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Jets vs. Giants preseason 2019: TV, position battles to watch

Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. (Photo: Getty Images)

Giants

Center
Jon Halapio vs. Spencer Pulley

Halapio seems to be the favorite for the starting job after his 2018 campaign was derailed because of an ankle and foot injury. Pulley replaced him and performed admirably along a redeveloping offensive line.

The Giants continue to build a prominent protection unit for Eli Manning and later, Daniel Jones, adding Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers during the offseason.

Nickel Cornerback
Grant Haley vs. Corey Ballentine

All indications have pointed to Grant Haley taking over as the Giants’ nickel corner. He’s taken an overwhelming majority of first-team snaps since the spring.

Haley started nine of his 10 appearances last season, recording 33 total tackles with two passes defended.

Ballentine was a sixth-round pick of the Giants earlier this year and was considered an afterthought throughout the summer. However, he’s been coming along during late-July practices.

Quarterback
Eli Manning vs. Daniel Jones

At the moment, nothing really indicates that Eli Manning won’t be the Giants’ starting quarterback when the regular season kicks off. But that doesn’t mean that his job is completely safe.

If rookie Daniel Jones comes out and lights up the preseason, he might force head coach Pat Shurmur’s hand and introduce the Duke product earlier than expected.

At this point, it’s not a question of if Jones will see starting time this season, but when.

Jets

Defensive Tackle
Steve McLendon vs. Quinnen Williams

While the Jets listed McLendon ahead of Williams on the depth chart, there might not be much validity to that.

The 33-year-old McLendon has appeared in every game over the past two years, recording 51 combined tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, and 1.5 sacks.

However, Williams’ is expected to revolutionize the position along the Jets’ defensive line as the No. 3 overall pick is considered by many to be the top-overall talent to come out of the 2019 NFL Draft.

It seems like McLendon is just a placeholder until Williams proves this preseason that he is ready to take over.

Running Back
Bilal Powell vs. Eli McGuire vs. Trenton Cannon

The Jets top-two running backs are already set with Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery poised to create an imposing duo. However, the Jets continue to suggest that they are going to roll with a very deep backfield in 2019.

That’s why they retained Powell, who is entering his ninth season with the organization. He’s averaged 430 yards per season during his tenure and the Jets know exactly what they’ll get from him.

Cannon and McGuire got their fair share of reps last season and should be in the mix for the final spot in the backfield.

Wide Receiver
Up for grabs

As the running back spot, the Jets’ top-three wide receivers are basically etched in stone. No one will be dethroning Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Jamison Crowder.

However, the No. 4 spot is an absolute free-for-fall as eight pass catchers could be in the mix for the last spot.

None of their career numbers necessarily jump off the page:

Tim White- 3 games, 1 reception, 14 yards, 9 punt returns, 6 kick returns, 0 TD
Deonte Thompson- 66 games, 94 receptions, 1,193 yards, 4 TD
JJ Jones- 4 games, 1 reception, 3 yards, 5 punt returns, 6 kick returns, 0 TD
Deontay Burnett- 5 games, 10 receptions, 143 yards, 0 TD
Greg Dortch- N/A (rookie)
Josh Bellamy- 75 games, 76 receptions, 999 yards, 5 TD
Charone Peake- 31 games, 22 receptions, 214 yards, 0 TD
Jeff Smith- N/A (rookie)

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