Monday night gives Giants time to watch for flags

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) waits Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) waits for the ball as back judge Tony Steratore throws a penalty flag against the Tennessee Titans during the first half of a preseason game in Atlanta. There has been a jump in the number of penalties called for illegal contact, defensive holding and illegal use of hands in preseason games this year. Photo Credit: AP / David Goldman

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The Giants play one of the last games of opening weekend, facing the Lions in the first half of the NFL's Monday night doubleheader. That means that by the time they take the field in Detroit, they (and the rest of us) should have a pretty good idea about one of the biggest questions in the league as the preseason morphs into the regular season.

That, of course, is just how tightly the officials will call plays in the secondary.

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For most of the preseason, the officials were flagging just about anything from blatant grabs and pushes to guys bumping shoulders as they ran next to each other. It was a part of the NFL's new emphasis on enforcing the written rules of the game. Now that the games count, many believe the pace of the penalties will slow.

"You expect that whatever the emphasis is and whatever the new rules are, they will be implemented in the preseason," Tom Coughlin said Thursday. "How it goes beyond that is going to be an interesting thing to see.

"For example, nothing's happened with pass interference except to say that if you grab the jersey, it's automatic, it doesn't make any difference, you're going to get called. That is an issue. And then obviously the illegal contact, that's what we want to try to figure out right away is what's going to be allowed and what isn't going to be allowed. Incidental -- in the beginning of the fall here, it's been incidental has been called. Will it be? Will it continue to be? I think that will all settle down."

The good news for the Giants is that they'll have a chance to find out. With the NFL opener on Thursday night and a full plate of games on Sunday, they'll be peeking around the league to see how robust the officiating is.

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"I'm sure I'll be informed," Coughlin said, suggesting that he won't have time to actually watch the other games but will be brought up to speed by, among others, senior vice president of communications Pat Hanlon. "I'll know what's going on."

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