The New York Giants will play their next preseason game on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night.
Although the Giants lost their last preseason game to the Pittsburgh Steelers, there were still a few bright moments. For example, the kicking competition between Mike Nugent and Aldrick Rosas continues to heat up as all of the points that the Giants scored against the Steelers came from field goals. Nugent hit from 30 and 45 yards while Rosas hit from 27 and 52 yards.
Geno Smith started off well by completing seven of his first 10 passes for 84 yards, but a third quarter interception by the Steelers’ Arthur Moats killed any momentum that Smith was trying to build. Smith was also sacked three times, and he ended up completing 10 of his 16 passes for 114 yards.
And while Evan Engram played a majority of his snaps with the second-team offense (23 snaps total), he only caught one pass for 11 yards.
While the previous four Giants mentioned were players to watch against the Steelers, here are some more Giants to be on the lookout for against the Browns:
Josh Johnson and Davis Webb
The backup quarterback position for the Giants has been more than an anomaly in the 13 seasons that Eli Manning has been the starter. Manning has never missed a regular season game since his first start in 2004, but as the 36-year-old continues to grow with age, the thought of a younger quarterback replacing him grows as well.
Between Geno Smith, Josh Johnson and Davis Webb, it is still unclear as to who will be the top backup to Manning in 2017. Smith had his moments against the Steelers, but his performance as a whole was mostly uninspiring. Johnson, who hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2013, looked flat-out awful as he directed the first-team offense, but Webb had a few bright moments as he took snaps in the final six minutes of the game.
While Webb’s down-the-field pass to Keeon Johnson after the final two-minute warning fell incomplete, it still had the opportunity to become a big play. All Johnson had to do was to fight for the football in order to maintain possession. But since he and Steelers cornerback Brian Allen had both of their hands on the football, it was good to avoid a simultaneous catch and interception.
Johnson is still the backup quarterback, while Smith and Webb are the third- and fourth-string quarterbacks, respectively. However, if Johnson or Smith decide to play better against the Browns, or if Webb comes through with a game-winning drive just like Deshone Kizer did against the Saints, the Giants’ depth chart could change in an instant.
During his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, Ellison has been known as an excellent blocking tight end. But as he continues to split time with Evan Engram on the first-team offense, his workload in the passing system will increase more and more. In his 73 career games with the Vikings, Ellison has 53 catches for 515 yards and three touchdowns. His last regular season touchdown came in a 2015 game against the Oakland Raiders.
Ellison has had a good showing in training camp so far, and he is more than likely capable of stepping up and replacing former Giants tight end Larry Donnell. While Donnell had trouble with multiple dropped passes, hopefully Ellison doesn’t fall into that same situation. And just like the kicking competition between Mike Nugent and Aldrick Rosas, the starting tight end competition between Ellison and Engram could get a little more exciting throughout the second half of camp.
The Giants-Browns game will air on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. CST on ESPN.
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