Six months ago, the biggest story-line for the New York Giants was the 'retirement' of long time offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, and the hiring of first time offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
With that move the Giants committed to a completely new offensive philosophy.
It wasn't a move the Giants made lightly. They hired McAdoo to revitalize an admittedly stagnant and broken offense, and to help Eli Manning consistently be the quarterback he has repeatedly -- but inconsistently -- shown he could be.
How then, has McAdoo performed through his first seven games as offensive coordinator?
All off-season fans and observers wondered what the new Giants' offense was going to look like. As they were building the offense, McAdoo reiterated that it wasn't "his" offense, that he was building it with input from a variety of sources, such as Tom Coughlin, position coaches, and players -- most notably Manning. However, many expected McAdoo to essentially "port" (to use some gaming jargon) Green Bay's offense to the New York Giants.
Everyone finally got their chance to see the Giants' new offense in action in the pre-season ... And the results were underwhelming to say the least. The offense looked disjointed and confused. Perhaps that shouldn't have been surprising as a completely rebuilt offensive line learned how to play together, and the skill-position players learning a whole new language.
There weren't many reasons to be optimistic, particularly as first round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr. could never manage to get on the field.
At the start of the regular season the Giants' offense didn't look like it had progressed past the problems that plagued the offense all pre-season. There were mis-communications and breakdowns along the offensive line.
Then the offense started turning around. Following the loss to Detroit, McAdoo made comments about paring the offensive playbook down to what they could execute crisply, and what fit the available talent the best. The results were immediate, as they went on a three-game winning streak, with double-digit wins over Houston, Washington, and Atlanta.
Between the Atlanta and Philadelphia games, the McAdoo once again had to find a new chemistry as the Giants finally got Odell Beckham back from injury, but lost Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz.
Following the Philadelphia game, McAdoo and the rest of the offensive coaching staff started working on moving on from the loss of Victor Cruz, and integrating Odell Beckham into the offense. They tried to rely on the rushing attack, but a cascade of struggles along the offensive line silenced the ground game.
Has McAdoo been successful so far? That's difficult to say. The overall offensive stats -- 22nd in points, 24th in yards, 23rd in passing, and 15th in rushing -- are unimpressive to say the least. However those stats include an opening pair of games where the offense was still finding its way.
McAdoo was hired to bring out the best in Manning and re-energize a stagnant offense.
The first part of that assignment has been a resounding success. Manning is playing some of the best football of his career. He is at a career-high in completion percentage and passer rating, and has thrown 11 touchdowns to a single interception in the last five weeks.
He has had his work cut out for him with the second part of that assignment. Installing a brand new offense can be difficult enough. Geoff Schwartz mentioned that it took a full 10 weeks for Andy Reid's offense to fully "click" in Kansas City. McAdoo has also had to deal with a constantly changing team dynamic due to injury.
The offense has been playing efficiently, and with a pace it has lacked in the past, but it has also been inconsistent. They have moved the ball well at times, and scored when they get in position, but they have also struggled with bone-headed penalties and mental errors. And as efficiently as they have played, they have also struggled to consistently get "chunk" plays. Part of that is on the high-percentage play calling that has the offense operating efficiently. But a big part of that is also the personnel. Injuries and inexperience along the offensive line and receiving corps have left the offense with few reliable deep threats, or the time for Eli to safely make the throws.
The weeks following the Giants' bye could be the test of the season for McAdoo. They will have to work Geoff Schwartz and Rashad Jennings back into the offense, all while playing through the toughest stretch of their schedule.