Last year, the Giants offense looked lost without Plaxico Burress when Eli Manning was asked to try and carry the unit. I want to be a football coach one day, so I am going to give my opinion of how to operate the passing game without a true No. 1 WR.
The Giants need to come out in a Spread Shotgun, with TE Kevin Boss lined up either in a three point stance or standing up acting as the "Y" WR while being on the line.
To that same side, should be "Z" receiver Hakeem Nicks. The key to this right side needs to spread out the distance between Boss and Nicks. Also the Giants can use rookie TE Travis Beckum as the "Y" receiver, because of his ability to stretch the field. If the Giants have a TE who can stretch the field it can open up routes such as slants and posts for the "Z" receiver.
On the other side, the Giants should use Domenick Hixon split out, on the line of scrimmage with WR Steve Smith lined up in the slot. The Giants can then try and run short to intermediate routes, with Smith on intermediate to deep routes with Hixon.
The idea of using three WR and a receiving TE can spread opposing defenses out so they can't key in on one WR without leaving others open. With Plaxico Burress in the line up, teams would double him regardless, thus opening up the middle of the field for Steve Smith.
This idea will allow the passing game to thrive, but if the passing game is established with this formation, draw plays and screens can start to open up.
The running back (whether it be Jacobs, Bradshaw, or Ware) should be lined up to the strong side (in this case, with a balanced formation, to the throwing arm side of the QB). The draw play can open up if teams have to commit extra defensive backs to try and cover all four receivers.
If none of this works, the Giants can go back to their bread and butter, which is following Brandon Jacobs and the dominant OL up the middle and trying to out-muscle the opposing defenses.
I hope some of these thoughts make sense.
Originally posted at blognyg.com