The New York Giants needed to spend their bye week self-scouting and making adjustments, especially on offense.
They finished the first half of their schedule with a 4-3 record, and enter Week 9 in second place in the division. If the season ended as I write this, the Giants would be the sixth seed, playing the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
But anyone who has watched the Giants knows that their offense is only barely functional. Averaging a fairly pathetic 19.0 points per game, they are more than a touchdown behind last year’s sixth-ranked scoring offense and are averaging fewer points per game than the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
One of the chief complaints about the Giants’ offense has been the play calling, with many speculating that rookie head coach Ben McAdoo is overextending himself calling the plays and managing the whole team.
Perhaps predictably, McAdoo disagrees, saying on MOnday “I don’t feel like I’ve been spread thin at all. It helps me stay dialed in to the locker room, to the offense and dictating the game.”
While that isn’t exactly a firm pronouncement that he will be keeping play-calling duties, it does make it sound awfully likely that he’ll have the offensive menu in his hand when the Giants face the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. Though that being said, as McAdoo said regarding the trade deadline “Never say never.” If they were making a change, it wouldn’t be smart to give their opponents advance warning that the Giants’ tendencies were going to change.
But none of that changes the fact that the Giants need to improve and produce on offense. It’s something McAdoo is well aware of, and confident that they can get their offense back on track. “I think we have a variety of areas we can grow in and improve in.” McAdoo said, “I think we’re just scratching the surface and everything is correctable.”
“When we’re not playing as well as we’d like to on offense,” He said, when asked about the play calling. “You look at everything. The plays coming on, how we plan the week, the personnel that we’re using and how we’re attacking and you go on from there. Everything’s looked at.”
Adding variety to the personnel packages is a good start, but the Giants have other issues to address, such as mental and execution errors. It won’t be easy, however.
“Mistakes and things in this league you don’t fix them overnight,” McAdoo said, “it takes time. In all three phases we have things we need to work on and improve. We feel we have the players in the building to make that happen, the coaches in the building to makes that happen, and we’re going to make it happen.”
One thing the Giants could do to help out their struggling offense and overworked defense is to grow a running game. Currently ranked last overall in the NFL, the Giants are also 30th in attempts and 29th in yards per carry. Part of the problem has been the relatively small number of plays the offense has run, a number that McAdoo says needs to go up.
“First thing we need is more plays. If we have more plays then we can run the ball more. The better we run the ball the more runs we’ll call, the more plays we’ll get.” McAdoo said. “We need to possess the ball, we need more plays. … it’s a matter of execution.”
Ultimately, football is a team game, and as McAdoo rightly points out there is no one facet of the offense that is limiting their ability to run the ball.
“It’s not one reason. It’s not one player, it’s not one position group, it’s not just the offensive line, it’s not just the backs, it’s not just the tight ends, it’s a combination of everything,” he said.
But if there’s one thing that should give fans some hope, it is that McAdoo will continue to put the Giants’ young players in position to help the team win. “We’re not going to shy away from playing young players,” McAdoo said. “Especially guys who are working hard to do it the way we ask them to do it.”