So, this will be a good time to try and squash all of the negative energy and see what this team is made of. There is sure to be a lot of rust, as there should with any post-lockout preseason game.
With that said, here are five things to look for tonight.
1) How cohesive will the offensive line look?With center David Baas new to the squad and with Will Beatty now firmly entrenched at left tackle (with David Diehl moving to left guard), how will the team be affected by the loss of Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert? Will this usually well oiled machine continue to run with its same normal consistency?
2) Who will step up in the third receiver role?A lot of eyes will be on Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and Devin Thomas tonight as they try to separate themselves from the pack. Hixon has the experience in the system. Cruz dazzled us last year and is a fan favorite. Jernigan is a blazing fast rookie who could open eyes. Thomas should factor in as well. So, who will shine?
3) How will Mathias Kiwanuka look at linebacker?While his time on the field will be brief, it should be interesting to see how Kiwanuka is used and how he will adapt to the position. He’s done it before, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen what he could do.
4) How will the tight ends be utilized?I’m sure we’ll all pine for Kevin Boss soon enough as Bear Pascoe or Travis Beckum both have their flaws that could be exposed early and often. It will be intriguing how Eli Manning uses them. As we all know, Beckum (who is banged up anyway and likely won’t play) can’t block and Pascoe can’t catch.
5) How will the Special teams look in light of the new rules?How will kickoffs being moved up five yards matter? A lot will be also be made of the punter training camp battle between incumbent Matt Dodge and new acquisition Steve Weatherford. While Dodge has a stronger leg, Weatherford is more accurate. Tonight goes a log way on who gets the leg up (sorry for the pun) on the competition.