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Mid-term grades: Looking at the offense

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It's a bye week. It's the halfway point of the season. Most of the New York Giants players have scattered around the country for a few days, so there isn't much going on.

Seems like the perfect opportunity to assess exactly where the 6-2 Giants are. So, let's do just that by handing out some mid-term grades. Today, let's look specifically at the offense.

Quarterback: Eli Manning continues to be a mystery. He has, at times, played some of the best football of his four-year career. He has also accepted the mantel of leadership. Yet, at times, he has also looked like the Eli that makes us all shake our heads. As good as he can be he still makes ill-advised throws. He is the league's 28th-rated QB, and as much as I believe in him the ranking speaks to the inconsistency. Grade: B

Running backs: The big question entering the season, of course, was could the Giants replace Tiki Barber's production? The answer has been a resounding yes. Brandon Jacobs has 450 yards and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, Derrick Ward has 448 with a 4.4 yards per carry average and Reuben Droughns has 155 and a 4.1 yards per carry average. Grade: A

Receivers: Plaxico Burress (37 catches, 8 TDs) is playing the best football of his Giants career despite not practicing due to a bad ankle. Jeremy Shockey (31 catches) and Amani Toomer (30 catches) have been solid. Derrick Ward (24 catches) has taken some of the catches Barber used to make. The only fault I can find here is that a reliable third receiver still hasn't stepped up. Sinorice Moss plays, but can't make any plays. Steve Smith, in the fine tradition of young Giants wideouts, has been hurt and unable to get on the field. Grade: B+

Offensive Line: This unit has been the strength of the offense. Eli Manning generally has plenty of time to throw, and there are consistently holes for the troika of Giants running backs to get through. David Diehl has not only proven he can handle left tackle, right now he might be playing it better than Luke Petitgout ever did. The rest of the line has also been solid. Even fullback Madison Hedgecock and tight end/fullback Michael Matthews deserve praise. Grade: A

NOTE: We will look at the defense in our next installment.