Balance. Multiplicity. Options. Those are all things the New York Giants did not have enough of last season when they scored only 19.4 points per game, 26th in the league, and not nearly enough to compete with offensive juggernauts like the Green Bay Packers or NFC champion Atlanta Falcons.
With the major additions of wide receiver Brandon Marshall and hybrid tight end Evan Engram, along with some smaller additions and hoped-for improvements along the offensive line, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is hoping his group now has those things.
“I think that the personnel groupings are at a point right now where we can have more multiplicity. We were at a high percentage of the Zebra personnel, 11 personnel, with three wide receivers, one tight end and one back, as people call it. With those additional tight ends and with having a couple of fullbacks that we’re taking a look at, just to have those different groupings gives the defense more to prepare for and in terms of trying to do things that will give us that balance that we want, run and pass, we have a few more options when you run all of those different personnel groups and then some of the play-action passes, some of the shots that you take intentionally. But it is exciting with all of the additions we have.”
Beckham had 33.9 percent of the Giants’ receiving yards last season, and Sullivan was asked if the offense might be better served if that percentage actually went down.
“You know you could look at it in that respect, but if the yards go away, they don’t hopefully “go away,” they are going to somebody else. The important thing is that we get those yards. That we get the points,” Sullivan said. “You know we didn’t score enough points last year, everyone knows that. We didn’t take care of the football where we needed to take care of it. So, I think that we want to use his (Beckham’s) talents and give him his opportunities and also with some of the other tools we have, some of the other weapons, how can we kind of put those guys in position via personnel grouping, formation, or scheme to try to get somebody else.
“But, to answer your question, we want to have, it’s the absolute value is what we want. We are looking to make sure we get those yards to the maximum. I’m not saying it would be a good thing or a bad thing, we just want to make sure we get the yards, regardless of who is making them.”
Here are some other takeaways from Sullivan’s remarks to the media on Wednesday.
On Ereck Flowers ...
“The first thing about Ereck that jumps out is how much leaner he is. Both he and Bobby Hart have been committed to the work that they have put in throughout the winter, before we have even started the offseason program and the time they spent preparing themselves physically. You can see that Ereck looks leaner. There is initial quickness that is there that is impressive. Obviously, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that here we are in just in our shorts and helmets, you are not going to get a true sense of where we are at from a pass protection standpoint, from a run blocking standpoint. But I think Ereck particularly, and I think Bobby as well, both you see the results of their work and getting them to this point.”
On how Flowers’ improved conditioning will help him ...
“Well, I think a big part of that is the ability to have the initial quickness. You know, there are some great athletes that can be at that. When we talk about leaner, we certainly don’t want a guy walking around at a buck eighty. We know that he is going to have that size. It is not all pass protection. It is certainly a run blocking that is important. Just being able to change direction, to redirect, to react to the defender’s second move, those types of things, that type of quickness, and I say that, but he has also added some strength and some of those things which should help him. So, again, we are looking forward to seeing where he is once we put the pads on him.”
On whether Evan Engram can be counted on to help the offense immediately ...
“I think it is always early, no matter who the player is, to come in and say just off of OTAs and off of the mini-camp that they are ordained as the savior, as the best that has ever played. I will say that we are very excited about what the young man brings to the table. I mean, he has an excellent attitude, he is very smart, he is tough and I think from the practices that you guys have seen, we will all agree, he is very explosive and he is very fast. There is an added dimension to the pass game standpoint that we look forward to using in the season.”
On Davis Webb’s acclimation to the NFL ...
“Davis has done an excellent job in terms of his preparation. I mean, here is someone that was in a completely different offense in college and he has come in and all of the reports that we had about him as far as being a grinder, being a gym rat, and being someone who is a football junkie are true because he puts the time in. And the thing that we have been pleased with in his development is that he is not making the same mistakes twice and there is a learning curve, they are all going to make mistakes, but he has continued to show incremental improvements and he has adjusted well.”