With the Giants' first preseason game on Thursday, head coach Pat Shurmur still hasn't said who will and will not be playing against the Browns.
"Every player will receive the consideration necessary with regard to the play time," he said after practice on Tuesday. "They're all at different stages of being ready to play in Week 1. We'lljust try to balance it and make good decisions."
The obvious player that every Giants fan has an opinion on when it comes to playing in preseason games is star WR Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham's tumultuous 2017 season started to take a downfall in Week 2 of the preseason last year against the same Cleveland opponent. He suffered an ankle sprain that held him out of the season opener, and was the preempitve injury to his eventual fractured ankle in Week 5 of the regular season.
This season, though, Beckham isn't the only high-profile player on the Giants. Rookie RB Saquon Barkley has generated tons of buzz already in the early stages of his career, and Thursday would be his first taste of NFL football.
But, taking a lesson from Beckham last season, is it worth the Giants to send Barkley out in a meaningless game?
The Giants are already limiting Barkley's workload early on in camp to keep him fresh, and they could continue that trend by keeping him out of the preseason. There is a lot riding on Barkley to make an immediate impact, and revive a dismal Giants run game this season. That's why the Giants went with him at No. 2 overall instead of a quarterback for the future.
Barkley is considered an NFL-ready back, so preseason matchups may not do much to prepare him for his first real game.
On the other side of the argument, this is the NFL. It's not college anymore. So, Barkley will need to see at least a few preseason reps to get accustomed to how other defenses operate, the speed of the game, and get an overall feel of how the offense will work come Week 1.
Giants fans also want to see their prized rookie in action. The hype and excitement around Barkley has been pent up since he was drafted, and now, everyone will have the chance to finally see why. The preseason is a perfect teaser for what can be expected in the regular season.
So, the Giants will have a big decision to make before kickoff tomorrow night. Do they stay cautious, and keep Barkley dressed on the sidelines? Or will this be the first glimpse at his future in a Giants uniform?