1. Newly-installed offense.
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2. Will Beatty’s return.
The first-team offensive line had a good week of practice, and it will take another step forward on Saturday against the Colts when left tackle Will Beatty plays in his first preseason game of the year. Beatty, who fractured his leg at the end of last season, is expected to start but will have a limited number of reps. “I have been looking forward to this moment,” Beatty said. "I am blessed to be in this position.” Likewise, cornerback Trumaine McBride, who was also held out of the first two preseason games as a precaution, is expected to play in Indianapolis. However, rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants’ first-round draft choice, will not play, but he is expected to make his debut next week against the Jets as he overcomes a hamstring issue.
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After spending all of spring football and most of training camp as the third quarterback behind Eli Manning and Ryan Nassib, Curtis Painter was bumped up to No. 2 this week. Coughlin said he’ll remain there for Saturday’s game, one week after he threw a late, go-ahead touchdown in the Giants’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Painter has yet to throw an incomplete pass on 10 attempts in two preseason games.
4. How long the starters play.
While most NFL teams will be playing in their second preseason game, the Giants are preparing for their third because of the added Hall of Fame Game against the Buffalo Bills. The third game is typically the dress rehearsal where starters last the longest, but due to the atypical schedule, Coughlin said he doubts if some starters play a full half. “We will have different individuals who play a little bit more and different individuals who will play a little less,” Coughlin said. “But that is a normal advance right now.”
The Giants have big plans for their secondary this year, and they have the talent to do so. But to be the best, you have to face the best. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is on his way to being just that. “I think Luck is an elite quarterback,” Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. “He’s an outstanding young and rising star in the league. I think he possesses great tools and great poise as a quarterback. This is going to be the best test that we’ve done thus far this year with the receiver tandem they do have.”
6. Fallout of illegal contact emphasis.
The NFL made illegal contact and defensive holding points of emphasis this season, which the Giants have seen in the first two preseason games. But instead of looking at it from a defensive perspective, would Coughlin use it to his advantage on offense and take more shots downfield? “That is a pretty good thought,” he joked. “Maybe I’ll write it down and it will be an objective there based off that. No, you are right. The fact that we are talking about some real touch foul types of things, that perhaps will be…. It has happened to us that way, let’s put it that way. They haven’t been go [routes], they have be in cuts and all kinds of things. Not a bad thought.”
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7. Kicking competition.
Even with the league experimenting with longer extra points, Giants kickers Josh Brown and Brandon McManus are perfect through two preseason games. Brown made his lone 45-yard field goal attempt last week while McManus has split the uprights from 46 and 47 yards. The competition is real with less than a month until the season opener.
Not only is Indianapolis home of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI victory, but there will be some familiar faces in ex-Giants Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw, who now play for the Colts. Nicks is expected to suit up, but Bradshaw’s status is still uncertain. “It’s going to be a little reminiscent to go back there where we won our last Super Bowl,” Victor Cruz said. “We’re excited to go back there and, obviously, to see Hakeem and to be in that locker room where we were. We’re excited for that opportunity and to see Hakeem again is always an added bonus.”