5 stories to follow before heading to giants vs. cowboys
The Giants released their unofficial depth chart for Week 1 on Tuesday, and several starters found themselves listed among the starters.
Although many expected first-round draft pick Deonte Banks to grab one of the starting quarterback spots, the same couldn’t be said for sixth-round draft pick Tre Hawkins III. But the Old Dominion rookie has put in solid performances throughout training camp and the preseason, which has resulted in veteran Adoree’ Jackson spending plenty of time in the slot, where he’ll face CeeDee Lamb. That leaves newcomers to cover veterans Brandin Cox and Michael Gallup.
“I think it just shows how they’ve worked through OTAs and camp,” Lawrence said of the rookie cornerbacks. “I noticed it kind of late. They go out there and work honestly. They understand the rules of the game, they know their tasks, they don’t make too many mistakes, they play ball in camp. It’s good to see that.”
A second-round draft pick, John Michael Schmitz, has been given the starting center job after a solid summer. In 50 passes over the first two preseason games, Schmitz succumbed to only one pressure. The rookie position will be assigned to blocking for the Cowboys’ rookie defensive tackle Mazi Smith, the 26th overall pick.
The Giants’ third-round pick, Jalen Hyatt, is likely to see some snaps in the opener. The Cowboys have a strong pass defense, led by Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmour, that should provide a good first test for the rookie. In addition, Eric Gray, a fifth-round draft pick, is listed on the first-team depth chart as a starting linebacker and penalty taker.
The Cowboys offense starts with quarterback Dak Prescott. The 30-year-old started 12 games last season and finished with 2,860 yards, 23 touchdowns and a career-high 15 interceptions. In his 12 games in the series, Prescott had a touchdown to interception ratio of 23 to 7.
“Dak is a productive midfielder, he has a very good skill set, he won a lot of matches, he was very productive, he scored a lot of points. They have a good football team, so we will need a real team.” “A good week here of preparation,” Dabol said.
Dallas has talented playmakers throughout their offense. Running back Tony Pollard is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career. He finished with 1,007 yards on the ground, 371 yards in the air, and 12 total touchdowns. With Ezekiel Elliott now on the Patriots team, Pollard is expected to receive the majority of touches out of the field.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb leads the Dallas players after his stellar campaign last year. Lamb caught 107 passes for 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns, setting career highs in all three categories, and is on his way to being named a Second-Team All-Pro. He’s joined by teammates Branden Cox, a veteran with six 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, and Michael Gallup, while Jake Ferguson sits atop the depth chart at tight end after Dalton Schultz signs with the Texans.
“They have a very good player who plays both indoors and out for CeeDee, but they have some players with other skills who are going to be a challenge – in fact their whole group,” Dabul told the media. “All of their skills from running backs, to receivers, to tight ends. All of our guys have to be ready to do the jobs we ask them to do.”
As for defense, Micah Parsons collected 26.5 sacks over his first two seasons in the NFL, both of which led to him being named an All-Pro. Parsons had two sacks against the Giants last year, while teammate DeMarcus Lawrence recorded three sacks in just one game against the Giants last season.
“I think I said that last year, he’s a dynamic player,” Dabol said of Parsons. “You know, these defensive ends who can speed the pass and get a lot of production in the middle, they’re such talented players, so he’s an explosive, dynamic playmaker. They line him up in a variety of positions, he’s productive, he’s tough to block, he’s a ball player. Really good pitching, and one of the best in the NFL.”