Perhaps lost in the hubbub of Saturday’s upcoming deadline to trim NFL rosters from 90 players to 53 is the fact that all 32 teams go through one last round of preseason games on Thursday night.
The New York Giants, for example, head to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots in their summer finale (7:30 PM EST, WNBC).
As has been tradition this summer, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo stated that playing time in the fourth game will likely duplicate the lineup strategy in the corresponding preseason game from last season.
“We’re going to play the game very similarly to the way we played last year’s [fourth preseason] game,” McAdoo said. “We want to give every player who’s on the bubble an opportunity to show what they can do.”
Though McAdoo, perhaps facetiously, expressed hope that injured receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could play on Thursday, that doesn’t appear likely. Starters normally sit out the final preseason game, though previous head coach was one to buck that trend during his tenure.
McAdoo was further asked if newcomer Brandon Marshall, who has played sparingly with his new teammates this preseason, would try to get some snaps. He again responded with the “similar to last year” quote, but McAdoo believes that success or failure in the preseason, even for starters, does not translate to the regular season.
“It’s a different game. The games are played for different reasons. You’re trying to evaluate your team, evaluate the players on your team,” McAdoo said. “You want to get players work versus competitive players. You want to get your ones work versus other opponents’ ones. Get them good, quality work at high speeds and physicality.”
Thursday takes on a slightly bigger importance due to the looming roster cutdown. Though teams would previously trim to 75 before unveiling the final 53 in years past, McAdoo praised the new, later purge.
“I do like going from 90 to 53,” he said. “I think it gives the players who are out there doing a lot of working, getting a lot of work, gives them an opportunity to show well for your team and for other teams in the league.”
A quiet summer tradition, the Giants and Patriots have met annually un their respective preseason finales since 2001. Though the games resemble anything but Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, it might as well be for players on the brink. Last season, a 17-9 Giants win, receivers Tavarres King (4 receptions, 80 yards) and Roger Lewis Jr. (3 receptions, 30 yards) each had touchdowns, while defensive lineman Romeo Okwara had a sack and fellow lineman Kerry Wynn forced a fumble. Each player made the team, and made contributions to the Giants’ 11-5 season.
The Giants welcomed Peter Costigan to practice today. A 12-year old from Wayne, PA, Costigan made headlines during the Giants’ visit to Washington in January when he attended dressed exactly like McAdoo, complete with a headset, challenge flag (fake) mustache and play sheets.
Coach McAdoo gets a visit from Little McAdoo! 👏 pic.twitter.com/6xlxSPvw1K
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 29, 2017
Costigan presented the real McAdoo with a motivational sign that read [sic] “We gotta get greater at gettin’ great”.
After posing for photos with his idol, Costigan, unofficially known as “Mini McAdoo” promoted the charity Natural High, which encourages people to do what they love without the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle) did not practice, instead being mostly relegated to the stationary bikes on the side. He did, however, take the podium afterwards to address his ailment.
“The one that’s hurt right now is my left one, and it’s coming along well,” Apple said. “(We’re) just taking it day by day.”
When asked if the injury will be keep him out of Week 1’s Dallas showdown, Apple said “I don’t think so”, but reiterated his injury is a “day-to-day” issue.
Describing the injury as “just a little sprain”, Apple said the injury occurred on a deep ball during Saturday’s game against the Jets.
“There was an underthrown ball and I had to adjust to it,” he said. “Once I stopped, my foot kind of got stuck in the turf and bended a little bit weirdly inside.”
Receiver Tavarres King (ankle) and corner Michael Hunter (concussion) continued to work onthe side. Hunter briefly took part in secondary drills, but spent a majority of practice on the side.
Linebacker Keenan Robinson remains in concussion protocol.
Linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger) was kept indoors. McAdoo was asked about the possibility of Herzlich going to injured reserve and said “It’s early. We haven’t had those discussions at this point.”
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison returned to the first team unit after taking a rest day yesterday. He lined up next to fellow tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who again subbed for the ailing Jay Bromley (knee).
No changes were made to the first team offensive line again, as John Jerry took his customary spot at right guard.
Center Weston Richburg was held out of last year’s New England finale. McAdoo left the possibility open, saying “that would be a good place to start”.
Geno Smith took the first backup quarterback reps. McAdoo said that the quarterback rotation for Thursday would be discussed in a meeting later today, but mentioned that Davis Webb would indeed be in the mix.
The Giants also reached an injury settlement with receiver Darius Powe, who was placed on injured reserve.
Powe’s settlement is reportedly for one week, meaning that if he’s still not with a team once the settlement expires, the Giants can re-sign him after Week 4 (the three-week waiting period plus however many weeks the injury settlement is for).
- It was a strong day for defensive end Avery Moss, the Giants’ fifth-round pick. Channeling his inner Olivier Vernon, the defensive end intercepted a pass in coverage and later had a sack during a situational team drill.
- Backups mostly played the aforementioned situational, given 1:22 to work with. Receiver Canaan Severin kept the drive alive on a leaping catch, but quarterback Davis Webb was unable to get them much further, turning the ball over on downs.
- During a special teams period, Aldrick Rosas took all four field goal tries, splitting the uprights on each. The attempts came from around 34 to 48 yards.
What He Said
I think we’re really coming together, jelling together as a team, as an offense, and just the cohesiveness on the offensive side of the ball is coming together….It’s just only a matter of time. We’re just making steps in the right direction, continuing to progress and I think we’ll be in our stride for the regular season.
–Running back Paul Perkins on the Giants’ run game.
Today marked the final practice of the preseason, as tomorrow will serve as a travel day . Following Thursday’s game, the Giants will not practice again until next week, when they prepare for their highly awaited opener in Dallas on September 10.