The New York Giants went into their Week 8 bye fortunate to be 4-3, and with a ton of work to do. The offense ranks last in the NFL in rushing (70.3 yards per game) and tied for 26th in points (19 points per game). With Eli Manning under center, and a dynamic trio of wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard, the lack of production has been especially frustrating. The offensive line is a big part of the problem, but it’s virtually the same group the Giants fielded in 2015 when they were a top-10 offense. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan knows the onus lies with the coaches, and putting players in positions to succeed.
“If there are things that we've shown over and over again and it's worked sometimes and it's been shut down other times, then we as coaches have to be ready to adjust and say 'how can we give a different look,' or give something that looks the same and then hey, surprise, surprise it's something else,” Sullivan said at his Thursday presser.
“That's certainly a topic of discussion; something that we took a hard look at in terms of moving the receivers around, whether it’s Sterling playing a little bit more on the outside, Odell playing more on the inside, being in a wide variety of spots. ... We're going to certainly explore those possibilities.”
He also touched on Paul Perkins and reviving the run. Many feel Perkins has shown enough in limited action to warrant a bigger role in the offense. Sullivan likes what he sees from the rookie, but stopped short of anointing him, implying his pass protection is a work in progress.
“He's certainly someone that we're excited about moving forward,” he said. “I think there's some versatility that he has. We've seen him do some great things catching the football; obviously he had a heck of a play there at Minnesota on the screen, so he has the ability to catch the ball. ... As he's been able to catch up, if you will, because he missed so much of the spring because of UCLA and having to be in that core system, has a greater awareness of pass protection and that's so critical. When all's said and done, that guy, he's got the big sombrero in terms of the adjustments and how Eli can change the protection. If a guy can't do that and he can do the other things, that's going to limit the opportunities.”
Read on for more takeaways from Sullivan’s media session.
On the Philadelphia Eagles vaunted pass rush:
“Most of the pressure is coming from the front four. Prior to the Dallas game, they had 20 sacks and 15 of them came from the front four, excellent players. Brandon Graham obviously is playing at a high level on the edge and Bennie Logan inside and I know he's fighting through some injury issues. And, of course, Fletcher Cox is a dynamic defensive tackle so they are able generate a lot of pressure with the front four.”
On identifying trends in how defenses have played the Giants:
“I think teams have their identity and if they have a very variation of, if they want to hang their hat on one high man coverage and be a pressure team; Baltimore would come to mind and they've stuck with that. Other teams that maybe have had a little more of two-man, two high zones, two high-mans and have felt that they could try and stop the run with a six-man box and try to commit an extra player to Odell if that's been a part of who they are. I think on certain teams, Green Bay and Minnesota come to mind, they just kind of accentuate that. There really hasn't been a specific coverage or front or scheme that's been a problem. I think it may have been, we've kind of looked, in so many cases we've been our worst enemy. Particularly the past couple of weeks. We really wanted to try to get off to a fast start and had the turnover the first play of the game a few weeks ago. Turnover the second play of the game over in London. We've got to straighten that out so we can get more opportunities, more snaps and try to get some kind of rhythm early.”
On the offensive line, and getting the running game going:
“I think it really comes down to us doing the things from a fundamental standpoint upfront and really trying to make sure we're executing our blocks. Us, from a coaching standpoint, schematically trying to put our guys in the best positions, create angles, whether it's through formation or whether it's through different personnel groupings. Whatever we can do to try and give them the best possible advantage. So it's really twofold that we take care of business upfront and then help them schematically so that it really doesn't matter who the particular back is.”