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Pro Football Focus Mid-Season Review: Offense

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Through eight games, let's take a look at Pro Football Focus' review of the Giants' offense.

Jeff Zelevansky

Here we are, about to jump into our ninth game of the season with a record of 3-5. It's been a tough few weeks, and the PFF reviews have been tough on the New York Giants. I thought it'd be a little bit of fun to take a step back and look at the cumulative grades for the season so far at the mid-way point.

It's pretty funny that we may have gripes with PFF over individual games, but when the sample size increases, it's pretty cool to see our expectations for grades and performances to be more in line. I think PFF has done a great job with these and I agree with most all of them. I'm going tackle these grades as position groups, because I think it might make it easier to for us to really analyze what it all means.

Writer's Note: As PFF is a subscription-based service, we cannot give out all their grades. They've got to make a living after all, so while unfortunate for us, we will respect that.

Quarterback

Eli Manning (+1.5) is chugging along at a decent enough pace. A grade of +1.5 makes sense, putting Manning right in 16th place among the league's other QBs. His stats show that he's playing much better but he's had his fair share of misses, overthrows, and unnecessary sacks that have contributed to his grade. He's been inordinately inconsistent from game to game, scoring a -4.4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by a +3.2 against the Dallas Cowboys, and then a -2.7 versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Running Back

It should be no surprise that Andre Williams (-2.8) has a bad grade. Out of 61 qualifying running backs, he is ranked 41st. He has repeatedly struggled to make people miss, is slow in his initial acceleration into the hole, and sometimes looks like he just puts his head down and doesn't actually look for an opening to clear up. The coaches said he needs more patience, and I agree. The Giants badly need Rashad Jennings (+1.0) back, as he has become a proven commodity in terms of pass protection, as an outlet receiver, and as a seasoned runner that has the patience to let his offensive line set up his blocks. Meanwhile, Peyton Hillis (-2.5) has not provided much security either, as he's been a plodder as well. Running back should be a priority once again when the season ends.

Wide Receiver

Again, no surprises here. Pro Football Focus agrees heartily with Big Blue View in that Odell Beckham Jr. (+3.8) is a rising star. He is tied for 13th in the league rankings (with Calvin Johnson) despite missing the first four games of the season. Among rookies, he is behind only fellow first round pick Mike Evans and fellow LSU teammate Jarvis Landry, though it should be noted he has been targeted 13 times less than Landry and a solid 24 times less than Evans. I compared Beckham to Antonio Brown (who incidentally is the No. 1 rated WR by PFF) and if you take volume stats out, he compares exactly to him. Brown has caught 71% of his targets, Beckham 69.2%. Brown is averaging 14.0 yards per reception, Beckham is 14.6. Brown averages 5.3 yards after catch per reception, Beckham is at 5.2. Eerily similar.

The other guy that is doing quite well is kind of a shock, but not really. Corey Washington (+1.6) has only played 36 snaps this season, but it's clear he's made them count. He needs to play more. The other guys, Rueben Randle and Preston Parker have been unimpressive, garnering slightly negative grades, which correlates to very slightly below average play. Again, no disagreement here.

Tight End

The main guy here is Larry Donnell (+2.3), who in my opinion has been an absolute sensation in the pass game. He's victimized himself with some really bone-headed plays such as not one, not two, but three fumbles on the year so far. He's also been a mediocre run blocker. Those two reasons are the only reasons why he's not higher up on the tight end rankings (he's 13th right now). To his credit, he's ranked higher than guys like Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, all players that we could have targeted in the draft. It's because of the little things. He's the only tight end to not have a "drop" (I suppose PFF didn't see that one Colts game pass as a very catchable ball), and he's pass blocked 30 times and hasn't allowed a single pressure, best in the league. Add to that a projected year end line of 76-714-10, and you can see why. The other guys (Daniel Fells, Adrien Robinson) haven't played all that much. Fells' good pass catching grade is essentially wiped out by his poor run blocking grade.

Offensive Tackle

The star of the group here is obviously Will Beatty (+6.1), but even he would tell you that he's had an inconsistent season. Through the first five weeks, he was the best tackle in football, but has since had three straight games with negative grades, so he's trending downwards. He ranks a "meh" 23rd in pass blocking efficiency among 56 qualifying individuals, so there's definitely room for improvement. Justin Pugh (-2.4) has followed a similar trajectory, though his grades early in the season haven't been nearly as spectacular, which shows the difference in grade. Another reason, really not according to actual play on the field, is Pugh's atrocious -3.7 penalty grade, as he's been called for seven penalties. Eliminate those, and his score puts him among the top 10 right tackles. According to PFF right now however, he's the 16th best right tackle, which puts him right in the "average" category, while Beatty has maintained his top 10 LT status, though just by the skin of his teeth, as he's ranked 10th.

Offensive Guard

This is where it gets ugly. Weston Richburg (-7.1) has a funny grade. He either does spectacularly well, grading at +2.0 or above, or does spectacularly poorly. He's had only one game that has been between -1.0 and +1.0. He's 23rd among left guards and that isn't all that surprising. John Jerry (-5.1) hasn't been all that much better, as he's followed his usual positive pass block grade with ridiculously bad run block grade. Giants are desperate for Geoff Schwartz to get back.

Center

I guess that interior OL rebuild isn't exactly going as planned. J.D Walton (-6.5) hasn't been a good pass blocker or run blocker, but that's hardly surprising. He's the 30th ranked C in the league among 40 qualifiers. I think it's clear that Weston Richburg should be the starting center next year with Schwartz manning the right side and an upgrade (via draft/free agency) at left guard is needed.

Overall

It's a little surprising, but the Giants are the 12th ranked team overall in terms of offense. Their pass blocking is essentially what saves them, as the offensive line is ranked 8th in the league in pass blocking efficiency overall. They have allowed 54 combined sacks, hits, and hurries which is fifth best in the NFL. Hard to believe, but watching some of these other OLs trying to protect their QBs, and it's a bit more believable.

Stay tuned for the mid-season review of the defense!