On Sunday, the New York Giants open their 2018 regular-season slate at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. There is much new about this iteration of the Giants, and much of that is on the offensive side of the ball.
That includes their offensive coordinator, with Mike Shula taking over for Mike Sullivan in February following the hire of Pat Shurmur as the Giants’ new head coach. Shula spoke with the media on Thursday.
On his offensive weaponry
The Giants aren’t lacking for offensive playmakers this year. The healthy return of Odell Beckham, Jr. means that quarterback Eli Manning again has an elite-level target to throw to, while the addition of running back Saquon Barkley in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft should make both the running and passing games better. Add in receivers Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram and the offense presents myriad options to take advantage of opposing defenses.
Shula’s goal is “to use the guys the best way we can,” adding that “the number-one thing is to have our guys playing fast, and knowing what to do and doing it fast because we feel like if they do that, it gives us our best chance.” It starts with Manning: “We want to have Eli make good decisions and take what they give you, you hear that all the time, find the one on ones and things like that.”
Ultimately, Shula knows that the key to the Giants’ offensive success will hinge on finding the best ways to use their collection of talent. “We want to be versatile with our scheme, whether we’re running it, throwing it, quick game, drop back, play action, misdirection, but also versatile with where the ball’s going based on our personnel,” said Shula. And though Shula cited Beckham as having “really, really good hands and he’s a guy that has made big plays in big situations,” he was also quick to point out that Beckham is “a big piece to our puzzle, he’s not the only piece.”
Why Kyle Lauletta got the nod over Davis Webb
One of the more surprising decisions the Giants made as part of the weekend’s roster cuts was the decision to release backup quarterback Davis Webb, whom the team selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Now, Manning’s backups will be Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta, the latter selected by the Giants in Round 4 of this year’s draft.
Shula cited Lauletta’s ability to learn the position quickly as a major factor in his earning of a roster spot. “We think Kyle is a young guy that just has continued to get better with reps. He’s got very good football intelligence, I think he’s got some intangibles that you need at that position,” said Shula.
“You can kind of sense that day in and day out, the learning process that [Lauletta’s] going through and how quickly he’s picking things up — not just by what you see on the field, but how he is in the meeting rooms with the other players, always kind of thinking about things other than maybe just the way it’s drawn up.”