NFL Wire News

Scoring touchdowns has been a Giant problem


The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — At the start of the preseason, the New York Giants’ offense, which was coming off a successful first-year campaign under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, looked to be the crown jewel in the team’s arsenal.

And why not?

The unit had two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning coming off one of his best seasons, receiver Odell Beckham Jr. coming off a record-setting rookie season, an improved offensive line made up of four first- or second-round draft picks, and running back, Shane Vereen who was thought to be the missing ingredient in the ground game.

To say that things haven’t gone according to plan for this Giants’ offense would certainly be an understatement.

Through two weeks, the Giants’ offense is ranked 17th thanks to its 338.5 yards per game average, and is tied for 15th with the Bears and Ravens in points with 46.

“We’ve moved the ball well,” Manning said. “I think we’ve got to be better in the green zone getting touchdowns. We’re settling for field goals a little bit too often. But I feel like we are moving the ball well.”

The red zone scoring in particular has been a thorn in the Giants’ side. In two games, the Giants have converted only two of its eight red-zone chances.

Then there are the missed opportunities. According to Pro Football Focus, Manning’s receivers have dropped 11 passes in two games, a figure that puts him well ahead of the other quarterbacks.

Still, Manning, the eternal optimist, views the glass as being half-full despite the offense’s failure to come up big in key situations.

“I thought we got a good rhythm this past week and had some good things going,” Manning said. “Got completions and had pretty good third down production, haven’t seen the exact numbers (59 percent), but I felt like we were pretty good on third down.

“So I think we’ve heading in the right direction. We’ve just got to do a little bit better and execute a little bit better.”


PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus — There’s wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and then there’s everyone else. Right now, the sad reality is that the Giants do not have an effective second receiver on the field that can take some of the heat off Beckham. This is apparently affecting quarterback Eli Manning’s trust in his receivers, as on his sack and fumble, he had Preston Parker wide open over the middle and right in front of his face, yet Manning seemed to be looking everywhere else for an option. Questions remain as to just how healthy Rueben Randle, who got the start in Victor Cruz’s absence, really is. Randle was targeted only twice in the game, coming up with one reception for five yards,

RUSHING OFFENSE: D — Of the Giants’ 21 rushes by the running backs — quarterback Eli Manning had two of the team’s 23 total rushing yards — 13 went for two or fewer yards and five for negative yards. New York really missed journeyman tight end Daniel Fells’ run blocking, as starter Larry Donnell came up woefully short with his performance.

PASS DEFENSE: C — The Giants managed to get pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan, but the coverage had few answers for the slants the Falcons were running at will over the middle. Rookie safety Landon Collins continued to have growing pains in coverage, including his failure to touch down receiver Leonard Hankerson, who had fallen to the ground after making a catch.

RUSH DEFENSE: B –- The Falcons ran the ball only 22 times, but when they did, the Giants’ run defense was there to shut it down. New York allowed an average of 2.5 yards per rush this week, the run defense continuing to be a plus for this team. Cullen Jenkins and Robert Ayers Jr. in particular had strong showings Sunday against the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A — The special teams continues to be the Giants’ strongest unit, as they again won the starting field position battle. Kicker Josh Brown was money on his two field goal attempts and sent three of his five kickoffs deep into the end zone. Punter Brad Wing dropped three of his four punts inside of the 20, where they were covered well, and returner Dwayne Harris averaged 16.5 yards per punt return and 38.5 yards on two kickoff returns.

COACHING: D — Some of the decisions made by this coaching staff continue to be major headscratchers, such as going away from receiver Odell Beckham Jr. late in the game despite the fact that the Falcons didn’t make any adjustments on how they were defending the Giants. A rather obvious tendency emerged as whenever quarterback Eli Manning was under center, it was a run, whereas when he was in the shotgun it was a pass. Above all, the most alarming trend to emerge from the coaching perspective was the number of mental breakdowns in areas that the players should know better, such as Landon Collins’ failure to down a receiver after he hit the turf untouched. Coach Tom Coughlin usually has his players prepared and ready to go for any situation, but the sloppiness in the first two games has been rather alarming.

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