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Off the ledge, Giants fans! It’s only preseason

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The Giants' offense hasn't played well this preseason, but what else is new?

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Three quarters of the way through Ben McAdoo’s first preseason as the New York Giants head coach, there is already a queue forming at the ledge. Which means it’s time for me to remind everyone to put down the bottle and take a step back.

Since Saturday night I’ve seen comments saying predicting another 6-10 year, calling for McAdoo — or Jerry Reese’s — job(s), and even predicting that the Giants will "earn" the first pick in the 2017 draft.

In fact, we have a live look at Giants’ fandom right now:

Really though, we’ve been here before.

Don’t believe me?

Quarterback Eli Manning went just 1-for-7. The Giants first-team offense averaged just 1.8 yards per play and totaled 48 yards. The Giants first team got five first downs, three thanks to Indianapolis penalties.

"Well, it just wasn't good enough," Manning told Giants.com after the first half. "I'm not concerned right now, but we know we"ve got to get better. We've got to play better. We've got to start executing better and start making some plays."

- Giants at Colts, 2014

There was a lot of bad. Eli Manning was sacked twice and hit way too many times on other plays. He fumbled twice and threw two passes that could easily have been intercepted. One was dropped, another overturned via replay. The Giants offensive line was pitiful in pass protection. Will Beatty was badly beaten on one play. Geoff Schwartzand Brandon Mosley each got run over by Jets rushers on separate plays. Weston Richburg blew an assignment. All of those plays got Manning hit. Tight end Larry Donnell had two penalties in one series.

- Giants vs Jets, 2014

There was a lot of bad. Eli Manning was sacked twice and hit way too many times on other plays. He fumbled twice and threw two passes that could easily have been intercepted. One was dropped, another overturned via replay. The Giants offensive line was pitiful in pass protection. Will Beatty was badly beaten on one play. Geoff Schwartzand Brandon Mosley each got run over by Jets rushers on separate plays. Weston Richburg blew an assignment. All of those plays got Manning hit. Tight end Larry Donnell had two penalties in one series.

- Giants vs. Patriots 2014

Basically, it is impossible to assess the starters at the skill positions. They never had a chance without adequate blocking.

The star of the night offensively had to running back Orleans Darkwa, with nine carries for 52 yards. Wide receiver Julian Talley caught three passes. Backup quarterback Ryan Nassib completed just 8-of-18 passes for 79 yards, but was under duress and at least did not look panicked.

We won't get a better read on what the offense could really look like until -- and unless -- the Giants actually figure out a way to block adequately. Let's see what they do to correct that issue.

- Giants at Bengals 2015

The Giants still have work to do.

There was plenty to give Tom Coughlin indigestion in the Giants' ten point loss. Things like giving up touchdowns on an interception and punt return. Things like losing contain on running plays, screen plays, and leaving receivers wide open, or drive killing penalties.

- Giants vs. Jets 2015

Put simply, since McAdoo has taken over the Giants’ offense, they have (more often than not) sucked in preseason, and fans were despondent about ... well ... everything. The passing game could barely complete a ball, running game went nowhere, the defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed, and the Giants largely looked like they had never even seen a football field before.

But once the games started to count, the offense kicked it up several notches. In 2014, they finished ranked 10th in total offense, and 13th in scoring offense. In 2015, they fielded the eighth-ranked offense and sixth-best scoring offense.

Once again, the Giants’ offense looks, well, bad. The blocking is neigh-nonexistent, the passing game looks rusty and disjointed, and they don’t seem to care whether the ball moves forward.

And they might not. We don’t actually know what goes on in the Giants’ coaching staff meetings before a preseason game, but watching the games, it looks as though McAdoo wants to use them as glorified scrimmages to try things out an an environment that can’t be replicated in practice. In 2014 it was a different aspect of the offense every week — long passes, short passes, the running game, the Giants emphasized one each week. This year the Giants are clearly focused on ironing out the wrinkles in their running game. They want to find out which tight ends can block — nobody actually thinks that ANY tight end would be left on an island with Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, or Leonard Williams in a regular season, do they? They want to find out which plays and techniques they can execute best and what they need to work on. And finally, the roster is not finished. With cuts coming this week and again next week, there will be offensive linemen available. The consistent and telegraphed runs to the right — almost always for no gain — give John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse an opportunity to show that they belong as starters, or confirm that a move needs to be made.

So take a breath, step back and have a seat.

Even if Jerry Reese sits on his hands and stands pat going in to the 2016 season, they will be fielding an offense that was explosive the last two years. The difference is that on the other side of the ball is a starting defense that has been dominant throughout the preseason. While that is also no guarantee of regular season performance, it’s a positive sign after the Giants’ defense showed cracks in the 2014 and 2015 preseasons. Even a return to mediocrity for the Big Blue defense is a tremendous boost to the team. If they can play to their ceiling, it will take pressure off the offense to carry the defense’s dead weight.

But McAdoo has said that the offense won’t be resting on its laurels and simply expecting continued greatness. As he said, that’s a "loser’s mentality." He also said that the story of the right side of the offensive line has yet to be written.

Right now the Giants’ pro scouts are pouring over the rosters of the other 31 teams, evaluating the players that could hit the waiver wire or open market over the next two weeks. It’s the same process as last season when a struggling Steve Weatherford was cut in favor of unknown Brad Wing, who was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

My advice: Relax and enjoy the last truly stress-free game of 2016. The Giants know better than we whether they are accomplishing what they want, where they are failing, and what moves they can make to address weaknesses. Why not wait until we actually know what the final roster looks like, and how it plays when it counts, to decide whether we need to panic?