New York Giants second-year head coach Ben McAdoo had no problem throwing quarterback Eli Manning under the bus for the delay of game penalty on a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line in the third quarter of Monday’s loss to the Detroit Lions but refrained from commenting on left tackle Ereck Flower’s poor play.
There’s no question Manning deserve to shoulder some of the blame for New York’s anemic offense through the first two weeks of the 2017 season, but to really get to the bottom of New York’s offensive struggles, the head coach should be looking at himself and the front office.
McAdoo led Big Blue to a postseason appearance and a 11-5 record in his first season as New York’s head coach, but it was the Giants second-ranked scoring defense that led the way.
The Giants defense took a massive step forward in 2016 due to general manager Jerry Reese’s free agent acquisitions Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, and Damon Harrison during the 2016 offseason, but his inability to address New York’s biggest weaknesses ahead of the 2017 season has led to one of the league’s worst offenses.
It was no secret that the Giants offensive line and ground game were the two biggest question marks following a wild-card round exit in the playoffs last year, but instead of addressing the issue the Giants front office and coaching staff decided to stick their heads in the sand.
Now just two weeks into the season the Giants have the NFL’s worst rushing attack in terms of yards and have found no solutions as to how to fix the problem surrounding the offensive line.
Reese left Giants fans scratching their heads when he took a tight end, a defensive tackle, and a quarterback with the first three selections in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the decision to skip on offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk and Cam Robinson surely looks like a mistake at this point.
While rookie tight end Evan Engram brings another dynamic weapon to New York’s offense, the Giants inability to protect Manning as well as sell play-action passes has left New York’s weapons almost useless.
Of all people, Reese should understand what has led to New York’s success during the Manning-era, a great defense and a ground game.
The Giants had the NFL’s fourth-best rushing attack in 2007 when they won the Super Bowl, and while they finished at the bottom of the league in rushing in 2011, they still recorded the sixth most rushing touchdowns (17) in the NFL that season. The Giants also averaged over 116 yards on the ground in their postseason run to the franchise’s fourth Lombardi Trophy and allowed Manning time in the pocket to find receivers like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham downfield.
The Giants started the 2007 season 0-2 before winning a huge road game against the Washington Redskins with a goal-line stand in the final minute, but this year’s team does not have David Diehl, Shaun O’Hara, and Chris Snee along the offensive line.
The Giants offense is based off a short passing attack under McAdoo, but the one question surrounding the team entering this season was can they gain one-yard on the ground if needed.
The answer has been a resounding no through two games, as New York’s offensive line can’t budge an opposing defense on clear running plays or for that matter even when it isn’t a clear running situation.
For that reason the Giants early offensive struggles clearly fall on the shoulders of Reese and McAdoo. New York’s general manager did nothing to address the weaknesses this offseason, while their “offensive guru” head coach continues to put his 36-year-old quarterback under constant duress with his offensive game plan.
Manning has already been sacked eight times in two games, and opposing defenses will continue to disrespect New York’s ground game as long as it’s non-existent.
The Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and Carolina Panthers all addressed their offensive lines this offseason, and while not perfect, the improvements on the field speak for themselves.
Reese’s decision to not upgrade the offensive line both in the draft and free agency has come and gone and now the responsibility falls on McAdoo, as the G-Men look to avoid a 0-3 start.