For many players, this fourth preseason game is their last chance to make an impression and earn a spot on the 53-man roster. There will be a lot of young men on the field hoping to add one last hit, block or catch to their monthlong job interview.
But there will also be a few who will be sitting by watching. Waiting. Hoping.
The Giants have several players who are not expected to suit up against the Patriots on Wednesday night because of injuries, a situation made all the more tedious by their uncertain futures with the team. They won't get that shot at punctuating their resume and have to worry that they've shown enough to warrant inclusion in the exclusive 53-man club come Friday's final cuts.
Adrian Tracy is one of those players. He had a strong first half of camp but has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since shortly after he took the field against the Jets nearly two weeks ago. As a defensive end, he took advantage of his opportunity when veteran and established players were injured -- Justin Trattou's ankle and heel injury opened the door for him -- but since he's been unavailable, others have done the same to him.
"I wouldn't say I'm not healthy," Tracy said this week. "I'm on the path to being healthier. But I feel like there are things that have been done in order to preserve my health. This is not in my control whether or not I play."
So he has to trust that the trainers and the team are looking out for him.
"I feel like personally that I'll be able to go [Wednesday night]," Tracy said. "Those [trainers], they're professionals at what they do, so I trust that they have my best interests in mind . . . That's what I'm hoping. That's what I'm praying."
If Tracy doesn't get clearance to play Wednesday night, he won't be alone among the idle worriers. Terrell Thomas will visit the team's physician Wednesday to get a better idea of when he might return from an aggravated ACL injury he suffered early in camp after coming back from reconstructive surgery last September. It seemed like the Giants were going to save a roster spot for him in the hopes that he might be able to play this season, but with starting cornerback Prince Amukamara sidelined with a high ankle sprain, the Giants might not have that luxury.
"I do understand it's a business and it comes with it," Thomas said of cutdowns. "That's why I'm here working my butt off every day. It's a numbers game."
Others who won't be able to control their fate on the field Wednesday night will include DT Shaun Rogers, who has a blood clot in his calf and is waiting to see if a new medication will allow him to play this season, along with fellow DT Marvin Austin, who has already missed two full seasons of football and could miss a third with a back injury this summer. The Giants likely won't be able to give all of those players time to heal while taking up spots on the crowded roster.
Thomas, though, is comfortable that the Giants will give him the time to recover from his injury and get back.
"If not, they would've opted for the surgery because it was like a coin flip," he said of the decision to forgo a third reconstruction on his knee. "I'm very confident in myself and where I stand with this team, but it's a business. You see guys get cut left and right on these judgment days."