Starters get day off as Giants drop second preseason game to Browns

Devontae Booker Giants Browns
Aug 22, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Giants running back Devontae Booker (28) dives over the line of scrimmage for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.
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The name of the game was depth for the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, as they opted to go with their “B” and “C” team for the entirety of their second preseason game of the summer — a 17-13 loss to the Browns.

Head coach Joe Judge opted to give his starters, ranging from quarterback Daniel Jones to cornerback James Bradberry, the day off after a promising week of joint practices with the Browns.

It allowed Judge and his coaching staff to get a better look at the players who will be supplying depth — an underrated yet vital aspect for any team hoping to contend in the NFL.

One of the largest competitions to watch comes in the backfield as the backup spot behind Saquon Barkley is up for grabs after the team cut veteran rusher Alfred Morris last week.

Devontae Booker impressed with his chances, posting 27 yards on six rushes (4.5 yards per cayy) with a one-yard touchdown. He also reeled in a pair of receptions for 13 yards.

He was one of 11 different Giants that had at least one catch, however, none of the usual suspects like Sterling Shepard or Evan Engram, or any hopeful debuts from Kenny Golladay or Kadarius Toney, were seen.

Booker’s score capped off a methodical 11-play drive in the first quarter that took up 6:47, led by reserve quarterback Mike Glennon, who was plenty efficient on Sunday by completing 10-of-13 passes for 86 yards.

Behind Booker, former Philadelphia Eagle Corey Clement saw more action during the second half, posting 30 yards on nine carries.

Cleveland’s Case Keenum drove the Browns to an opening-drive touchdown after a Giants punt. While he passed for 74 yards with an interception in the back of the end zone to Quincy Wilson, former Giants draft pick and backup Kyle Lauletta passed for 152 yards, mostly in the second half.

He led a 56-yard drive early in the third quarter to put the Browns up 14-7. The Giants drew within a point with 7:11 left in the fourth when David Sills reeled in a contested eight-yard touchdown from Brian Lewerke, yet they could not convert the ensuing two-point conversion.

Getting extended time to watch lower-projected players on the depth chart is especially vital after the NFL expanded roster cut from two rounds to three. In the league’s new CBA, those three rounds of cuts force teams to reduce its roster size from 90 to 85 after the first preseason game, 85 to 80 after the second, and then a drastic 85 to 53 after the third.