It's the opening of the preseason, so neither the Carolina Panthers nor the New York Giants will be revealing any top secrets when they meet Monday night.
Both teams might be even more cautious and secretive than usual at the Meadowlands because they also meet Dec. 27, the penultimate week of the regular season. Sure, that's eons away, but the less they show to each other now the better; a lot could be at stake in the NFC two days after Christmas.
While such key players as Giants quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Osi Umenyiora, plus Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and Carolina tackle Jordan Gross should get onto the field in the nationally televised game, they will make cameo appearances. The real stuff begins Sept. 13.
The Giants need to sort out their receiving corps, which is minus the regulars who helped them win the 2008 Super Bowl: Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. They drafted Hakeem Nicks in the first round and he figures to get showcased this month.
"I feel like we have as much talent as we have ever had," said David Tyree, remembered for his remarkable helmet catch during the winning drive over the Patriots in that Super Bowl, the one Burress capped with the winning TD reception. "The issue is the inexperience at the position."
Even players who have been in the league for a while, such as Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss and Domenik Hixon, remain somewhat raw. Tight end Kevin Boss is in a similar situation.
"We all have something to prove, so as a group it helps a lot because every time you get the opportunity you are trying to take it to the next level," Moss said. "So whatever chance you get, short pass, deep pass, you are trying to do something with it. It is putting the edge on us to go over the top in whatever you do."
Carolina has some worries on the defensive line, particularly at tackle, where Maake Kemoeatu's season-ending torn Achilles' tendon left a big hole. The injury left the Panthers with Nick Hayden, who has two games of NFL experience, as a starter, backed up by undrafted rookie Marlon Favorite.
Middle linebacker Jon Beason is campaigning for help.
"It's been tough," Beason said. "They're going up against probably the best run offensive line in the league, so it's hard to see what they can do because those guys are so good.
"Last year, Maake was down, Damione (Lewis) got hurt during that Giants game, and you had young guys like Nick Hayden step up and play well at times. We feel good about the young guys, but we definitely need to get a veteran guy in there."
The only other game Monday night is a Florida affair, with Miami hosting Jacksonville.
The first full weekend of the preseason began Thursday with New England beating Philadelphia 27-25. Also, it was Baltimore 23, Washington 0; Pittsburgh 20, Arizona 10; and Oakland 31, Dallas 10.
On Friday, it was St. Louis 23, the New York Jets 20; Minnesota 13, Indianapolis 3; New Orleans 17, Cincinnati 7; and San Francisco 17, Denver 16.
Saturday saw Detroit, which lost all 16 regular-season games last year, edge Atlanta 27-16; Buffalo 27, Chicago 20; Tennessee 27, Tampa Bay 20; Green Bay 17, Cleveland 0; Houston 16, Kansas City 10; and Seattle 20, San Diego 14.
Jaguars at Dolphins
Dolphins backup Chad Henne is expected to see the most action among their three QBs and play in both halves. Henne is the heir apparent to Chad Pennington, but he threw only 12 passes as a rookie last year, and is projected to play a lot in the preseason.
"It's great," Henne said. "It means they have confidence in me to go out there and see what I can do in the preseason, and then get confidence in the season. If they need me, I'll be ready to go."
Rookie QB Pat White is also expected to play, but the Dolphins probably won't show much of the Wildcat, if any. They're being very secretive regarding what they plan with the Wildcat this year.
Ernest Wilford, a bust at WR last year, will get time at his new position, TE. He has drawn positive reviews in practice.
Coach Tony Sparano said winning is important.
"I think it's important if we set the tone," Sparano said. "If we don't, they will. It's a competitive situation we're in, they're keeping score, so we want to win the game, you know? Now at the same time, we're going to make sure we see some players. ... These guys all are accountable for what the result will be, so setting the right tone and tempo, I think, will be important. You know, last year we lost our first preseason game, so that's not the way we want to start things."