The Giants are preparing for their preseason home opener against the Colts Sunday night (7 p.m., FOX). And while the Colts’ young phenom quarterback Andrew Luck will likely see limited action, there are still plenty of tests for Big Blue to pass as they creep toward the preseason finish line.
Three things to watch for ...
1. 3-4 deja vu
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The Colts run a 3-4 defensive front just like the Steelers ran last week against Big Blue, which gave them fits. It’ll be interesting to see what adjustments offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride made during the week. The Giants should have the services of right guard Chris Snee, who missed the Steelers game, as he was working his way back into shape following an extended stay on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Once Snee gets into better game shape, the Giants’ offense should get back to normal. But until that happens, look for intricate 3-4 defensive fronts like the Colts to continue to apply pressure and confusion on an offensive line still trying to jell.
2. Old friend
The Colts also have a familiar face that recently came off the PUP list — former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw. While it’s unknown how much playing time the veteran will get, Bradshaw is highly competitive and would undoubtedly enjoy playing against the team that released him over the offseason. Bradshaw was a warrior for New York, playing hurt most of his Giants career and helping the team win two Super Bowls. Bradshaw could be the perfect safety release for Luck, as he averaged 31 receptions in his final four seasons in New York. Should he play, such a weapon out of the backfield would really put the Giants linebacker corps to the test.
3. Linebacker by committee
Head coach Tom Coughlin acknowledged there’s a logjam at linebacker following last week’s game, as no one has particularly stood out in practice or game film. While Spencer Paysinger had an admirable performance against the Steelers (five tackles), no other linebacker had more than three tackles, which means guys aren’t sticking their face masks into piles. Coughlin hopes to see a more aggressive and active unit against the Colts.
“It’s time for someone to step up and meet the need. We’re talking about trying to stop the run and that’s where it starts,” Coughlin said. “We have some athletic guys that can run, so I think we’ll do well against the pass, but we need to go ahead and find out about those other areas.”
Coughlin added a linebacker by committee isn’t ideal, but hopes a few players differentiate themselves.
“If it works out to where we can clearly identify something they do in a superior fashion to the others, be it a specific situation or overall, I’d be OK with [a committee]. They’re all going to have a lot of work [against the Colts]. They’re all special teamers, [and] they’re playing in a lot of different capacities. Whether it works out [set starters] or whether we do a combination of it, we’ll have to see.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.