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Giants vs. Washington post-game quotebook: What is going wrong in the Red Zone?

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The Giants have a lot of problems to solve on offense, but “unlocking” the red zone might be the most important.

NFL: Washington Redskins at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants offense has more than its share of problems. They can’t run the ball, their pass protection is a shambles, the passing game is inconsistent at best, and Eli Manning is in decline and not able to consistently play at the level he needs to in order to lift the offense above its deficiencies.

But of all their problems, perhaps the biggest — and most surprising — is the offense’s inability to score when they are in the red zone.

Despite being loaded for bear with explosive playmakers, the Giants struggle to score touchdowns when they get within 20 yards of the endzone. All the more frustrating, the team fielded one of the best red zone offenses in 2017, despite being without Odell Beckham Jr, Saquon Barkley, and Sterling Shepard battling injury all year.

It’s a problem the Giants need to fix over their bye week, if they can just figure out how.

“Definitely frustrating,” Saquon Barkley said, “we love our kicker to death, but we have to find a way to put six points on the board more times that we did in the game. That’s something, during this little stretch, that we haven’t been able to do. It’s something we have to start doing.”

Pat Shurmur

As the architect of the offense, it will fall to Shurmur to figure out how to fix their red zone woes.

“On offense, we’ve got to score more points,” he said in his opening remarks. “Until we unlock that, until we get down there and score touchdowns, then it’s going to be tough sledding, so that’s where it is. You can’t score 13 points in any game at any level and expect to win them. We’ve got to unlock that, we’ve got to get that better. Whatever it is, we’ve got to get that figured out. We’ve got to put the ball in the end zone more often.”

Evan Engram

Engram was the biggest reason for the Giants’ success in the red zone in 2017, but this season he has been a non-factor. Between changes in his usage, his injury, and then some bad drops, Engram hasn’t been able to follow up his impressive rookie campaign. That doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to help his team succeed.

“Our mentality is to score every drive,” tight end Evan Engram said, “no matter if we’re backed up in their territory or in our territory. Our mentality is to drive down and score. We didn’t want to live with anymore field goals. We want to end stuff in the end zone. We just gotta keep working at that and just keep getting better at that. There’s no doubt in our minds. We know what we are capable of. We just gotta get it done.”

Odell Beckham Jr.

While Barkley has taken the NFL by storm and quickly established himself as one of the league’s premier playmaking running backs, Odell Beckham is still the Giants’ most dynamic playmaker, and has been their most prolific scorer since his rookie season. But even he is at a loss to put his finger on why the Giants can’t finish drives with touchdowns.

Beckham said, “I don’t have an answer for that. It doesn’t make sense. I feel like we should be doing better and we’re not. This is where we’re at. When we get down in the red zone, we have to score.”

“Just keep working,” he added, when asked what the team can do to fix the problem, “that’s all you can do. Score in the red zone, there is a lot of things we can do, we just have to go out and do it.”

Beckham wouldn’t say that he is frustrated with the offense, but did say that he is ready and willing for the Giants to put more on his plate.

“It’s definitely not where I want it [the offense] to be,” he said, “it’s definitely not what I envisioned this team being.

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If there is any frustration, that’s where the frustration comes in. All I want to do is come in and do whatever I can to help this team win. I know I have more in me, I’m ready to do that.”