Giants-Jets: What I'll be watching

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
4:02
PM ET
Yeah, I'm'a mosey on down Route 17 tonight for the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New York Jets. Maybe I'll see you there. Hopefully everybody's behaving themselves in the parking lots. It's only preseason, after all.

Anyway, assuming I make it in, here are some things I'll have my eye on from the Giants' end of things in the third game of the preseason:

Justin Pugh. The Giants' first-round pick wasn't necessarily supposed to play right away, but the loss of two starting offensive linemen to injury this week elevated him to the starting right tackle position. If he shows in the next couple of preseason games -- and in the next couple of weeks of practice -- that he can't handle it, the Giants surely will move on to Plan C. But while they don't tend to like throwing rookies into positions of significant responsibility right away, the Giants would love it if Pugh took this particular opportunity and ran with it.

The running back rotation. Sunday night against the Colts, David Wilson handled first-down and second-down responsibilities and Andre Brown got the ball on third downs and at the goal line. The Giants love Wilson's big-play ability and surely will get him plenty of carries this year, but Brown has looked too good in practice and in the games to keep off the field. They also seem to trust him more in pass protection. So I'm interested to see whether that Sunday night arrangement continues, since it appears to make a lot of sense for the Giants based on the way they like to use their running backs.

Middle linebacker. With Dan Connor appearing to have pulled ahead of Mark Herzlich in the competition for the starting middle linebacker job, will the Giants give him more snaps with the first team in this game? Or will Herzlich get the opportunity to muscle his way back into the competition?

Terrell Thomas. The Giants' cornerback will be playing in his first game since he tore an ACL in a preseason game against the Bears two years and two days ago. He tore the same one in training camp last year and has endured two years of painful rehab in an effort to resume his career. Can he make the team and factor as a reserve defensive back this season?

There's more, including opportunities for guys like Jim Cordle at center and Jerrel Jernigan as the slot receiver with Victor Cruz hurt. But those are some of the big ones to watch. I'm headed down there now. Say hi if you see me.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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