By Paul Dottino
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The wait is over. Giants coach Tom Coughlin and his staff will finally get a better look at how the team's thin spots are stacking up, beginning with Friday's preseason opener against the Bengals.
Coughlin said he was pleased by this week's two dual-practice sessions with Cincinnati and expects his starters will go the usual "one or two series" in the game. Starters? Hmmm... that's a bit tricky. You see, the Giants have significant questions at a few positions -- either because of injuries and/or inexperience.
So here are three things to watch in the game:
THE SAFETY DANCE
The Giants have used rotating safeties next to second-round SS Landon Collins in camp, and the apparent front-runner, first-year pro Bennett Jackson (suffered knee/ankle injuries as a rookie), has battled a sore groin this week. Former Ravens safety Jeromy Miles took a bunch of first-team snaps in recent days, so he might pick up a lot of early reps. Rookie fifth-round S Mykkele Thompson and oft-injured third-year S Cooper Taylor are likely to get significant playing time, too. Jackson and Thompson also may get a few looks in the slot, another position of great curiosity.
LINING THEM UP
Will somebody please remove this broken record from the turntable? The Giants' offensive line continues to resemble an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. To this point, LG Justin Pugh is the only member of the presumed starting five to have been entirely healthy since the offseason program began -- and he had to play left tackle when first-round rookie Ereck Flowers (hip) recently missed some snaps at camp. How do they line up for this game? It'll likely be Flowers, Pugh, CTR Weston Richburg, RG John Jerry and RT Marshall Newhouse. Only Pugh and Richburg are at the spots they were planning to man three months ago. Among the backups, former Redskin Adam Gettis has caught Coughlin's eye at left guard.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo needs to find out which players will help manufacture a pass rush while the injured Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) remains home in Florida. LDE Robert Ayers and RDE Kerry Wynn are listed as the starters -- both have been very active and energetic at camp -- but the Giants would greatly benefit if Damontre Moore and Owa Odighizuwa can turn this into a heated competition sooner rather than later.
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