Double- and triple-check the math in disbelief, but it all adds up correctly.
Pro Bowl running back plus three playmaking receivers plus recent first-round draft picks at quarterback, tight end and left tackle plus offensive line three years in the making equals … 12.7 points per game.
It seemed three weeks ago like winning shootouts to compensate for an underwhelming defense was the surest path to success for the Giants. Now? Only the Jets (12.3) boast a lower-scoring offense.
“I wouldn’t have believed you if you said we’re only going to score 12 points a game,” center Nick Gates admitted.
Corrections must start with the run-blocking: The Giants are last in the league in rushing yards per carry (3.2) and per game (56.7). Production was poor with five quarters of the elusive back Saquon Barkley and it’s bottomed out since he suffered a season-ending torn ACL and left the job to Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis.
“We just have to make holes,” Gates said. “Even when Saquon was in there, holes weren’t there. There’s still guys falling off blocks and still guys making plays. Even if Saquon was in there, who knows what would happen. As an offensive line, we have to sustain and finish.”
Quarterback Daniel Jones has led the Giants in rushing in two of the first three games, but his read-option-keeper ability is now on tape and no longer a surprise. The Giants had a run-block win rate of 66 percent — No. 26 in the league, according to ESPN — through two weeks and it’s only sinking after a 36-9 loss to the 49ers.
“I like the urgency they come to work with every day,” coach Joe Judge said of his line. “There are things we have to improve on, and we have to get moving fast on that.”
It’s not that offensive line coach Marc Colombo forgot how to teach since leaving the All-Pro-stacked line of Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin with the Cowboys. The Giants are not executing.
“We’re pissed off,’ Gates said. “We want to be better. We don’t want to go out there and lose. We don’t want to go out there and not run the ball. We put a lot of effort and a lot of work into learning the defense. It is frustrating when you can’t run the ball and you can’t protect well.”
Without Barkley to bail out a sputtering offense with his home run ability — an NFL-best 10 runs of 40-plus yards over the past two seasons — the Giants face a serious problem. If this is the best they muster on the ground, defenses will jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and send blitzers at Jones, leaving him susceptible to stunted growth.
“We have to work to be a balanced team,” Judge said. “There are a lot of times right now we have to make sure the yin and the yang factor out for each other.”
NFL Network film analyst Brian Baldinger highlighted a specific breakdown of the missing fundamentals. Left tackle Andrew Thomas and left guard Will Hernandez’s failure to get foot-to-foot and shoulder-to-shoulder to execute a double-team block on an inside-zone run led to Gallman’s no gain on the first snap against the 49ers.
“When the Giants do this on a consistent basis,” Baldinger said on Twitter, “I don’t care if it’s Gallman or whoever they’ve got there, they will gain yards. That’s what it comes down to.”
Could the Giants make personnel changes? Inserting rookies Shane Lemieux or Matt Peart isn’t likely to provide an immediate boost. Moving Gates to right tackle to play center Spencer Pulley at the expense of the struggling Cam Fleming would undo months of developmental time invested in Gates learning a new position.
“We spent the day reviewing the tape as a staff,” Judge said. “We’ll go through the rest of this week in terms of how guys are implementing the plan we put ahead for the Rams, and we’ll see who the best guys are to put on the field.”
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article