We keep waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting for the breakout everyone thinks is inevitable from the seemingly under-performing New York Giants’ offense. It does have to come, doesn’t it?
After all, the Giants were sixth in the league in scoring a year ago and reached 30 or more points six times. They added Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz to Odell Beckham Jr. They still have Eli Manning.
After 11 games, this iteration of the Giants’ offense is 21st in points per game, 31st in time of possession and 26th in points per possession. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to accept that what we’ve seen through 11 games is what we’re going to get.
I took to the film this week, reviewing the All-22 from the Giants game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, purely with the idea that I would look at the offense and try to see if I could learn anything useful.
As I share some of my observations, my weekly reminder that I am not a scout. I won’t break down someone’s technique or claim to know exactly what Player X should have done on a given play. I am simply going to give you my thoughts based on what I see. So, let’s get started.
I am beginning with the second-year tight end because as I scan my notes after watching the tape his name appears over and over. We have talked all season long about the Giants need for a blocking tight end. Watching Tye, he shows signs of becoming a guy who can do that.
He isn’t there yet. He misses occasionally, as he appeared to on a second quarter Paul Perkins run that went for a single yard when, had Tye controlled the defensive end, Perkins could have been into the secondary. He is, however, willing. He is able to identify the block he is supposed to make, and he’s physical in his effort to make it.
In the third quarter when the Giants went to the full house backfield — something I would like to see more of — Tye led Rashad Jennings for a 6-yard gain by clearing what appeared to be a linebacker out of the hole.
One of the big stories coming out of Sunday’s game was that the talented rookie was never even targeted by quarterback Eli Manning. So, I went to the film looking to see if there had been opportunities missed by Manning or times Shepard was open and Manning simply chose a different throw.
Maybe I missed the boat, but I did not see a single time throughout the game where I thought Shepard should have gotten the ball.
Manning missed a handful of throws early in Sunday’s game. We all know that. It’s life. Nobody’s perfect. He also made a brilliant throw to Dwayne Harris for a touchdown and hit Odell Beckham perfectly in stride allowing him to run for a 32-yard score.
One notable miss I do want to mention is when Manning underthrew Beckham deep down the right side during the Giants’ second possession. Manning did a great job holding the safety in the middle of the field by staring down Will Tye going up the seam. It almost looked like he came back to Beckham a little bit late and underthrew him.
The protection Manning had Sunday was notable. There were a LOT of clean pockets. Something else, though, that is noteworthy is how well Manning moves within the pocket when there is just a bit of pressure. It’s subtle, sliding a step one way or another to find space, but it’s an underappreciated thing about the veteran quarterback.
By no means am I going to pick on the fill-in offensive guard, the Giants’ fourth choice to play the position. Gettis did an admirable job on Sunday, especially in pass protection. In the second quarter, Gettis pulled and led Jennings through the right side for an 11-yard gain.
There were also a few times, though, when Cleveland linebacker Christian Kirksey appeared to take advantage of Gettis, shooting through gaps to blow up running plays when Gettis either didn’t identify him or missed him.
There has been some improvement in the Giants’ running game in recent weeks. The plays on which Gettis missed made me wonder just how much the Giants actually miss Justin Pugh, who was playing very well before being sidelined by a knee injury.