Personnel, Not Scheme, Is the Major Problem Affecting the Giants Offense

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, right, talks with wide receiver Rueben Randle during a NFL football camp in East Rutherford, N.J., Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

As we established last week, the New York Giants offense has plenty of issues. And after carefully watching four preseason performances from the first unit, it's clear that Ben McAdoo's new system isn't what's bringing these guys down. 

Sure, grasping a new offense isn't easy, but it's something that happens in multiple cities throughout the league every single August. Yet few first-team offensive units have struggled as badly as this one.

The Giants have just two touchdowns in their last three games, with quarterback Eli Manning completing only 51.4 percent of his passes while posting a pathetic 5.1 yards-per-attempt average and a passer rating of just 75.1. 

As a result, head coach Tom Coughlin is forcing his veteran starters to take snaps in the team's final preseason game Thursday night. And McAdoo himself appears to be running out of patience. The new offensive coordinator has shown his frustration in recent practices, according to Stephen Lorenzo of the New York Daily News

But why should anybody be surprised that this offense is struggling? The offensive line is in shambles, making life extra difficult for the overrated Manning and his running backs. The receiving corps is a mess with Hakeem Nicks gone and Odell Beckham yet to emerge, putting even more pressure on Manning. And there's no clear-cut starting tight end in sight. 

Right now, this is quite simply a bad offense. 

Eli Manning's top healthy weapons: career numbers
1. Victor Cruz435241362623
2. Rueben Randle24609099
3. Jerrel Jernigan33323512
4. Adrien Robinson20000
5. Larry Donnell113310
6. Kellen Davis6395056112
7. Daniel Fells6309210868
Source: Pro Football Reference

We know what Manning can and can't do. We know he's coming off a season in which he led the NFL in interceptions for the second time in four years.

At this point in his career, he needs significantly more support than he had in 2013, when the Giants averaged just 3.5 yards per carry behind a line that Pro Football Focus (subscription required) also ranked 31st in the league in terms of pass-blocking efficiency. 

But that line hasn't improved enough. Manning is still running for his life because left tackle Will Beatty was a question mark even before breaking his leg at the end of last season. He's running for his life because veteran offseason acquisition Geoff Schwartz was a walking turnstile before suffering a toe injury that will keep him out indefinitely. 

Manning's running for his life because they're giving significant playing time to scrubs like J.D. Walton (who was discarded by both the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins in recent months) and Charles Brown (who was dumped by the New Orleans Saints in favor of a rookie late last season).

With Chris Snee and David Baas gone, the interior of that line has become a joke, and it's not as though the tackles are doing much to make up for it.

Meanwhile, since being selected 12th overall in May, Beckham has barely seen the field. He's missed all four preseason games due to a nagging hamstring injury, which is a problem when you work for a conservative coach like Coughlin. 

It's become clear that Coughlin is growing frustrated with Beckham. 

While it's been encouraging to see guys like Corey Washington and Marcus Harris step up in training camp and the preseason, neither has an NFL catch. With Nicks gone, that puts a lot of pressure on Rueben Randle to at least temporarily become Manning's No. 2 weapon beyond Victor Cruz, but the jury remains completely out on Randle.

And on top of that, they'll be forced to go to a tight end committee, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But it's kind of concerning that none of the tight ends on the roster was able to emerge throughout training camp and the preseason. 

From Paul Schwartz of the New York Post

Tom Coughlin admitted the Giants do not have one player who can be considered a complete tight end and so it will have to be a tight end by committee. “I really think there will be a group of guys that will play that will help us in different situations and try to be matched up according to circumstance,’’ Coughlin said.

Right now, with Snee, Baas, Nicks and Brandon Myers gone and with Schwartz, Beckham, Beatty and Brandon Mosley hobbling, it's hard to argue that this offense is any better off than it was a year ago. And that's a scary thought. 


Brad Gagnon has covered the NFC East for Bleacher Report since 2012.