Through two weeks of the NFL season, the offense for the New York Giants has failed to take off. There are myriad of issues standing in the way of this unit’s success, but what has been the main culprit?
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So much has gone wrong for the New York Giants in just two weeks of the 2017 NFL season, it is hard to pinpoint what their biggest problem has been.
The offensive line!
But the running backs stink!
No, it’s the coaching and playcalling!
No way, Eli Manning is washed up!
Don’t forget Odell Beckham’s injury!
The easiest problem to target has been the absence and then diminished output of Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham suffered an ankle sprain during the preseason that kept him out of Week 1’s contest. He returned to the lineup in Week 2, playing sparingly and not looking like his game-breaking self. Any offense without its best player will suffer. The Giants are more susceptible than others to this. Beckham is that much better than everyone else on the New York offense. The unit also relied heavily on him, both in terms of targets his way and the way he shaped and affected opposing coverage.
Without Beckham and then with a hobbled version of him, the Giants needed to adjust their scheme. That comes down to the formations used, plays called, and execution of Manning behind center.
Through two weeks, none of that went right. Formations were varied, especially compared with last season, but the running game couldn’t generate any production. Meanwhile, all passing plays were designed to be short and behind the sticks. Coach Ben McAdoo even criticized Manning for a pass he threw down the field in Week 1, saying the proper play would have been to check down.
Checking down only gets an offense so far. That isn’t on Manning, though his output has also been lacking. He has missed a few throws each game to open receivers. In another point of criticism from his coach, he failed to get a play called before a delay of game on a fourth down last week. Although, referring back to play calling, a field goal seemed like the superior option in that instance, even if the team had gotten the ball snapped on time.
Every shortcoming is a mixture of small and multiple failures. And it seems plausible that every shortcoming also comes back to one facet: the offensive line.
If the offensive line could block, a running game could make up for Beckham’s absence. A solid line could give Manning more time, where he wouldn’t have to be bailing out on plays so often and taking dives in the backfield. If the line could block, passing routes could matriculate further down the field as well. Everything comes back to the line.
New York has issues beyond line play, but line play leads to every other issue. Beckham will hopefully be healthy and ready to play a full complement of snaps beginning in Week 3. That gives Manning his main weapon back. That gives the defense someone they have to plan against. It opens up McAdoo’s playbook. And yet, if the offense struggles again against the Philadelphia Eagles, it will be because of the offensive line.
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Todd Salem is a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also the New York Giants Lead Writer at Pro Football Spot, a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, and a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, among others. Follow him on Twitter.
Additional New York Giants photo courtesy of metro.us