How good is the supporting cast around Eli Manning? Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, writing for ESPN, says the New York Giants have the seventh-best offensive supporting cast for their quarterback in the NFL.
Are you buying that? I know I'm not. Especially not with the Giants missing so many pieces they thought would be in place.
Monson says Pro Football Focus determined this ranking by looking at each teams "receiving targets, the running game on which they have been able to lean and the offensive line they have had paving the way in front of them."
Of the Giants, Monson writes:
The Giants are another team to find themselves relatively high on the list thanks to a huge step forward from their offensive line. Only rookie center Weston Richburg has struggled, and the unit will only improve when guard Geoff Schwartz returns from injury. Losing Victor Cruz will hurt going forward, but Odell Beckham Jr. has had an immediate impact after his delayed start to the campaign. Tight end Larry Donnell has been a huge piece of the puzzle after bursting onto the scene from seemingly nowhere; he has yet to drop a pass.
There is some truth in there, but overall I really have to wonder what Monson and PFF have been looking at. It is hardly correct to say that Richburg is the only offensive lineman who has struggled. Besides which, we know he is playing guard and not center. John Jerry (-4.3 overall PFF grade) is an excellent pass blocker (+2.9) but atrocious run blocker (-6.1). Justin Pugh had that four-sack nightmare against the Eagles and really hasn't been good the past two games. The jury is still out on J.D. Walton as a solution at center.
By PFF's grading system, the Giants (-4.9 on the season) are the league's 11th-ranked offense. Football Outsiders ranks the Giants' offense 19th in overall efficiency. Traditional yardage stats show the Giants 22nd overall on offense.
Seventh-best supporting cast for a quarterback?
Not without both Victor Cruz and Jerrel Jernigan as receiving options. Not without Rashad Jennings. Even with Jennings the Giants still lack a home run threat at running back. Not without at least one more stud on the offensive line, something it says here the Giants will still need even after Geoff Schwartz returns from injury.
The Giants' offense, I believe, is headed in the right direction. But to call the supporting cast for Manning the seventh-best offensive personnel in the NFL is overstating what the Giants have. By a lot.
Monson and PFF rank the Chicago Bears, with receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and Martellus Bennet, and running back Matt Forte, No. 8. The Detroit Lions (Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Golden Tate and more) are No. 15. The Philadelphia Eagles are No. 26.
There are other head-scratchers in these rankings, as well. Point is, though, that I don't know how anyone can look at the personnel the Giants have offensively and say that only six teams in the league surround their quarterbacks with a better supporting cast.