As the Giants head into their last week of the preseason, they’ll essentially be broken into two teams:
One that will play on Thursday against the Patriots, and one that won’t.
“The guys that we know are going to play in the game we’re going to use a portion of practice to get them ready to play the Patriots,” Pat Shurmur said on Saturday. “It’s important that some of the guys that might not be playing in this game, it’s like training camp, so the padded practices are important and the work that we do is important, especially the Giants-on-Giants phase of things.”
Although Shurmur declined to name who will and won’t play, it’s unlikely that offensive starters such as Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley will see the field against the Patriots. Others such as Sterling Shepard and veteran defensive starters will probably next see game action in the Sept. 9 opener against the Jaguars as well.
“It kind of runs parallel,” Shurmur said of the upcoming workouts, “so we’ll structure the practice sessions to reflect that.”
Olivier Vernon had an opportunity to sack Jets QB Sam Darnold in the first quarter of Friday’s game, chasing him out of the pocket from behind. Instead of pouncing on him like a tiger in a nature documentary, though, Vernon simply gave Darnold a gentle push and the quarterback wound up throwing the ball away. In two-hand-touch it would have been a fine stop. Call it a Gentleman’s Sack.
“I wasn’t trying to get a fine,” the linebacker said with a grin of avoiding a dangerous play in a preseason game. “He had great balance on that one.”
Vernon said he was impressed by a lot more than just Darnold’s center of gravity.
“He was connecting on some throws, taking off running when he felt that pressure in the pocket,” Vernon said of the Jets’ rookie quarterback. “His pocket awareness is pretty good. I think he did a great job. We’ve just got to see how he does throughout the season, but I think he has a bright future.”
TE Evan Engram is in the concussion protocol after being helped off the field on Friday night. Shurmur declined Saturday to speculate on when he might be cleared. “Nothing has really changed from last night,” he said. TE Rhett Ellison, who left the game with what was called an eye injury, actually had a migraine, Shurmur said. The condition affected his vision in one eye. “He’s fine,” Shurmur said. “He’s better today” … Most players don’t root against their own quarterback but after a pair of dropped passes on Friday night WR Hunter Sharp said he hopes whoever throws to him in this week’s preseason finale is wildly inaccurate. “I hope it comes my way,” he said, “and I hope there’s a bad pass so I can make the QB look good.” Sharp was hard on himself for those drops that also came in a game in which he had a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown … Shurmur said he is “getting close” to naming a starter at free safety. The likeliest choice is Curtis Riley but Andrew Adams and William Gay both played there on Friday. Darian Thompson’s hamstring injury is “really lingering,” Shurmur said.