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New York Giants news, 11/3: Third-down struggles crippling Giants’ offense

A few notes as Giants prepare for Rams

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
Mike Sullivan
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not hard to figure out that the New York Giants are struggling on offense. They are 30th in the league in points per game at 16.0. and haven’t scored 30 points in any game during Ben McAdoo’s tenure as head coach.

Sticking specifically to this season, a big reason for the Giants’ ineptitude on offense has been the failure to convert on third down. The Giants rank 29th in the NFL in third-down efficiency, converting 32.6 percent of their opportunities (30-of-92). In the two games prior to the bye, the Giants were a combined 6-for-26, just 23 percent. That includes 2-for-12 in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

“Third down, definitely. You look at this last game, you know, 2-for-12. It’s hard to have any type of drives that we’re sustaining,” said offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. “It’s hard to have that run game be what we want it to be that can wear down some defenses and set up some of the play action passes. So, that is a major emphasis.”

But, what can the Giants do to fix it? The return of slot receiver Sterling Shepard should help. Head coach Ben McAdoo has promised other “subtle changes.”

We will just have to wait and see if the Giants have come up with a better plan on third down.

Matching up with Aaron Donald

The interior of the Giants’ offensive line, most likely to consist of center Brett Jones and guards John Jerry and D.J. Fluker, will have its hands full with Los Angeles defensive tackle Aaron Donald, perhaps the league’s premier player at his position.

“You could argue, you could make a case that he’s the most disruptive defensive tackle in the league. Both run and pass,” Sullivan said.

So, how will the Giants combat Donald, an All-Pro the past two seasons?

“He’s a great player. You can’t take anything from him. He’ll probably be a Hall of Fame guy one day,” Fluker said. “The only thing about him is, you have to play to his intensity. Match him in every way. He’s going to work and that’s the best thing for us. I think that’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

Johnny Hekker and those fakes

Nobody executes fake punts or field goals as well, or as often, as Rams punter Johnny Hekker. He is 8-of-13 passing during his six-year career. The Giants are well aware of what might be coming.

“Johnny Hekker’s very good throwing the ball and they’ve run fakes in the past, so it’s a good challenge,” said special teams coordinator Tom Quinn. “They’ve been doing it the last four or five years. So, that’s always the challenge, making sure you’ve got everyone covered.”

How will Giants replace B.J. Goodson?

If B.J. Goodson can’t play because of an ankle injury, the Giants have an issue with who will call the defensive signals. Ordinarily, they might turn that over to defensive captain Jonathan Casillas, but his status is iffy because of a neck injury.

“It’ll be a mixture of Keenan [Robinson], Curtis Grant will be in there, Calvin [Munson]. We have a couple different packages, so we’ve got different guys,” Spagnuolo said. “When you have to do that, when it’s not one guy in the middle all the time, and we just don’t have that situation right now, it makes it a little bit tough. But, we’ve got to be better as coaches, limit it, make sure that everybody does get on the same page and just let them go play.”