In reading my friend Paul Dottino's "3 Things to Watch For Tonight" column this morning, it is clear, the Giants are still uncertain at many key positions as they enter the preseason (CBSLocal.com).
Safety is still the most glaring hole on the team's roster. Tonight can help calm the fears of the team and the fans with the debut of rookies Landon Collins, Mykkele Thompson and Justin Currie and the increased roles of Cooper Taylor and Bennett Jackson. Collins and Jackson are currently listed as he starters.
Veteran Jeromy Miles will also get a long look. Miles was signed as a free agent this summer and has experience playing in DC Steve Spagnuolo's defense during his time in Baltimore. Nat Berhe, who was penciled in as a possible starter before training camp, did not make the trip due to a calf injury. If and when he comes back, he will be afforded every chance to prove his worth.
The offensive line seems to be in constant flux again thanks to injuries. LT Will Beatty (pec) will miss the first half of the regular season. The Giants will insert Ereck Flowers, their top pick in this year's draft, in his place. That means the questionable Marshall Newhouse will start at RT. Batten down the hatches.
RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle) is hurting again and will be replaced in the starting lineup by either John Jerry or Adam Gettis. The positives on the line are that LG Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg are having strong camps. But don't get too excited. Neither one has started a game at their current position.
The pass rush will be an area of focus tonight with head honcho Jason Pierre-Paul still nursing his wounds from the July 4th fireworks mishap that cost him his right index finger, shattered his thumb and inflicted nerve damage and severe burns. Much is still unknown about his future or if and when he'll play again.
The Giants are preparing to move on from JPP with second-year budding star Kerry Wynn, veterans Robert Ayers, George Selvie and Damontre Moore and rookie Owa Odighizuwa. It's anyone's guess how this will play out.
Who I'll be watching.....LB Devon Kennard, RB Shane Vereen, TE Jerome Cunningham, all the safeties and backup QB Ryan Nassib.
Experts are predicting big things from Kennard, including sacks and QB pressures. Vereen could be the "can opener" to the offensive, making it more explosive. Cunningham seems to be able to do it all at TE. The only drawback is his height (6'3") but he's been able to overcome that thus far.
The safeties are still a concern because of the inexperience. But Collins appears to be the real deal and Miles should be able to stabilize things in the beginning. It will be interesting to see what a healthy Taylor brings to the table.
Nassib is in his third season and has improved steadily in OC Ben McAdoo's system. With Eli Manning scheduled to play just a few series, Nassib will get the lion's share of the action vs the Bengals. The only issue is that he'll likely have to make do with the backups again because OBJ will only play the first quarter and Victor Cruz (knee) is still not ready. Rueben Randle (knees) missed practice Wednesday and could be a spectator this week.