Anonymous AFC Scout on Giants Offense: 'Pray for Injuries and Bad Weather'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley works out during NFL football training camp, Thursday, July 26, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Equipped with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. at wideout and highly touted rookie Saquon Barkley at running back, the New York Giants are shaping up to be one of the NFL's best offenses—and opposing teams are taking notice.

"Pray for injuries and bad weather," an AFC scout told Matt Lombardo of NJ.com when asked for his team's strategy against the Giants.

Barkley, the second pick in April's draft, is arguably the most talented player in a recent group of first-round running backs that includes Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. The Penn State product is expected to bring a level of dynamism out of the backfield that was sorely lacking last season, when a Giants team with high expectations finished 3-13.

Beckham, who reported to camp despite not having a new contract, missed 12 games last season because of ankle and leg injuries. He had recorded at least 90 receptions, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons.

The Giants also added tackle Nate Solder (free agency) and guard Will Hernandez (draft) to the offensive line while returning wideout Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram. Engram showed flashes of being an elite pass-catcher at the tight end spot during his rookie campaign.

"They should be a good team if they stay healthy," the scout said. "There's just too many weapons that can stretch the field vertically, from Odell Beckham to Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. Then you add in Saquon Barkley, and he can do some serious damage as well."

Perhaps the biggest question mark on the offense is at quarterback, with Eli Manning coming off the worst season of his career. Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo benched Manning last November, a move that ended Manning's consecutive starts streak at 210 and ultimately helped lead to McAdoo's expedited firing.

But it's not hard to see why McAdoo wanted to make a move. Manning finished with 3,468 yards and 19 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 2017. His 80.4 quarterback rating tied for 25th among starters, and Football Outsiders' DVOA ranked him 23rd at the position.

Heading into his age-37 season, Manning is arguably the only thing that can hold back this Giants offense besides injuries and bad weather.