Shane Vereen is sidelined, and the time for Ben McAdoo and the New York Giants to fix the running game is now.
When the New York Giants brought Ben McAdoo in as offensive coordinator in 2014, he was hailed as the guy to ‘fix’ Eli Manning.
McAdoo had the fortune of coaching Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. For frustrated Giants fans, getting Rodgers’s QB coach was as invigorating as drafting Odell Beckham Jr. This guy was in Green Bay, he’ll fix Big Blue’s offense.
Well, yes and no. Not everyone is Aaron Rodgers. Eli’s numbers are up, but McAdoo’s run philosophy has been uneven at best. The Giants’ rushing attack has ranked in the bottom half of the NFL since. They finished 23rd in 2014, 19th in 2015, and are 19th so far this season, McAdoo’s first as head coach. The results: two 6-10 seasons.
Things won’t get any easier with Shane Vereen out indefinitely. McAdoo prefers the Vereen prototype – smallish, shifty pass-catching backs – over workhorse Rashad Jennings. That’s where he’s wrong.
Jennings led the NFL in rushing from Week 14 last season to Week 2 in 2016. McAdoo, unmoved, plans on the dreaded “by committee” approach to replace Vereen, according to Jordan Ranaan of ESPN.
The Giants committed to the run last week against the Washington Redskins with great success. With Jennings inactive, Vereen gashed Washington’s defense to help open a comfortable lead early, despite his second lost fumble of the year; fumbles you’d assume the sturdier Jennings avoids.
Orleans Darkwa also found room. Then Giants, inexplicably, went away from the run late. Two bad Manning interceptions later and…you know the rest.
Potential replacement Bobby Rainey is a change-of-pace, Vereen-type back with his own ball-security issues. It’s time to let Jennings shoulder the load and get Paul Perkins in the mix. Smash-mouth football was the calling card of Giants’ teams in past decades because it works.
McAdoo’s offense tends to get “cute” too often, dinking and dunking out of spread sets instead of using Jennings to wear down defenses. Big Blue has to find out what Perkins, the rookie Paul Schwartz of the NY Post compares to Tiki Barber, can do.