With a plethora of storylines and roster questions swirling around this first game of the 2016 season, here is what you need to know for tonight’s matchup:
Olivier Vernon: It seems like fate that Vernon landed on the Giants as it turned out he would have to face his former team in his first game. Vernon still stays in contact with his friends on the team, and with their bond being strong, it will be interesting to watch how he plays on the opposite sideline.
Victor Cruz Won’t See the Field Tonight: Cruz’s comeback comes to a halt yet again as he endured a groin injury during Tuesday’s practice that forced him to get treatment. Though he wasn’t officially ruled out for tonight’s game yet, it was indicated he will not play as a precaution. Before the setback, Cruz looked like he was slowly getting back to his old self, so hopefully this doesn’t prolong his return to the big stage.
First-Team To Play 15 Snaps?: Head coach Ben McAdoo made it known Wednesday that the first-team, or starters, for the Giants will be on the field “for maybe 15 plays or so” depending on what he and his coaches want to see.
McAdoo’s First Test: It is finally the time for Giants fans to catch a glimpse of McAdoo’s coaching prowess. Yes, it is only preseason, but much can be learned tonight by watching how well his team is prepared and if the hype around the team has any validation. McAdoo could definitely like his first game to go the way he likes, and so do the fans.
Vernon v Dolphins O-Line: As stated before, Vernon will be amped to go against the O-Line he used to face in training camp in Miami. This time, though, there are no restrictions and he will be sure to let his former team know what they will be missing dearly this year.
Safeties v Each Other: Probably the most competitive position battle for Big Blue, this first preseason game will be a statement game for those safeties who want to put themselves ahead in the race for a roster spot. It appears Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, and Nat Berhe are locks to make the team, but the others will have to vie for a job this season. Those hanging in limbo will be looking for that big play tonight.
Jarvis Landry v Giants New CBs: The Dolphins starters will likely have their snaps diminished tonight as well. But, in those few snaps, look for No. 14 in the teal and orange line up against either Janoris Jenkins or Eli Apple. It will be fun to watch how the corners will look to stop one of the best receivers in the game.
G-Men On The Bubble
S Cooper Taylor: Taylor sees himself on the bubble for the second straight season. He was cut then re-signed by the Giants last year due to injuries at the safety position. The reason being Taylor cannot stay on the field with constant injuries plaguing his growth. He underwent hernia surgery in the offseason that had him miss basically all of spring OTAs. He needs this game to show the coaches he needs to stay on the team.
RB Bobby Rainey: Rainey will have to wow coaches tonight if he has any shot of staying with the Giants for the season. Running backs are crowded at the moment especially after Paul Perkins was drafted this year. The Giants are likely to keep four of them and it isn’t looking good for Rainey at the moment.
WR Anthony Dable: There will be many hopefuls in the wide receiving corps that will look to shine tonight, one of them being Dable. If anything, it is Dable that will have a tad more determination than the rest as he is trying to conquer a feat only done by one in NFL History. A French native, Dable is looking to become the second Frenchman to play in the NFL, and right now, things aren’t looking optimistic as he is being outperformed in camp.
TE Jerell Adams: The last pick of the Giants in the 2016 NFL Draft finds himself on the cusp on being released for the first time in his early career. TE Will Tye and Larry Donnell have been doing well in camp as well as Matt LaCosse making it tough for Adams to be signed. He needs tonight’s game to make a case to coaches.
DT Montori Hughes: The additions of Vernon and DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison, it put many spots in jeopardy including that of Hughes. He hasn’t been performing well in camp, and with the small window at the defensive tackle position, he will need a few big plays tonight to make a difference.