The New York Giants have been searching for the high-scoring, explosive offense they featured in 2015 through 16 weeks of the 2016 regular season. Really, they have been searching unsuccessfully for it since OTAs began way back in the spring.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has been answering questions for months now about why the Giants have been unable to find it. With the regular season coming to an end Sunday and the Giants getting ready for their first playoff appearance since 2011, Sullivan and the Giants are still searching. And answering the same questions.
Winning 10 games and reaching the playoffs has made it easier to stomach the offensive inconsistency, but Sullivan admitted this week that the inability to perform consistently has been frustrating.
“I absolutely feel that there are things that are frustrating to all of us as coaches, the players are frustrated because we do see, as we really dig deep and you sit in this room and look at the tape and go into individual meeting rooms. You sit there and you see where we're so close, and hate to keep saying that as well, but we do sincerely feel that way and we've seen those instances when we can be that type of an offense,” Sullivan said. “It's a frustration, but it's a healthy frustration because it's not one where there's desperation, 'oh, woe is us, what are we going to do,' it's more of a, 'hey, you know what? We have it, let's just keep grinding, let's just keep scratching, clawing, fighting and it's going to come.'
“The important thing is that we're in that position, where now the stakes are going to be very high and certainly the room for errors is not very great. We are optimistic and we're, like I said, make sure it comes across as a positive frustration. We know that there's potential there and we're working hard to get it fixed and we're excited about the opportunities.”
Here are some other takeaways from Sullivan’s Thursday session with the media.
On what he wants to see Sunday from the offense ...
“Would like to see us have a consistent game, where we show improvement and put ourselves in a position to be ready for the playoffs. That's really what we're looking for, we've had flashes of it offensively. There's been times where we've looked great, there's times when we've really hurt ourselves, haven't had the consistency we need, whether it's the turnovers or the penalties, just across the board. So really, a consistent, complete game would be great for us to see on Sunday.”
On the idea that “Playoff Eli Manning” will suddenly energize the offense ...
“I think it is about all 11 guys. It's hard for Eli, even if he's playing lights-out football, if there aren't other members of the offense that are doing their job, whether it's the protection or the route execution or the running backs and in the same sense, you don't want to sit there and say, it's not about the quarterback. The guy touches the ball every play, there's a reason why those guys tend to get a lot of the criticism as well as a lot of the praise when things go well. I think it's just a matter of the unit collectively just having the precision, having the detail, eliminating the mental mistakes, the turnovers certainly, and I think that will make everybody better and will raise his [Manning's] game and he can help raise everybody else's game.”