By Paul Dottino
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The Giants' starting defense already showed it's going to be the strength of this team in the preseason loss at Carolina, so it's up to the offense and special teams to raise their level of play Monday night against the Chicago Bears.
Coach Tom Coughlin has said he wants his starters to play 25-30 snaps in this one, which should take them well into the second quarter and maybe even through the first half.
Veteran quarterback David Carr will see his first action of the preseason, attempting to wrestle away the backup job from Sage Rosenfels, who will not play after spending three days in the hospital as the result of a strep throat/infection.
Here are the three most important things to look for from the Giants:
1. Production from the tight ends. Coughlin has admitted he's got to get more out of this position from the guys who are here or he's going to have to look elsewhere. The problem is there's not likely to be much to choose from on the waiver wire because spare tight ends are not plentiful around the league.
2. Improvement from the special teams. The coverage and return teams didn't show much against Carolina, which grabbed an easy edge in field position. You know this is a problem when the best thing you can say is that punters Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford kicked well and were even in their competition.
Somebody has got to take control as a gunner - maybe newcomer Derrick Martin? - and Coughlin is hoping rookie Jerrel Jernigan provides more of a spark in the return game. And don't forget kicker Rhys Lloyd, the kickoff specialist who will sub for the injured Lawrence Tynes (quad), trying to make a case for Coughlin to either keep two kickers or to allow him to compete with Tynes for a full-time job.
3. O-line communication. The starting offensive line, led by free agent signee C David Baas, was out of sync against Carolina. Although it's unrealistic to set the bar high this soon, it's imperative the unit takes a step forward every week.
What will you be watching for? Sound off in the comments below...
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