Hey, we're live blogging again! So don't tire out your little fingers before the 7 p.m. kickoff with Pittsburgh.
The starters go a little longer in this one, perhaps a half. But count on third-string quarterback Rhett Bomar to go most of the way, only because he's the only experienced quarterback active for the game. Eli Manning and Jim Sorgi will both sit, of course, as Manning recovers from that nasty collision last week and Sorgi rests a partially separated shoulder.
This is a good thing for Bomar, who showed he can both pass and run last week against the Jets. That quarterback draw that set up Victor Cruz' final touchdown reception, actually a 23-yard scramble up the middle, was a thing of beauty. Now he gets an entire game to make a push for that primary backup spot. If he has any potential at all, he'll need to take full advantage of this opportunity. After Bomar is done, probably somewhere in the fourth quarter, new signing Dominic Randolph may get a few snaps. The Holy Cross passer was signed Wednesday, and looked the best of the quarterbacks who were cut after rookie minicamp.
Here are some things to watch:
WR: Victor Cruz, the star of last week's game with three touchdown catches, appears to have made the roster. But a few grabs in this game won't hurt his case, either. We know the undrafted UMass product can be spectacular. Now the coaches need to see consistency. It also might be wise to put him back there as the starting punt returner over Aaron Ross for a bigger test. Steve Smith will be out there after a groin injury, so it will be nice to see him knock some of the rust off. Cruz certainly earned a shot with the starters, so let's see if the coaches feel the same way.
RB: Andre Brown took a step ahead of DJ Ware last week, but Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs rightfully will remain as the starters. Bradshaw showed some of his classic moves last week, but Jacobs looked rusty. If the Giants get to the goal line, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride would do well to let Jacobs have the ball and just power up the middle to establish the big guy's confidence. Then again, wouldn't it be interesting to see Bomar work a play-action down there?
DBs: Kenny Phillips will get his first playing time since Game 2 of last season, and it will be interesting to see how he moves. If the coaches are wise, they'll limit his play to a handful of downs, leaving the rest to playmaker Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant. Mike Greco, an undrafted free agent, will also be out there.
LBs: Keith Bulluck also makes his first appearance at middle linebacker, and the coaches will be watching closely as he works on his surgically-repaired left knee. The Giants had loads of trouble stopping the run last week, despite starter Jonathan Goff making some early tackles. If Bulluck can plug some holes and stifle the Steelers' running game, the staff will know it has its starter/leader there.
DL: Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph both looked good in their initial outing, with Joseph getting penetration at times. Consistency is the key here. And let's see if Osi Umenyiora takes more than the handful of plays he took last week.
OL: With both starting guards out, the line will look much different than last year. Will Beatty and David Diehl will start at left tackle and left guard, respectively, while Guy Whimper will likely get the start over fifth-round rookie Mitch Petrus at right guard. Friday's new signing, Shawn Andrews, will probably land at right guard next week if Chris Snee's knee doesn't get any better, but he's not ready to play yet.
P: Matt Dodge had an inconsistent day and an inconsistent week of practice. If he doesn't snap out of it tonight, the Giants may have to give some serious thoughts about either bringing in a punter from the outside or begging Jeff Feagles to come out of retirement and save the day.