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New York Giants’ Offense a Work-In-Progress for Passers, a Potential Paradise for Runners

August 17th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Daniel Graham

There is significant irony for the New York Giants after three preseason games. We have seen quarterback Eli Manning experience tremendous growing pains while adjusting to this new style of offense that Ben McAdoo is attempting to install here in New York. And while there are two more preseason games left to be played and plenty of roster cuts to be made, there is still time for the passing game to get its head on straight. But what has ironically improved quickly for the Giants in this new offense is the running game, something that had been missing from Big Blue’s bag of tricks since the initial departure of Brandon Jacobs after 2011.

Since midway through last season the Giants have been busy auditioning running backs to add a spark to New York’s sluggish offensive production. Peyton Hillis made his way to the Big Apple, along with the return of Brandon Jacobs. John Conner was brought in at fullback to fill in for an injured Henry Hynoski. In free agency this offseason they acquired Rashad Jennings and in the draft picked up Boston College’s Andre Williams in the fourth round.

All but Jacobs are currently on the roster, which means a few heads will have to roll. However, with the sudden "retirement" of David Wilson, the window of opportunity has grown for all these backs to stay on with New York for the 53-man roster, and most have already shown their worth to the coaches.

But it is not necessarily who it is that’s improving the Giants running game, it is more of how Ben McAdoo’s offense has an effect on defenses and their packages. McAdoo’s offensive scheme resembles that of the West Coast Offense, an offense that was used during his time in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers leading the charge. Many of the plays called already this preseason has three or four wide receivers for Eli to throw to, requiring a need for defenses to cover those receivers. As a result, defensive coordinators who were once blitz happy with Kevin Gilbride’s Giants offense now have a greater emphasis placed on their defensive backs and linebackers to monitor Manning’s passing options. Kevin Gilbride’s offense prided itself with utilizing fullbacks and multiple tight ends, giving defenses an opportunity to have a few linebackers and defensive backs crowd the box to try to stop the run or pressure Manning, causing him to either get sacked or hurry his throw.

The McAdoo offense benefits no group of guys more than the offensive line, another nagging issue that the Giants are starting to take care of. What once was a solid line consisting of David Diehl, Chris Snee, Shaun O'Hara, Kareem McKenzie and Rich Seubert has now been supplanted with a new breed of Big Blue Blockers, such as Justin Pugh, Geoff Schwartz, Weston Richburg, J.D. Walton and Brandon Mosley. And with the blitz pressure being scaled back because of the new wide receiver spreads, it gives them more time and concentration to take care of their assignments. This can certainly help an offensive line that allowed 40 sacks last season alone.

If there is one play from this preseason that supports this thesis, just go back to the Giants-Steelers game and play back Rashad Jennings’ 73 yard touchdown run. The Giants are set up in a singleback formation with three receivers out in a slot left with a tight end on the line to the left. The Pittsburgh Steelers are set up in a variation of the Nickel defense. Two of their cornerbacks are playing 10 yards off of their receivers with the two safeties in between them. With five defensive backs the Steelers have in place three linebackers and three down linemen. Eli signals for a trap play under center with Jennings behind him. Brandon Mosley, the right guard, pulls out to the left to supply a key seal for Jennings to run through and he proceeds to the end zone.

Had the Steelers set up in a different defensive package, this play never would have happened the way it did. Even setting up in the basic Nickel formation could have prevented this long run. What this new offense does for the Giants is not only enhance the passing game (which it is supposed to) and open up the running game, but it also allows the Giants to disguise their plays by forcing defenses to leave no stone unturned, in this case, no receiver uncovered.

Ben McAdoo’s offense is still a long work in progress, there’s no denying that, but being able to add a third dimension to your offense is a sign of good and innovative things to come.


Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Andre Williams, Ben McAdoo, Brandon Mosley, Eli Manning, Football, Geoff Schwartz, Henry Hynoski, J.D. Walton, Justin Pugh, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Peyton Hillis, Rashad Jennings, Weston Richburg

15 Responses to “New York Giants’ Offense a Work-In-Progress for Passers, a Potential Paradise for Runners”

  1.  Dirt says:

    I think some have suggested that we might not keep 6 receivers. I hope that they read this article.

  2.  James Stoll says:

    Well, in what most were calling our first real test of the preseason, the grades are in: F- I didn’t know the grades went that low.

    Not even one positive play out of the first offense. That’s hard to do.
    Everyone said it on the previous threads but it bears repeating, right now, the O-Line looks every bit as putrid as last year. No push, no holes, no pass protection.
    Eli looks dreadful. His throws are off, especially his short ones which is one of the fears many had. His one nice pass to Victor ends up in a fumble perhaps indicating a 1970′s-like keystone cops year
    Jernigan and Randal are dreadful as well. Sadly, one of them will be a starter. We all better hope ODB is the second coming.
    No TEs. No news there.
    The RBS look pedestrian; who wouldn’t behind this line.

    The D got hurt on any number of plays: screens, slants, scrambles. No effective pressure.
    And we lost Prince until the opener.

    The team looks exactly like it did one year ago, which may mean Mara waited one year too long to fire TC and JR. If this persists, look for another house-cleaning at the end of the year.

