3 Giants starters who should play in Preseason Week 2

evan neal, new york giants
Aug 21, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) says a pregame prayer before the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will kick off their second preseason game of 2023 on Friday night at 7 PM EST, hosting the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. In Week 1, New York rested all 22 of their starters. But in their second preseason game, Big Blue could put some of the starters out on the field in the first quarter; and some of the starters could really benefit from the playing time.

RT Evan Neal needs some practice

Second-year RT Evan Neal needs some preseason playing time before the regular season kicks off. Neal was unfortunately unavailable for the team’s first preseason game after winding up in concussion protocol. But now that the 22-year-old has cleared the protocol and is ready to play, the Giants should absolutely give him some snaps against the Panthers.

Neal was putrid in his 2022 rookie season. He surrendered 39 pressures and seven sacks and was statistically ranked as one of the worst offensive tackles in the league as a rookie. Going into 2023, it is crucial for the success of the offense that Neal improves his play. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka is planning to open up the playbook this season, but he can only do that if the offensive line protects its quarterback.

Neal spent the entire offseason working on his stance, fixing his diet, losing weight, and adding muscle. The Alabama product is essentially entering his sophomore NFL season as a brand-new player. It will be important for him to get some practice in against other teams in the preseason before kicking off the regular season.

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Veteran CB testing new position

With two rookie CBs potentially starting on the outside in the Giants’ defense this season, veteran CB Adoree’ Jackson could be moving to a new position. The 27-year-old CB is embracing a new role this season as defensive coordinator Wink Martindale moves Jackson into the slot to make room for rookies Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III on the outside.

Jackson has spent the entirety of his career playing primarily as a boundary corner. In 2023, he may retain his role on the outside if Hawkins or Banks is unready to start, however, he could also be making a move to the nickel. If he does need to switch positions, it would be better for Jackson to have gotten some playing time in the new role this preseason, rather than going into the regular season blind. If the starters are playing against Carolina, Jackson should get some snaps in the slot.

“You’ve got to play the best guys. There’s still a lot of competition going on out there. But it just so happens, they’re both playing really well right now and they deserve the reps with the ones. That’s what this league is all about. That’s what our organization, and Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) and (general manager) Joe (Schoen) are all about.

“We’re excited to see their growth. Every day is a new day for them as far as there’s something else they find out, there’s a different kind of shift, there’s a different kind of movement. The faster that can become just natural to them instead of thinking while they’re doing it, the faster you’ll see them make more plays, and it’s fun to watch.”

Wink Martindale via Giants.com

Who will be playing LG for the Giants?

The Giants have been holding an open competition on the offensive line all summer long. The team has yet to determine a starter at left guard and there has even been some speculation that the starting right guard job is available for the taking, too. Veteran OL Ben Bredeson could start in either one of those positions.

Currently, Bredeson is the leading man for the LG job over second-year OL Joshua Ezeudu. Bredeson could solidify himself as the starter with an impressive performance in the preseason. But Bredeson could also potentially steal the starting RG job if he were to play well in that role during the preseason. Regardless, Bredeson is a player who deserves some preseason playing time to allow him a better opportunity to solidify himself as a starter on the Giants’ offensive line.