That will be determined this weekend, as the Giants on Saturday make their final cuts to get down to the 53-player limit. If Moss makes the cut, it will probably be because of what he did in the preseason finale, a 38-27 loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
"It felt great to get out there and have the opportunity to step up and make some plays,'' Moss said. "I felt like I did my best.''
Was his best enough?
In what could be viewed as a showcase for other teams, Moss was called on early and often – unlike last Saturday night against the Jets, when he was hardly called on at all. Moss, hanging like a thread to a roster spot, delivered in a big way with two touchdown receptions.
He ran past rookie safety Pat Chung for a ridiculously easy 23-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Manning. Three minutes later, now with David Carr at the controls, Moss – operating out of the slot – abused Chung again, sprinting past him to haul in a 12-yard scoring pass.
"He played real good, made some nice plays,'' Tom Coughlin said.
It was either the bolt of lighting that saved Moss' job – not likely – or else some excellent footage for a future employer to see, or perhaps even some highlights the Giants can use to entice a team to trade a draft pick for Moss. For the first time in his four-year career, Moss following his cameo appearance against the Jets expressed frustration and said he wanted answers from the coaching staff on why he wasn't used.
"I really wish I did prove that when my number's called I'm able to go out there and am able to make plays,'' Moss said. "I feel like opportunity favors the prepared and I came into this game very prepared.''
Asked what he's thinking about the final cuts – the roster get trimmed to 53 tomorrow=2 0– Moss said "I feel like I've been on the bubble since I've been here, honestly.''
For the Giants, it was mission accomplished as far as getting their front-line players ready for the regular season. After accomplishing exactly what he wanted in his very brief appearance, Eli Manning declared the preseason over and done with and pointed toward the real season.
"I think we're ready,'' Manning said. "Guys are healthy for the most part, confident in what we're doing and not making mistakes.''
With their starters in the game, the Giants surged to a quick 21-0 lead in less than 10 minutes, which would have been more impressive if the Patriots had any of their real players on the field.
At times the early action bordered on silly. The Giants breezed to touchdowns on their first three possessions. Manning (3 for 3, 76 yards) got the tune-up he desired and quickly took a seat.
Carr (6 for 6, 153 yards, 2 TDs) entered and the ball never hit the ground. He hit Domenik Hixon for 38 yards, Moss for the 12-yard touchdown and capped his night by firing to the left side to rookie Hakeem Nicks, who leaped at the New England 35-yard line to haul the ball in over rookie safety Jamar Love. Love fell, Nicks didn’t and raced the rest of the way for a 64-yard scoring play.
Manning and Carr were a combined 9 for 9 for 229 yards and three touchdowns against Patriots Lite.
As usual, Bill Belichick treated the fourth preseason game with experimental distain. He put one starter on the field on defense (linebacker Pierre Woods) and one out on offense (tight end Ben Watson). Tom Brady actually was in uniform but there's no way he needed laundry services, unless he worked up a sweat just seeing those red, white and gray Giants uniforms and had flashbacks to Super Bowl XLII.
On defense, the Giants were coming off a dreadful showing against the Jets but the starters made quick work of the Pats scrubs. Sacks by Terrell Thomas and Justin Tuck allowed the Giants starters to get what they wanted on six plays and then get off the field.
The reserve defensive players were awful, turni ng rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer into a terror as the Pats out-scored the Giants 24-3 in the second half.
The first quarter, though, mattered more. "A lot of good things happened,'' Coughlin said.