  3.  kujo says:

    Obviously, all the caveats about this being preseason and a work-in-progress and all that….


    This does NOT look like a good team. Like, at all. I don’t care what the boxscore says: if you watched this game, you know that our biggest fear is coming true–Eli looks incapable of running this offense. I was skeptical of it since Day One, as I never saw Eli as a West Coast-type QB, but was willing to assume that they would blend in his natural skills while helping him to develop the footwork necessary to execute.

    But 3 (preseason) games into this new offensive regime, I’m not seeing it. #10 looks skiddish, indecisive, and flat. His short throws are coming out too hot, too long or too short. Contrary to G101 legend, this has basically been the case for his entire career, thereby calling into question why they would choose to migrate to an offense that focuses so heavily on this phase of the game. And the worst part that I’ve seen is his footwork, which is painfully uncomfortable and erratic, calling to mind those early seasons of Big Blue Happy Feet.

    Again, this can all change over time, as everyone–including our signal-caller– gets more comfortable in this new offense. But I gotta say–I don’t see it.

    •  James Stoll says:


      Really hard to watch right now
      Everything is so bad you can’t even focus on fixing one thing
      Was there a 2+ yard run by the first offense?
      I don’t think so
      Did Eli throw one decent pass?
      Actually yes, but it was a long pass to Victor
      With each passing performance it is beginning to look like the only throw Eli can make is the 30+ yard pass down the sideline! and then only 1 out of every 4
      But let’s face it, it is the O-Line that continues to be the star of this tragedy
      All those cast off bodies brought in during the offseason look now like other people’s garbage. Our home grown guys look no better. Pugh looks like he’s suffering a sophomore slump.

      A defense that surrender 20 first half points looks dramatically better than the offense, which thus far looks as bad or worse than 2013.

      We get one more look next week, then we’ll probably watch our starters play 2 to 3 quarters against the Patriots’ scrubs in the last game.

      Hard to see right now where the improvement comes from.

  4.  kujo says:

    I don’t think the OL was all that bad, actually. They were fine (not bad, not great) in pass-protection, and were about the same in run-blocking. I think we could definitely stand to improve, but I think all of us are still a little shell-shocked by last year’s group, and are therefore too eager to panic whenever the OL looks anything other than worldbeating.

    Then again, it looks like our QB1 can’t get over 2013, so why should we?

    •  James Stoll says:

      I’m surprised you said that about the O-Line. To my eyes they were horrid. There was not a single hole opened for Jennings. Eli was under pressure as often as he wasn’t
      That’s not to say Eli may not be contributing, along with the WRs, to the mess, but to say the O-Line didn’t look bad? I’m just wondering what you are using as a measuring stick

      •  kujo says:

        To be fair, I caught a pirated stream of the game on FirstRowSports last night, and it was a little laggy in the beginning. So I wasn’t able to really zero-in on observing the OL as much as I would’ve liked.

        That being said, what I saw was average. They gave up one sack up the middle (looked like a delayed LB blitz that should’ve been picked up by Mosley), and a couple of exterior pressures. Jennings didn’t have much to work with, but he wasn’t getting stonewalled in the backfield. He’d pick up 1-3 yards per carry. Again, not great, but not “horrid” either.

        Look, I’m not defending the group. I think Beatty played decent in his first start since his injury, but the rest of the group underwhelmed.

        •  James Stoll says:

          I think after 2013′s abomination our bar for ok is so low that gaining 6 yards on 3 plays looks not bad
          Shutout for 3 quarters by 1sts, 2ds, 3ds, looks pretty bad thogh

      •  kujo says:

        I also don’t share your views on Pugh. I think you’re guilty of throwing the baby out with the bath-water on that one, as I specifically saw him have several very good blocks last night, including 1 straight-up pancake of some dude.

  5.  TuckThis says:

    A work in progress? Could someone please show me the progress? I saw none with the 1st team offense. This crap that the rose colored glass brigade is putting out there of the Giants not showing their “plays” too early is ridiculous. They have no plays. What’s to show? UGH!

  6.  rlhjr says:

    You really have to dig deep to pull ANY positives out of this one.
    By far the Giants run defense is pretty damn good and only stands to get better with a healthy Beason. Most likely Beason can return by game three.

    The defensive backs a good. They forced several bad throws by Luck and assisted in the limited pressure the Giant front four was able to deliver.

    Individuals: Moore; DIRT needs to buy his Jersey to replace the 72 I;m sure he owns. Kid is a speed rusher that I hope will also attempt to show up against the run unlike DIRTS hero Osi.

    Defensive tackles: They all played well.

  7.  rlhjr says:

    The pass protection is really bad in single back looks. Once a blitz is called, the edges evaporate and the jail break is underway. Also the ball is not coming out fast enough. Right now it looks like Gilbride’s offense only with no running backs to pass protect. I mean come on, zero yards passing the better part of a half of football? That doesn’t happen in Pop Warner.

    Once teams figure out the Giants can’t complete a forward pass, the running game will suffer even more. They will face run blitzing because teams will not fear them going over the top. The Giants running game looked like one yard and a cloud of dust. I keep telling myself they really cant be as bad as they look.

  8.  TuckThis says:

    They can and are. …until we see differently.
    The good news for the Jets…there won’t be any passes to defend against next week.

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