The New York Giants first-team offense has, undeniably, sputtered in the team's first two preseason games. Saturday night, that group gets a great test of where it stands heading into the 2015 regular season when the Giants host the New York Jets in the third -- and usually most important -- preseason game.
"The timing of the passing game is not there yet, and it's got to happen," Coughlin said. "We'll be tested this week, the Jets have an outstanding pressure package -- they also have an outstanding front, a big front, so we are going to be tested with regards to that, too.
"That brings up the idea of some kind of consistency with your run game. We have got to have that. We had it at times the other night; we need it more often but we are going up against a very good front, so those would be the ways, you mentioned offense, where we would be looking to see us make progress."
The Giants have been outscored in the first quarter, 16-3. That, roughly, is when starters have been matched against each other. Quarterback Eli Manning is only 8-of-22 (36.4) for 68 yards and no touchdowns in two preseason games. Odell Beckham does not have a catch yet, despite being targeted seven times.
"You want to go out there and play well, and the fact that it's both New York teams and sharing the stadium, it's always important," Manning said. "I think we made some improvements last week but still have a ways to go, so hopefully we'll be able to get into a rhythm and get in synch and hit the open guys, move the ball, and get some points on the board."
Three things to look for from the offense Saturday night.
Get the ball to Beckham
It is the preseason and first and foremost you would like to see both Beckham and Manning get to Week 1 vs. the Dallas Cowboys healthy. Secondly, though, it would be nice to see Manning and Beckham connect a couple of times against the Jets. Especially with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie on the other other side.
"I think it'll be a great opportunity for us. To be able to go into our third preseason game and kind of just take that next step in the right direction as far as moving the offense along," Beckham said. "Going against one of the best corners in the league, and Cromartie who's another really good corner, just looking forward to that opportunity."
Beckham appears unconcerned about not connecting with Manning yet this preseason.
"Obviously you get on the field, and if the ball is thrown your way, you want to catch it, but I think I had zero catches in the preseason last year," Beckham said. "I think Eli and I kind of have an understanding of where each other are but you always want to work your material, work what you practice, and bring it over into the game as far as for confidence of the others around you. I feel as if we'll be alright whether we get a pass going or not. Like I said, I'm just looking forward to be able to go against some very good competition."
Victor Cruz won't play. If Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) plays, it will likely be in limited fashion.
Huge test for the offensive line
One positive thing thus far is that the offensive line, even with the right side still unsettled, has performed admirably. Manning has had time to throw, and while the run-blocking hasn't been consistent the Giants have generated some quality running plays.
The Jets, with a talented and blitz-happy front seven, provide a different challenge.
"They like to bring pressure. They do a good job of mixing up their coverages -- showing pressure and backing out or disguising coverage and bringing some blitzes. So we'll have to be on our game, from my standpoint, from the offensive line, running backs, receivers, everybody understanding what their responsibilities are," Manning said. "It's a good scheme that their coaches brought in from Arizona, and they have good players, good corners, and so it'll be a good test for us. Looking forward to it."
The Giants are still trying to decide what the right side of their line will look like, although at least temporarily the injury suffered Wednesday by Marshall Newhouse may limit their options. The situation may be further complicated if center Weston Richburg (left knee) does not play. Richburg did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday.
How about one good drive?
The Giants got one first down in four series with Manning at the helm against the Cincinnati Bengals. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the best the starters did was a 10-play, 38-yard drive. It sure would be nice to see one substantial drive that resulted in a touchdown. Just one. Just enough so we know this offense remembers how to get there.
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