size and explosiveness, it's hard for defenders to keep up.
A former third-round pick that many had forgotten about (or just dismissed), he has a shot to be Johnathan Hankins' opening-day replacement. Right now, he's battling rookie Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants' second-rounder. Tomlinson is probably the future, but Bromley has shown some unexpected power and interior burst this summer. The coaches will be watching to see if that keeps up in live action.
Months removed from tweeting how he needed a break from football, which seemed to leave his NFL future in doubt, Odighizuwa still hasn't explained what happened. He's back with the team, though, but with a glut of young defensive ends vying for spots in the rotation, he has more to prove than just his interest in playing. The 2015 third-round pick has to actually do something on the field.
This undrafted free agent is incredibly popular with his teammates and has earned rave reviews from his quarterbacks for knowing the offense and running precise routes. On a deep team, special teams will be his path to the roster. But the preseason is his chance to prove he can eventually make it as a receiver, too.
Everyone knows what he can do on special teams and defense, but remember he's also a tight end now. He's gotten most of his training camp reps at that position during 7-on-7 drills with fourth-stringer Davis Webb at quarterback. Webb seems to like throwing to him, too. Will the Giants allow him to play both ways in a preseason game?