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New York Giants: Three Things to Watch for in Training Camp

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COMMENTARY | There are bound to be numerous storylines emerging from the New York Giants' training camp this summer, such as the return of receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to the practice field; the comeback attempt of cornerback Terrell Thomas from a third ACL surgery; the injuries to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back) and fullback Henry Hynoski; the revamped running game; and the attempted revival of the defensive pass rush.

While all of those storylines are bound to draw their fair share of attention, here's a look at three others that are likely to get just as much attention:

The Linebackers. The Giants have many players at this position, and perhaps even more questions as to how those players will fit into the a depth chart that has all three starting jobs up for grabs.

Based on how the spring OTAs and minicamp ended, the incumbent starters are expected to be Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams on the outside, and Mark Herzlich in the middle. However, Williams and Rivers have been injury-prone, and the Giants added several potential middle linebacker candidates including Dan Connor, Kyle Bosworth and Aaron Curry to the mix.

Based on what he saw during the spring, head coach Tom Coughlin appears optimistic that things will work out.

"(The linebackers) actually had a good spring," he said at the conclusion of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp last month. "I have seen some growth, and I have seen a lot of good things happen out here."

The million-dollar question is if there quality in those numbers once the pads go on. In order to do that, look for the coaches to do a lot of mixing and matching of the personnel to find the right combinations.

The Offensive Line. It all starts in the trenches, and on the offensive side of the ball, the Giants have some questions up front.

It remains to be seen how much, if any, work right guard Chris Snee (hip) and center David Baas (multiple surgeries) are able to do throughout the summer. Earlier in the spring, Coughlin said that he thought both would be ready to go.

"That's what I'm told, that they will be ready to go," he said. "I'm sure there will be some limitations."

The question, though, is to what degree the limitations will affect what Snee and Baas. If neither is able to participate much in team drills, that could force an unplanned reshuffling of the offensive line.

For example, if Baas isn't ready to work in the team part of practice, the thinking is that Kevin Boothe will slide over to center with the first team, with rookie Justin Pugh and second-year man Brandon Mosley likely alternating snaps at left guard.

If that scenario plays out, that could have a direct effect on what happens at right tackle, as Pugh was penciled in to compete with incumbent David Diehl and James Brewer for the starting job.

Speaking of Diehl, if the Giants do have to stick with him as the starting right tackle, it doesn't sound as though they are overly concerned.

"I think it is going to be very difficult for someone to unseat him," said offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride last month.

"I feel good about watching (David) Diehl come back and practice well," Coughlin added. "But let's see what happens when we get back and get the pads on."

The Backup Quarterback. The Giants not only spent a fourth round pick on a quarterback -- the highest pick they've spend on the position since 2004 when they took Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick in the draft -- they also traded up to land Syracuse's Ryan Nassib.

Nassib's presence on the roster potentially complicates things as far as the roster numbers go. Not since 2007 have the Giants carried three quarterbacks on their regular season roster for an entire season, so it will be curious to see if the team breaks with that tradition.

The problem, though, is that despite having a solid spring, Nassib is a rookie. While he looked more polished than past quarterback prospects in the spring camps, it's quite a different ballgame when facing live competition, and it takes time for things to truly slow down, especially if the rookie isn't getting the bulk of the practice reps.

It's unlikely that New York risks exposing Nassib to the practice squad, where he could be signed by another team.

While they hope to never have to worry about starter Manning coming off the field for any snaps that count, if that should happen, chances are they're going to want a sub who's been there, done that.

So how might this scenario play out? Assuming Nassib and David Carr, the incumbent backup to Manning, make it through camp, my guess is the team will find a way to keep all three on the roster, and might sacrifice numbers at another position, depending on the overall health at each unit once camp ends.

Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who covers the New York Giants for Inside Football. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina for all the latest Giants news and notes, including daily updates from training camp.

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