Skip to main content
Presented by

Five things to watch at New York Giants: Room to improve on offense

DJ Chark Jr., Bryce Young

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers probably didn't want to spend too much time dwelling on their first preseason game, a 27-0 shutout against the Jets.

So a short week to recoup and move on was what they needed, as they'll travel to face the New York Giants for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday.

Fans back in Charlotte can catch the game on Queen City News (WJZY), while others inside the scope of the Carolina Panthers Television Network can find the game on their local affiliate (the full list can be found here). Those outside the region can see it on NFL Network. 

Here are five things to look out for while you're watching.

Eyes on the line

The main storyline of the week revolved around offensive line play, and it wasn't the most positive one.

They were aware of the issue long before the headlines swirled (offensive line coach James Campen held that impromptu postgame meeting right after they left the field Saturday). 

And it'd be fair to assume that eyes will be on the line again this week – especially at that right guard spot while they look for someone to step up in place of an injured Austin Corbett. 

It won't be second-year Cade Mays, who will miss Friday with a neck injury after playing the first series with the starters against the Jets. Justin McCray and Michael Jordan took reps at right guard in the two series that followed, and head coach Frank Reich doesn't expect that kind of drive-by-drive rotation to continue into next week.

They will give looks to a pair of rookies returning from injury, as fourth-round draft pick Chandler Zavala and undrafted free agent Nash Jensen figure to slot in at some point against the Giants. 

"There'll be a little rotation, not quite as much," Reich said. "Still working with Campy on that. Wanted to see those young guys – Zavala and Nash – kind of get them through this week and make sure they didn't have any setbacks. I'll sit down with Campy at some point today and finalize what that'll be."

Reich said they'd look to solidify that starting line before the last preseason game against the Lions.

Another dose of Bryce Young – and the backups

Reich said to expect Bryce Young's workload against the Giants to be "similar" to how it was against the Jets – two or three series – as they continue to see what their rookie quarterback can do with his new weapons.

He didn't do much against the Jets, completing 4 of his 6 passes for 21 yards, and the Panthers didn't cross the 50-yard line with him. Reich said they need to see more from the entire offense, and that will run through Young while he's out there.

"(We) want to have some success out there, want to move the ball, make first downs, score some points, just play more consistently as an offensive unit," Reich said. "As an offensive unit, this isn't just Bryce, but obviously be better on third down, get our run game going a little bit. Just overall on offense, we just need to have a better outing."

Matt Corral played all but Young's three series in the preseason opener, and he'll expect to get another good look against the Giants, but fellow backup Jake Luton also threw more passes throughout this week's practice schedule than he had throughout training camp.

Dynamic Giants defense

Just one week removed from the Jets' staunch defensive line, the Panthers will see a new kind of pressure coming from the "unique" challenges posed by Jets defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale.

Martindale likes his defenses to blitz, bringing plenty of pressure to the quarterback, and it's a challenge the rookie Young said he'd welcome.

"You're going to get different coordinators with different mindsets, different philosophies, different schemes," Young said. "This being a scheme that brings a lot; there's a lot of pressures, a lot of blitz, a lot of different looks, I think it's a great opportunity for us to go out and see how we fare.

"We have (been) doing everything we can to account for those, to figure out how we can try to take advantage of it, all this stuff like that. I think for us, we're really looking at it as an opportunity to see a bunch of stuff. There's a lot of exotic stuff."

Young stayed cool in chaotic pockets during the preseason opener, maintaining that level of poise coaches and teammates touted throughout the offseason and training camp at Wofford. He'll be tasked to keep it up at MetLife Stadium.

Chuba Hubbard

Seeking out the complementary back to Miles Sanders

The starters weren't expected to carry a heavy workload in a preseason game anyway, but many haven't been practicing either while they work through injuries.

Miles Sanders' groin injury, sustained late in training camp, has paved the way for Chuba Hubbard to take a chunk of reps with the first team. And the Panthers are likely to see more from Raheem Blackshear and Spencer Brown while in New York too.

Reich said Sanders could be held out throughout the rest of the preseason, which includes the last game against the Lions.

"They've all had really good moments," Reich said of the running back room. "(They've) got a good opportunity Friday night, then next week against the Lions, just to see if anyone kind of steps out in the front. But I think they've all looked good.

"Obviously, Spencer ran the ball well last week. Chuba has really been consistent. Raheem continues to do his thing, and he has the added value of the special team stuff that he does as a returner. It's an interesting battle to kind of see who are the complementary guys for Miles. We're going to do it by committee. But those guys have looked good. Really happy with that room."

Terrace Marshall Jr.

Wide receiver out, other injuries

The Panthers will also be without third-year wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. as he works through a back injury, which offers more opportunities for players like Laviska Shenault Jr., Shi Smith, and recent free agent pickup Javon Wims, who was targeted multiple times by Corral against the Jets.

Backup quarterback Andy Dalton, a seasoned veteran who hadn't been anticipated to play much in the preseason regardless, won't play Friday while he works recovers from a minor back injury, Reich said.

View photos from Panthers practice Tuesday in Charlotte.

Related Content