With final cuts looming, several Giants players are making strong cases for roster spots.
QB Ryan Nassib (16-29, 210 yards with one TD and one INT) appeared to be more poised and less erratic in his fourth preseason game. He was still sacked three times and endured much pressure in the pocket, but the experience of playing every week is beginning to pay off. Unfortunately for him, he'll be back doing sideline duty the next four months.
"What's important for the backup quarterback position is we need to be able to put players around them in positions to be successful," Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. "We feel Ryan can do that. He missed a couple throws but we didn't run some great routes at times and he keeps playing. He keeps running, he keeps playing hard and he keeps taking shots and staying aggressive."
WR Tavarres King, who had a 59-yard catch-and-run for a TD, has locked up a roster spot. He's been spectacular. WR Roger Lewis had three receptions for 30 yards and a TD that included a very special celebration dance. The Giants love the way he can stretch the field and he should make the team as well.
CB Trevin Wade, somewhat of a forgotten man this summer, showed the coaches he should be on this roster with an INT and two passes defended -- one in the end zone that prevented a TD.
RB/KR Bobby Rainey showed toughness and versatily on offense, averaging 5.4 yards on seven carries, and caught three passes for a total of 37 yards. He also had a 32-yard KO return and a 13-yard punt return. Rainey has had some fumbling issues this summer but has a lot of upside.
LB Mark Herzlich was another player who stepped up for the Giants, with eight tackles on Thursday, but drew an uncharacteristic personal foul flag when he hit Pats WR Devin Lucien very, very late.
The Giants will have their roster cut to the mandatory 53 players by 4:00 p.m. Saturday. McAdoo, who will be making his first roster cutdown as a head coach, said the decision process started "awhile ago".
"We're going to use our lines of communication," he said. "We'll get with the position coaches, the coordinators and put everything on the table."
"We've had a revolving door, you could say, where we ranked it each day on how the positions look and we always keep it up to date. There'll be maybe a couple of surprises. We're going to have some tough conversations, it's not anything that's going to be easy. And then we'll go down and work from the top with Jerry (Reese) and the personnel department and get everybody on the same page and go from there."
One of the deepest units on the roster is the defensive line, where the Giants added two expensive pieces this offseason in DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison.
"I think we're going to have some tough decisions at defensive end and defensive tackle," McAdoo said. "Our defensive line group is a pretty good group."
On Thursday, DE Kerry Wynn, former Notre Damer Romeo Okwara and free agent pickup Jermelle Cudjo all had productive nights again.
When asked if any players surprised him this summer, McAdoo was coy.
"We have a handful of guys, but I'm not going to talk about those guys because they're on the bottom half of the roster and I may want to stash them."