NFL Insider Ric Serritella provides insight and analysis on the New York Giants after their second preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
The New York Giants have to be happy about the development of backup quarterbacks Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta, both of whom are very smart and display tremendous work ethic. Starter Eli Manning has as many weapons, as he has ever had during his 15-year career, to go along with major upgrades along the offensive line, which could translate to a career year.
Little known running back Jalen Simmons was having himself a nice training camp until a concussion knocked him out of the Lions game. He is competing with Robert Martin, a local undrafted rookie free agent out of Rutgers for a spot on the Giants practice squad roster. First round pick Saquan Barkley, veteran Jonathan Stewart and Wayne Gallman are pretty much locks for the 53-man roster baring injury.
The most competitive position battle in training camp is at wide receiver, where several camp standouts are vying for a spot. Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer are locks, while the experience of Russell Shepard who comes over from Carolina make him tough to cut. That leaves Kalif Raymond, Hunter Sharp and Amba Etta–Tawo, all of which have flashed throughout camp fighting for one spot, along with Roger Lewis, who was a favorite of Ben McAdoo and started eight games last season for the G-Men.
The aforementioned offensive line has upgrades across the board with Nate Solder at left tackle, second round pick Will Hernandez at left guard, Jon Halapio making the switch to center and free agent acquisition Patrick Omameh already demonstrating improved play at right guard. With Ereck Flowers switching to right tackle, Manning will have a better awareness of the pass rush he allows, as Flowers still remains the weakest link along the o-line.
It has been impressive to watch third round pick BJ Hill take ahold of a starting position up front on the defensive line, along with Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson. Fifth-year man Kerry Wynn has been used in an array of ways and figures into the rotation as a flex lineman—he has found himself in pass rush situational roles, despite being a stout presence against the run in the past. Backups AJ Francis and Robert Thomas provide adequate depth.
The transition of the Giants 3-4 defense under coordinator James Bettcher, included an offseason overhaul which saw the acquisitions of Alec Ogletree, Karrem Martin and Connor Barwin, all of whom expect to play key roles this season. Olivier Vernon remais the Giants’ biggest impact player, as he moves from end to linebacker and remains their biggest pass rushing threat. Inside starting linebacker BJ Goodson and backup Mark Herzlich help strengthen the unit, while Ray Ray Armstrong and third round pick Lorenzo Carter have drawn praise from the coaching staff for their play.
Two games into the preseason and there is still no clear indication what the depth chart looks like behind starting cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. However, the resumes of BW Webb and Leonard Johnson suggest they’ll be on the squad. Undrafted rookie Grant Haley (60 snaps versus the Lions) got a long look, while Donte Deayon continues to be plagued by injuries.
Strong safety Landon Collins serves as the heart and soul of the defense. The Giants signed Michael Thomas in free agency to serve as his backup. Meanwhile, the free safety position has been a turnstile with Curtis Riley, Darian Thompson and William Gay all receiving reps. Andrew Adams, who has started 17 games over the past two seasons for Big Blue, also remains in the mix with experience at both safety spots.
*Stay tuned for more preseason updates as we count you down to the 2018 NFL kickoff!