There is no denying it, the Ben McAdoo’s New York Giants were one of the worst offensive teams in the league in 2016.
For the most part, the blame has been on the man at the helm of the offense, Eli Manning. A quarterback is an easy scapegoat, especially a 36-year-old quarterback who has started to show signs of declining.
However, if one were to look at the tape from 2016, one would see that it was not Eli’s fault.
It was a multitude of issues that caused the offense to be one of the league’s worst. After all, not too long ago in 2015, the Giants had the sixth-best scoring offense in the league.
In Ben McAdoo‘s first season as head coach, he decided to make a bold decision and continued to call the offensive plays. As a result of that, the Giants had one of the plainest vanilla offenses in the league. They ran the most of their plays in the 11 personnel. In fact, over 90 percent of their offensive plays were run out of the 11 personnel. This is an offensive set in which there is one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers.
There are a few reasons why the offense was so plain in 2016. Perhaps Ben McAdoo was overwhelmed by being the head coach as well as calling the plays. That is understandable as he was one of the youngest head coaches in the history of the New York Giants.
Another key factor that affected the offense was the personnel.
The Giants did not have a tight end that was able to effectively block. Their tight ends consisted of Larry Donnell, Will Tye and Jerell Adams. They were all among the worst in the league at blocking at the tight end position. Due to this, the Giants were limited in the offensive formations that they could be in. Believe it or not, all of the tight ends had worse run blocking grades than Ereck Flowers.
Luckily for Eli Manning and the Giants offense, Jerry Reese and the front office binged on tight end Rhett Ellison. He is seen as primarily a blocking tight end and he can even operate as a fullback. With the addition of this one player, Ben McAdoo acquired a piece that can change the entire offense for the better.
This was before Reese went out in the first round and drafted Evan Engram, a tight end from Ole Miss. In New York, Engram will be able to hopefully hook up for some touchdowns with another Ole Miss alumni in Eli Manning. The tight end adds another dimension to the offense, that was previously lacked. Not since the years of Martellus Bennett have the New York Giants had a capable tight end. That all changed after the 23rd overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Ole Miss product is considered more of a glorified slot receiver more than a tight end. However, after signing their blocking tight end in Ellison, the Giants were able to find a tight end that could open up the passing game. That is exactly what Engram is expected to do. In a conference with some of the best tight ends in the league, the Giants realized that they were lagging behind and needed to make a change.
Opposing defenses were able to easily gameplan against the New York Giants offense. With three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back on the field over 90 percent of the time, defensive coordinators were not losing any sleep. In addition, the tight ends on the roster were not the most dynamic players.
When discussing the Giants offense, one must mention Odell Beckham Jr. and the wide receiving corps.
Odell is one of the most popular players in the game and his play backs that up. But so far, the Giants have failed to find a non-slot receiver that can compliment him.
It appears as though the man has been found when Brandon Marshall was signed to a two year deal. Yes, this is the same Brandon Marshall that has been a perianal pro bowler and one of the best wide receivers of the decade.
What is most important about Marshall is not his past, it is his game. He may be 33-years-old, but his game is one that transcends age. He is a physical presence at wide receiver, able to bully smaller cornerbacks, and win against larger ones.
After a 2016 season that did not go as planned for Marshall with the crosstown rival New York Jets, he was released. He was quickly scooped up by the G-Men.
In addition to B-Marsh and Odell, in the slot is Sterling Shepard. He had a great rookie season and was able to snag eight touchdowns. He runs great routes and should find himself more open in 2017 due to the talent around him.
What has not been talked about much has been the Giants running game.
Paul Perkins is going to be the starter there, building off of a impressive rookie campaign. He is a shifty back that can be relied upon on third down both in the passing game and running the rock.
Yet it is more likely that Shane Vereen will be the third down back on passing downs, as that is his speciality. After being injured most of 2016, it will be interesting to see what former New England will be able to bring to the table.
Wayne Gallman from Clemson, the Giants fourth round selection, will also have an opportunity to get a few carries. He is projected as the power back out of all of the backs. He will get the chance to be the Brandon Jacobs to Paul Perkins Ahmad Bradshaw.
When taking a look at the offense, one needs to look at the offensive line. The team will only go as far as the line will carry them. It remains to be seen whether the line will be any better than it was in 2016 when it was one of the worst in the league.
When Eli gets the time in the pocket he should be one of the best in the game. After all, one cannot manage to double Odell, Marshall, Shepard and Engram all at once.
Watch out opposing defenses, if the offensive line is at least league average, the Giants will once again be an offensive juggernaut.