Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gameday: New York Giants

KDKA & NFL Network

New Meadowlands Stadium

What To Watch For

1. Ben Roethlisberger. By now, if you don't know that he's going to play, you've been living under a rock. Also, if you're getting news from our blog, then you seriously need to consider getting a twitter account or investing in one of those new-fangled radio things.

2. Antonio Brown. For those of you that have chatted us up on Twitter, you'll know that we don't think Stefan Logan is going to make the team this year. After Antonio Brown's big game against Detroit, the Steelers are going to give him a shot in the return game this week. If Brown and/or Emmanuel Sanders shows any semblance of competence in the return game, chances are they might supplant Stefan Logan on the roster. Brown and Sanders both bring a lot more to the passing game than Logan, and if they prove to be at least competent as a returner, they will be much more useful as a whole than Logan.

3. Special Teams, specifically kickoffs. Word is, the Steelers will be giving Daniel Sepulveda a chance to show what he can do on kickoffs. He looked great doing it at training camp. We all know Sepulveda has the mentality of a linebacker running downfield to cover kicks. However, the important thing to remember here is that it's a lot easier to kick the ball in August than it is in December when your foot is freezing and the ball is like a rock.

4. Offensive Line. The Steelers are still in the market to discover who their starting 5 will be at the beginning of the season. Common logic holds that Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu are the only two locks. Maurkice Pouncey is still in the mix at both center and guard. Trai Essex and Justin Hartwig are returning starters from last year, but one of them could be supplanted by Pouncey. The right tackle position is the biggest question mark. Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott will share time with the first team tonight.

5. Outside Linebackers. Second round pick Jason Worlids will see his first game action this week, and we want to see some solid play out of him to prove, not only that he was worth the pick, but also that he can make the team as the #3 OLB. Harrison and Woodley are both Pro Bowl-caliber players, but having a #3 OLB behind them is essential to the team's longterm success. The battle right now is between Worlids, Thaddeus Gibson, and special teams standout Patrick Bailey.

After the resounding success of last weeks inaugural segment, we're going to keep rolling with it, as least, as long as we can find bloggers from other teams willing to talk to us. This week, we get some inside info from Jeremy over at Giants Gab about our upcoming opponent.

1. Now that both teams have one preseason game under their belts, we've gotten our first look at some of the rookies. What are you looking for from the Giants for this second game for it to be considered a "success"?

We saw a bit of first round pick Jason Pierre-Paul, but he was too inconsistent. He has a lot to learn in terms of anticipation and instincts. I want to see him improve in that regard. Victor Cruz, the breakout star of Monday Night's Game, just has to keep doing what he's been doing. He doesn't need to have 145 yards and 3 touchdowns again, but needs to continue to make plays.

As for the Giants as a whole, they need to improve their defense. The first team looked flat, and got no pass rush. For team build on speed and getting after the quarterback, there wasn't any of that. New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has a lot of innovative schemes, but the Giants haven't taken to them yet. They'll need to do that for it to be a success.

2. The Giants invested a lot in their D-line this offseason. We're interested to see how the Steelers rebuilt line handles the many different looks the Giants front 4 shows. Are there any matchups you're looking forward to watching?

I really want to see Chris Canty against either guard Chris Kemoeatu or Maurkice Pouncey. Canty was a big investment last year, but was hurt and wasn't productive. Now he's healthy, and has been terrific in camp. If he can clog the middle, he'll be doing his job, and allow the linebackers to roam free. Justin Tuck against Max Starks should be interesting as well.

3. Which Giants players are you looking for the most improvement out of during this preseason?

Clint Sintim, the starting strong side linebacker, really needs to get his game going. A rookie last year, he has tremendous pass rush ability. He needs to show flashes of that in preseason. There isn't much competition behind him, so he has the job locked up. He just needs to show he deserves it.

4. Any sleeper players that might be surprises in the game?

A sleeper might be running back Andre Brown. A 4th round pick in 2009, he tore his ACL in training camp last year and is just coming back. He showed impressive burst in the first preseason game. With more carries under his belt, he could have a big game.

5. Any other final thoughts?

The Giants need to get their defense going. All reports from camp are saying how aggressive and impressive the Giants D looks. Well, we need to see it on the field. We need to see a strong pass rush, and good coverage from the talented, but young, secondary.

Go Steelers!

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