The Giants will almost certainly be without Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall for Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets, a handicap that will alter the efficiency and expectations of the offense. So what, exactly, will Ben McAdoo be looking for from the beleaguered unit in the most important preseason game on the schedule?
“I’m looking for getting in a little bit of a rhythm,” the coach said on Thursday. “We want to take care of the ball. That’s important to us. We want to play with some physicality, complete the ball and just get a little bit better. Find a way to make some gains this week.”
The third preseason game is traditionally the last full dress rehearsal before the regular season opener. McAdoo said he will treat this one “very similarly to the way we treated last year’s third game,” which is to say that Eli Manning and the starters will play into the third quarter.
“We may make some adjustments,” McAdoo said. “We do have three games in 11 days and we will take that into consideration, but we haven’t had any play time discussions yet.”
McAdoo would not rule out Beckham or Marshall, both injured in Monday’s game against the Browns. Beckham suffered an ankle sprain and could be seen riding an exercise bike near a window inside the team facility during practice on Thursday. Marshall has been on the field with the team taking “mental reps.” Receivers Dwayne Harris and Tavarres King have also been sidelined this week with injuries.
“We are going to deal with the guys who can play,” McAdoo said. “Those are medical decisions, so if guys are available to play versus the Jets, we will play them. If not, we won’t.”
Change to cuts
The third preseason game is normally the last chance for some players to make the team, but this year the NFL changed the rules on cutdowns. No longer must teams be at 75 players before the fourth game. Now they can carry 90 all the way through to final cuts on Sept. 2.
McAdoo seemed more intrigued by the flood of players who will be hitting free agency from other team’s cuts than by how the change will affect the Giants.
“The cut down rule will make it interesting,” he said. “There will be a lot of players out there and a lot of good players out there. Some teams are stockpiling at some positions and they may not keep them around, so you will be able to find some good players out there that have some experience possibly that can come in and make your team better.”
McAdoo said he spoke with the team regarding the new, more lax celebration rules. “We want to make sure we are not kicking PATs from Hoboken,” he said of avoiding penalties after touchdowns. “We need to make sure we stay within the rules there and keep the extra points makeable” . . . The Giants signed CB Tim Scott to take the place of Valentino Blake.