Preseason Opener Set

Dates and times for the Giants remaining three preseason games - at home against Carolina and the Jets, and the finale at Baltimore - have not been announced.

The National Football League announced today that the Giants preseason opener against the Patriots in New England will be played on Thursday night, Aug. 7, and will be televised nationally by ESPN at 8 p.m.

"Playing New England on national television is a good way to begin and a good way to find out a little bit about us," Head Coach Jim Fassel said. "I think New England is still an outstanding football team - they won the Super Bowl (at the conclusion of the 2001 season)."

Dates and times for the Giants remaining three preseason games - at home against Carolina and the Jets, and the finale at Baltimore - have not been announced. The Giants will face three of their preseason opponents - the Patriots, Panthers and Jets - in the regular season.

"I haven't decided everything, but sometimes you approach those games a little bit differently," Fassel said. "It will depend on how soon we play them in the regular season. If we play them at the tail end, it won't matter at all. But in general, I think the importance of playing teams in the preseason that you will play again in the regular season is overblown."

Regardless of when the Giants face those teams in the regular season, Fassel said his approach to the preseason games will remain the same.

"I've always played the preseason games the same way and it probably won't change too much," Fassel said. "The preseason is about developing players, seeing guys play and winning. I want to see development and progress in our young veterans, and I want to evaluate our new players at this level of competition."

The Giants players are currently scheduled to report to training camp at the University at Albany on Friday, July 25. NFL rules say they can report 15 days prior to the first preseason game, which would be Wednesday the 23rd. But Fassel said he might not change the reporting date.

"I'm weighing that right now, but I don't think I'm going to change it much," Fassel said. "I'll make a final decision in the next couple of days on the reporting date."

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