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NFC East: Time To Press Panic Button For Giants Offense?
You can go back in this blog and find posts where I’ve written that I thought that Giants were due for a bounce back after a 7-9 season in 2013.
It’s still early, but I’m starting to get worried I’ll need to eat my words.
The Giants were as busy as any team in the league in free agency this year. There was plenty of movement among their vaunted defense, but it was their leaky offensive line that saw most of the work. On top of that, they signed Rashad Jennings and drafted Odell Beckham Jr. to give Eli Manning more to work with this year.
Through three preseason games, it quite simply isn’t showing up.
As much flak as the Cowboys defense is catching this preseason – and rightfully so – the Giants offense might be equally inept when it comes to underachieving units. In three preseason games with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, Eli Manning has completed 7-of-16 passes for 49 yards. He has yet to throw a touchdown, and he had an interception waived off by a defensive
flag against Pittsburgh.
Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle have one catch for 12 yards between them. Beckham, who was seen as an immediate contributor, has been battling a hamstring problem all through training camp and has yet to play.
The New York offensive line, which the Giants hoped to revamp by signing Geoff Schwartz, J.D Walton and Charles Brown, and drafting Weston Richburg, hasn’t looked so impressive so far. Manning has been sacked in all three of his preseason appearances, despite playing just a handful of possessions.
The running game has also struggled. Jennings has carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards so far this preseason for an impressive average of 6.5 yards per carry -- but there’s an outlier there. Jennings ripped off a 73-yard touchdown run in the win against Pittsburgh, and aside from that carry, he’s averaging 2.8 yards on the other 18 carries this preseason.
Saturday night against Indianapolis, he carried the ball seven times for 17 yards with a long of eight. As a team, the Giants ran the ball 29 times for 83 yards – an average of just 2.9 yards per carry.
Obviously, it’s early still, but the early returns aren’t encouraging if the Giants are going to return to their typical, competitive form under Tom Coughlin. Because they played in the Hall of Fame Game to open the preseason, they still have two games to work out the problems.
The Giants play the Jets on Friday in their fourth game. Despite the fact that the preseason finale is typically reserved for backups, Coughlin told New York reporters he won’t be averse to playing his starters the following week against New England if they don’t improve.
"They'd better. Because it's not written in stone about what you do in that last preseason game," he said.