The New York Giants' supposedly high-powered offense was missing in action during the preseason. Eli Manning, he of the reportedly rich, new $84 million contract extension, completed just 20-of-38 passes for 159 yards and no touchdowns. The Giants scored just 10 points in four game with Manning under or behind center. Is offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo concerned about those preseason struggles carrying over into Sunday's season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys?
"No, not one bit," McAdoo said this week.
"It wasn't as crisp as we wanted it to be in the preseason. We didn't get a ton of reps with the first group. That's usually the way it goes. We looked a lot better in practice, but most teams do. We feel that with the last few days of work that we have that we can go out and look crisp on Sunday night and put a good product on the field."
Much of what McAdoo was asked about this week had to do with the offensive line which, of course, has been the primary question mark offensively since the end of the 2014. The line now includes three early draft picks (two first-rounders and a second-rounder) and a high-priced free agent. Are they ready, despite the torn pectoral muscle suffered by Will Beatty?
"We look forward to those guys. Again, they're working through some things right now and we look forward to them gelling as the year goes on," McAdoo said. "We have a solid group."
The group includes a rookie left tackle in Ereck Flowers, the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
"Ereck, the biggest things for these young guys is going out and getting in this crowd noise and getting off on the snap count. If we give any piece of advice to the young guys, I'd say when the ball snaps, you better be moving," McAdoo said. "We've got to go out and we've got to help him and we've got to get his feet wet. I think any position up front is a challenge as a rookie, especially the tackle positions. You can shelter guys maybe a little bit more inside. But we felt like he's had a good camp, he's working hard on his technique and look forward to seeing him on Sunday night."
Weston Richburg, the team's 2014 second-round pick, moves from guard to center.
"Weston is a natural center. He has some leadership qualities that we like. He's a very capable player between the ears and can run the show there," McAdoo said. "I think Weston has a chance to have a pretty good year."
The remaining question on the line, at least in terms of who will play, comes at right guard. It would seem that Geoff Schwartz, who played only two games last season, has proven he is healthy enough and is the likely starter. The Giants have been unwilling to commit to that, though, and the reticence continued with McAdoo.
"We'll start whoever shows up at right guard when we go out there for the first series," McAdoo joked.
Kidding aside, McAdoo has been pleased with Schwartz's recent work, saying "he has a pretty good chance" to look like the player the Giants hoped they were getting when they signed him.
More from McAdoo
On the probable absence of wide receiver Victor Cruz ...
"We're going to take the approach that who's out here and who's practicing, we're going to have a good plan for them. If we get any surprises or bonuses, we'll be ready for that, too. We'll roll with the punches as far as that goes."
On improving the running game from 2014 ...
"Yeah, it's part of the reason why I'm excited about the big guys up front. Rashad (Jennings) is healthy and running well; Andre (Williams), another year under his belt running a variety of schemes that we like to do, he's improved there with his reads. Add Shane (Vereen) to the mix and Orleans (Darkwa), as well. I feel like we'll be more consistent there and have a chance to be a pretty good running team."
On what Shane Vereen brings to the Giants ...
"You know the challenge that Shane is to be a complete back and we think he can do that and help us there. He's shown the signs that he's been able to do it in the preseason and that's the way we'll continue. ... we like to spread the ball around and we're going to challenge all of our backs to be complete players. Then we'll start there."