Forget about the “Snoopy Trophy” which is awarded to the inner of the annual MetLife Bowl between the Giants and Jets.
This weekend’s game is the annual preseason dress rehearsal, the game in which the starters typically play well into the third quarter and a chance for the coaches to finalize some decisions on who will be in the first round of cuts, which new wrinkles installed during training camp will be kept, and which new players might just have a place on the 53-man roster.
This will be the 45th consecutive preseason meeting between these two clubs since the series began in 1969. The Giants are 23-20-1 against Gang Green in preseason, but 8-4 in the 12 regular season meetings. Last year, the Giants defeated the Jets 26-3 in the annual MetLife Bowl.
This week’s game will be televised by WNBC 4 New York. Bob Papa will call the play-by-play, Carl Banks will provide the color commentary and Howard Cross and Bruce Beck will report from the sidelines.
The game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN Radio – with Marc Kestecher calling the play-by-play, Damien Woody serving as analyst and Joe Schad reporting from the sidelines. The game will be broadcast by WCBS 101.1 FM in the Tri-State area – with Chris Carrino calling the play-by-play, Roman Oben and Shaun O’Hara serving as analysts and Paul Dottino reporting from the sidelines. Lance Medow, Jeff Feagles, and John Schmeelk will host the Giants radio pregame and postgame shows with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:05 p.m.
WHAT TO WATCH
The backup quarterback battle. After failing to do much of anything with his second team snaps last week. David Carr will take a seat, as already planned, and Curtis Painter will get his chance. Interestingly, however, head coach Tom Coughlin has sad that he’s not sure if it will be Painter or rookie Ryan Nassib who comes in after Eli Manning leaves; my guess is that the decision will depend on when Manning’s 30 snaps end.
The Red Zone Offense. The Giants have still not scored inside of the opponent’s 20. With the starting offense likely to play the first half and possibly into the third quarter, maybe this week will be the one where they finally get it going.
The Starting Defense. If defensive captain Justin Tuck is to be believed, the Giants have the talent to become the top defenses in the league. However, in the same breath, he added, ““Will we do it? I don’t know. Probably not, but it’s a possibility.”
That doesn’t mean that Tuck doesn’t think the goal is too unrealistic. “We have the talent to do it. I feel very confident in our coaching staff and our scheme. Those defenses that get in the top five are defenses that play together, 11 guys as one, and they don’t really care who makes the play or who gets the sack or who gets the interception. It’s all about the team effort. And that’s where we have to get to.”
The newly configured offensive line. Thanks to injuries, the Giants offensive line with have the following configuration from left to right: Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, Jim Cordle, Chris Snee and Justin Pugh. So is quarterback Eli Manning worried but playing behind a unit that has had just two practices to work together?
“A lot of times I don’t even look at the offensive line,” he said. “I mean I know they’re there and I trust that they’re going to protect me, so I’m focused on the defense and just calling the plays and going through reads and knowing they’re going to get the job done.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Justin Pugh: Thanks to the injuries suffered by center David Baas and right tackle David Diehl, Pugh, who primarily played left tackle in his NFL debut last week, will move into the starting lineup at right tackle this week against the Jets.
Jerrel Jernigan: Time is running out on this third year, former third round draft pick. He’s failed to secure one of the two return jobs. Can he secure the fifth receiver spot after missing several practices with soreness?
Jim Cordle: The third-year backup out of Ohio State will get the nod at center with the starters. Cordle has quietly performed well in this camp when pressed into action with the first team and could potentially surprise a few people.
Terrell Thomas: Thomas will supposedly see his first live action in two years this weekend assuming that his patella tendinitis, which he revealed he’s been battling, allows him to play. “It’s gotten better throughout the weeks and it’s a grind of training camp so it’s part of the process and it’s good I’m able to push through it,” Thomas said.
If he does play, it will be interesting to see if he gets the start for Corey Webster, who is not expected to play Saturday night due to a knee issue.
The following players are not expected to play against the Jets: DT Markus Kuhn (knee/PUP), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back/PUP), S Antrel Rolle (ankle), WR Brandon Collins (hamstring), RB Da’Rel Scott (shoulder), CB Corey Webster (knee), DE Damontre Moore (shoulder), FB Henry Hynoski (knee), WR Ramses Barden (knee), and WR Louis Murphy (leg). This list is subject to change closer to kickoff.
Coughlin has said that the starters will take about 30 snaps, or roughly one-half to three quarters worth of action. Quarterback David Carr will not play this week, as Curtis Painter will get his turn in the battle for the backup quarterback. However, Coughlin indicated he hasn’t decided whether Ryan Nassib or Painter will relieve Eli Manning.
The Giants will have a short week to get ready for their preseason finale, a road game against the Patriots on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in which those final roster spots should be decided.