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Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin practices rushing the (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin practices rushing the passer at the Giants OTA. (May 30, 2012)

Giants on the bubble for final roster spots

The fourth preseason game is often considered the most meaningless of the year, and that may be the case for players established veterans trying to stay healthy for the season opener. But at the bottom of the roster, drama is high in the last game before the team cuts its roster from 75 to 53. Newsday's Tom Rock looks at six Giants who will be fighting for jobs against the Patriots.

MARVIN AUSTIN, DT At a crowded position, the
(Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

MARVIN AUSTIN, DT
At a crowded position, the former second-round pick needs another impact performance like he had against the Jets (1 sack, 1 headline-grabbing QB hit against Mark Sanchez). Coughlin said that Austin has “flashed” and is “quick as can be,” but he’ll need to continue that to beat out his competition for the final defensive tackle spot on the roster in veteran Mike Patterson. |

MICHAEL COX, RB The Giants have had some
(Credit: James Escher)

MICHAEL COX, RB
The Giants have had some luck with running backs taken in the seventh-round (see Ahmad Bradshaw) and they may have found another solid player there in Cox. He’s looked good on kickoff returns and his skills are strong, but he has to prove he’s savvy enough for the Giants to jettison veterans Ryan Torain and Da’rel Scott. |

LARRY DONNELL, TE With fullback Henry Hynsoki off
(Credit: James Escher)

LARRY DONNELL, TE
With fullback Henry Hynsoki off PUP and expected to be ready for the opener, Bear Pascoe can return to tight end on a full time basis. That could put the squeeze on Donnell, who showed the coaches toughness when he returned from a knee sprain in just two days this preseason. |

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CHARLES JAMES, CB The undrafted rookie is in
(Credit: AP)

CHARLES JAMES, CB
The undrafted rookie is in a battle with Terrence Frederick and Trumaine McBride for the last cornerback spot. James has impressed the coaches with his instinctive play on defense and also his abilities on special teams which could push him over the top. Coughlin raved about his fielding of a punt this week. |

JERREL JERNIGAN, WR The Giants envisioned Jernigan as
(Credit: James Escher)

JERREL JERNIGAN, WR
The Giants envisioned Jernigan as a multi-threat player who could catch, run and possibly even throw when they drafted him in 2011’s third round. He had a good showing against the Jets while filling in for Victor Cruz last week, but may need another to convince the Giants to keep him as a fifth receiver. |

COOPER TAYLOR, S A last chance to make
(Credit: James Escher)

COOPER TAYLOR, S
A last chance to make a first impression for the fifth-round draft pick who has missed the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. With Stevie Brown gone for the year and Will Hill suspended for the first four weeks, the Giants are looking for reliable depth at the position and a possible candidate for their three-safety looks. |

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