For Giants fans anxious to see what their team will look like in 2012, the third preseason game is as close as they’ll come. Friday night’s matchup against the Chicago Bears promises to showcase extended playing time for starters as well as promising young rookies like RB David Wilson and WR Rueben Randle.
Here’s a few things to keep an eye on:
- Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside: A ruptured cyst in the second preseason game left Ahmad Bradshaw with a swollen hand, but if you see David Wilson, the team’s first-round pick, getting more snaps with the first team, it’s not because Bradshaw is sitting. Wilson has been working with the ones all week and is expected to do so again against the Bears. This will be an opportunity for Giants fans to see the contrasting styles of Bradshaw and Wilson. Despite both being similar in size (around 5-9), Bradshaw primarily runs between the tackles while Wilson’s speed is perfect for turning the corner on the outside.
- Prince Amukamara wants to get physical: The second-year cornerback has impressive strength and is getting better at using it for the first five yards of an opposing receiver’s route. He likes to jam guys at the line, but now he’s understanding the nuances of how and when to engage opponents before the ball is thrown. Avoiding penalties is difficult for physical corners, so this is a major step for Amukamara.
- Check out the new checkdown receiver: Fullback Henry Hynoski became a bigger part of the passing game toward the end of last season, and should have an even larger role in 2012. Since receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks generally take the entire defensive backfield with them as they run downfield, Hynoski should have no trouble getting open underneath the coverage. And when he does catch the ball, the 266-pound back cannot be brought down easily.
- Who’s where on the offensive line? Sean Locklear should be back on the blind side in place of Beatty. Who plays in his absence could indicate how long the team expects to be without their starting left tackle. If we see RT David Diehl on the left side and James Brewer stepping up on the right, then we’ll know the Giants are looking for a more permanent solution. Locklear is a solid veteran, but is seen more as a stopgap fix.
- Who is Matt Broha? Now that he’s picked up two sacks in two games, the undrafted rookie defensive end has a legitimate chance at making the team. His main competition for the fourth defensive end spot is Adrian Tracy, who is battling a hamstring issue. If that injury doesn’t improve, Broha could surprise everyone and make the 53-man roster.