As we continue to look at the New York Giant from different perspectives during the bye week, let’s look at two of the most surprising things about this year’s team. One good, the other not so much.
Good ... The health of Victor Cruz
Back in the summer it looked like Cruz, coming back off of knee and calf injuries that cost ham a season-and-a-half, might not even make it to the starting line in 2016. Cruz missed time in the preseason with a groin injury, and looked for a while like he might not even be ready to open the season.
Even when he proved healthy enough to get into preseason action, you had to think Cruz was going to wind up being a week-to-week guy who missed practice time and whose availability would always be in question.
Instead, Cruz has played 379 snaps, the most of any Giants’ WR. He has been off the field for just 12 plays all season.
Cruz isn’t the player he once was. He has 24 receptions for 331 yards (13.8 yards per catch) and one touchdown. He had a game-winning catch Week 1 and a game-altering catch Week 2 in games the Giants don’t win without his contributions. Still, perhaps those games raised expectations beyond what Cruz, at this point in his career, can deliver consistently.
Cruz is on pace for 55 receptions and 756 yards. Both of those would be full-season career lows, but they should be acceptable numbers considering the amount of time he has missed and the devastating leg injuries he has been through.
Bad ... The disappearing offense
I tried to come up with something else for this second. Honest. I really did. We’ve talked about the offense a lot already and I’m not sure what we gain by doing it again. Unfortunately, talk about the single most disappointing thing about the Giants through seven games and the under-performing offense is it. Obviously.
With superior receivers, a left tackle playing better than he did a year ago, a number of good enough running backs and a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks, the Giants are scoring more than a touchdown less than they did a season ago. In discussing the over-reliance on “11” personnel, I pointed out a number of stats. Here is a summary:
25th in the league in points; 20th in yards; 30th in time of possession per drive; 26th in third down efficiency; 23rd in points per play; 24th in yards per play on first down; last in the league in rushing yards per game; 29th in rushing yards per attempt; last in the NFL with a time of possession of 25:57.
If the Giants continue to score just 19 points per game they have no shot at making a playoff run. It will be deeply disappointing if, when the Giants return from the bye, we don’t see some noticeable changes in the Giants’ offensive approach.