The battle to replace Johnathan Hankins at defensive right tackle for the New York Giants has come down to Jay Bromley and Dalvin Tomlinson.
Both have split the work with the first team in recent weeks in training camp and they both looked good in the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night.
Having Tomlinson compete for the job is not a surprise. The former Alabama product was the Giants' second-round draft pick and it was expected he would get a shot to play next to left tackle Damon Harrison after Hankins signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent.
Bromley has been a surprise at camp. A third-round pick out of Syracuse in 2014, he has not showed much in his first three seasons. Some wondered whether he would make the team with Robert Thomas and veteran Corbin Bryant and rookie free agent Josh Banks in the mix.
Instead, he has made plays since camp started and he opened more eyes Friday by combining with safety Landon Collins to stop Fitzgerald Toussaint for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-1 run from Steelers 28 on Pittsburgh's second possession.
"I just want to go out there and make the plays that I know I can make," Bromley said after the game. "I know I can make those plays and I want to consistently make those plays. That's the only goal that I have, to make the plays that I know I can make."
Bromley said he hasn't come to camp with a new approach. He feels that everything that he has learned in his first three seasons is finally starting to sink in. He is not worried about mistakes and the result is that he is playing faster.
That style has afforded him the chance to win the starting job.
"I believe I have what it takes to be the starting defensive tackle and that's my goal," said Bromley, who finished with three tackles in the game, one less than Tomlinson, who probably had more playing time.
Tomlinson said it was exciting to play in his first NFL game, noting the game was a little faster than college. He said the biggest change in becoming a professional is the increase in meetings and watching videotape on your own. He said he watched a lot of film in college, but now the film goes home with him.
"My focus is just getting better each day," Tomlinson said Sunday after practice. "If it happens, it happens. Right now, I am just trying to get better every day."
Veteran guard John Jerry has faced both players in practice. He said Bromley has improved and Tomlinson is strong and will be hard to move.
"I just think (he's) more experience," Jerry said of Bromley on Sunday. "When guys are experienced, you know more and you can react. It's not like trying to figure things out on your own."
Coach Ben McAdoo also likes what he saw from Bromley, who did not speak to reporters Sunday.
"I think Jay's improving," McAdoo said. "He's playing with some hostility out there, he's playing aggressive, playing physical football."
Tomlinson plays the same way, but he is behind Bromley in understanding coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense.
Either way, both players will see plenty of action this season because the Giants rotate their defensive line in games.
NOTES: WR Kevin Norwood left practice with a hip injury. ... McAdoo said LB J.T. Thomas and RB Shaun Draughn are close to coming off the physically unable to perform list. ... QB Eli Manning did not play in the preseason opener and McAdoo said that he looked rusty in practice Sunday. "I don't know if that needs to be a headline, but I'm sure most of you may use it. It's an easy one," McAdoo said. "We need to get him back and get him some work. I know he's excited to get back to work. ... Veteran RB Orleans Darkwa had three rushes for 18 yards on Friday. He said no one in the running backs group is conceding the starting job to Paul Perkins. "If you don't have the mentality that you want to be the guy, then what are you doing?" ... PK Mike Nugent missed 2 of 4 short field goal attempts Sunday. He is competing with rookie Aldrick Rosas for a job.