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Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. unlikely to play in Giants' preseason opener

Geno Smith, who is fighting for the backup job and who hasn't played in a game since October, is looking forward to Friday's preseason opener. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo intends to treat Friday's preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers much like the way he did last year's first game of the preseason.

That likely means no Eli Manning or Odell Beckham Jr. It means the starting offensive line and defense should play most of the first quarter depending on the number of snaps.

"There is a plan," McAdoo said of Friday night. "We are going to treat it very similarly to the way we treated [the first preseason game] last year."

Manning and Beckham did not play in last year's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins, when McAdoo protected his two most important players in his first game as a head coach.

Even without their biggest stars, the Giants' first-team offense, with the now-gone Ryan Nassib behind center, ran down the field for a touchdown. The drive featured a false start by left tackle Ereck Flowers but was capped by a Rashad Jennings 3-yard touchdown.

McAdoo wouldn't say specifically who would start at quarterback Friday against the Steelers, or who wouldn't play. It's entirely possible that a few key defensive players (Damon Harrison and Jason Pierre-Paul) could be held out of action as well.

Players who didn't practice Wednesday or were limited are unlikely to play. That includes wide receivers Tavarres King (ankle), Sterling Shepard (ankle) and Kevin Snead (lower body), linebackers Mark Herzlich (stinger) and J.T. Thomas (knee), running back Shaun Draughn (ankle), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (soreness), cornerback Mykkele Thompson (quad) and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body).

Without Manning, either Josh Johnson or Geno Smith would receive an opportunity to play with the rest of the first-team offense. Johnson was listed as No. 2 on the unofficial depth chart for the contest but has been alternating daily with Smith between the second and third team.

Rookie quarterback Davis Webb should also see action on Friday night despite taking very few snaps during live team drills at training camp.

"I feel ready to go, studied my butt off, gotten every rep this entire camp. I might not be in there, but mentally I've been pretty into every single rep," Webb said. "So, I haven't missed one. I feel good about it, and just looking forward to playing again. It's been a while."

Smith, 26, hasn't played since tearing his ACL last October while playing for the New York Jets. He's battling Johnson for the backup job behind Manning. Webb is expected to be the No. 3 quarterback this season, barring anything unexpected this preseason.

Smith feels ready to get back out there, whether it's as the starter or with the second-string offense.

"It's going to be fun. I'm excited," he said. "Looking forward to it, you know, being my first game since last October. So, it'll be fun. We're going to go out there and cut it loose, you know, play like I know how and just give it everything I got."