The New York Giants led the NFL with 44 giveaways in 2013, ending the season with a -15 turnover differential, which was also second-to-last in the league. It was an issue that began on their very first offensive play of the season (an interception to DeMarcus Ware) and a problem that lingered throughout the entire year. Needless to say, it was a major factor in their 7-9 finish, the subsequent retirement of Kevin Gilbride and the massive offensive overhaul this offseason.
However, changing personnel is not the solve-all solution to the turnover issues, and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo fully understands that. He also understands that head coach Tom Coughlin will not accept similar statistics in 2014, and that's why fundamentals and proper decision-making have been preached relentlessly during the offseason workout program.
And after seeing some improvement during practice, McAdoo went out on a limb and all but guaranteed it's an issue that will absolutely be fixed this coming season.
"Well, first things first, this will be our offense. This is going to be the Giants’ offense, not my offense. Watching the film from last year, it’s no secret they didn’t protect the ball as well as they would have liked to," McAdoo said. "We’ve made strides already I believe this offseason in doing that. The fundamentals were a big part of it, decision-making is a big part of it. And yes, it can be fixed, and yes, it will be fixed."
Whether or not the blame can be placed entirely on him, one of the most important aspect of fixing the turnover problem is fixing quarterback Eli Manning, who tossed 27 interceptions to his only 18 touchdowns a season ago. Add another lost fumble, and his total of 28 turnovers nearly matched the team's total number of takeaways (29).
"I think he knows the challenges of last year, the turnovers and things. He’s been very motivated to improve and you can see that just with his daily preparation. He’s in early, he stays late, he’s studying," quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf said. "I know he was on his way to a function and he was studying in the car. He’s taken it very seriously, he’s taken the offensive changes very seriously in terms of studying and being ready each day. I think there’s no question that he’s motivated to improve from last year."
Early on, a lot of time has been spent with Manning focusing on fundamentals and adjustments to his footwork, but that's only one small piece to the puzzle. In order to do a 180 on their turnovers in 2014, the team still needs health and consistency along the offensive line, a running game that allows them to mix things up and, perhaps most importantly of all, continuity between Manning and his receivers — and that includes limiting the number of tipped passes and dropped balls.
It's going to be a total team effort and a lot to chew for McAdoo in his first season with the Giants.
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