Big Blue has holes on its roster the size of its namesake, but unfortunately there’s not much time left in the preseason to figure it out.
Tonight’s fourth and final exhibition matchup against the Patriots won’t do much in remedying the Giants’ ills, particularly since head coach Tom Coughlin said the length of playing time for his starters is up in the air
“That will be determined as we go along,” Coughlin said. “I’m not going to say anything just yet.”
Perhaps it’s a good thing the much-maligned reserves will see most of the action. As Coughlin put it following Monday night’s loss to the Jets, the backups need all the reps they can get. In-game improvement can only come tonight, as a week from Sunday the regular season begins.
Coughlin, who’s never really been known to make excuses, did admit the quick turnaround from Monday to Thursday has hampered his team, as there was very little time for actual practices. Hurricane Irene inconvenienced every teams along the eastern seaboard, but if you ask Coughlin he thinks it affected his squad a little bit more.
“You are supposed to be in training camp to prepare and that certainly means to practice. Just take a look at the practices we will not have this week. You are talking about a force of nature. You’re not talking about someone making a decision not to practice,” Coughlin said. “We were all caught short. This week, you are only talking about jog throughs … It is a lot of forced learning and you have a lot of sore people. Nobody is complaining [but] it is just not an optimum situation.”
Another situation that isn’t optimal has been the play of any receiver not named Hakeem Nicks or Mario Manningham. The first-team wideouts have had a very good preseason, but it’s the others who are still struggling to find their way and earn the trust of Eli Manning.
The Jets picked off Manning twice and the first one was in direct correlation to a receiver not adjusting his route to help out his quarterback. Such miscommunication has hindered drives.
Manning insists everything will be fine and when the games really count, whichever wideouts are in the game, he’ll have total faith in them.
“We’re ready and I don’t think anything’s wrong [because] we’ve done some really good things,” Manning said. “I’ve never put too much on preseason. That’s why it’s preseason. It’s just preparation for the regular season.”
The veteran signal-caller added that game experience is the only elixir to their ills and said tonight will be a good gauge as to who’s adjusting to larger roles.
“What you kind of lose [in veterans leaving] is some brain power at receiver,” Manning said, mentioning Steve Smith and Kevin Boss specifically. “Those guys saw every defense, saw every look and learned by reps how to get open. You have to grow with these new guys. That’s part of being a young football player [that] you have to let them grow up. They’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to have to live and die with that.”
Starting tonight, the Giants hope one of the non-descript wideouts gives new life to an anemic passing game.
Follow Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8 for news on the Giants all season long.