How Will The Giants' Wide Receivers Adjust To The New Offense?
In case you missed this news the first few times around, the New York Giants will be heading into the 2014 NFL season with a brand new offense led by a brand new offensive coordinator. This will be QB Eli Manning's third different offensive coordinator since coming into the league. However, his relatively young group of wide receivers will really be tested this season as they learn to adapt to the newer, faster-paced offensive scheme.
The Giants’ new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo comes to New York from a Green Bay Packers team that had a very potent offense in 2013. With a passing game that was ranked sixth overall in the league last season, the Packers had the third-best total offense in the league and proved time and time again that they were capable of putting points on the board and spreading the field with their many weapons. Now, while you may argue that Manning is no Aaron Rodgers — and you'd be right, he's not — like Liam Neeson's character in the movie “Taken”, he does have his own very particular set of skills that should allow him to excel in McAdoo's West Coast offense.
So how do Manning's weapons at the wide receiver position stack up against what Rodgers had to work with in Green Bay? Well, comparing the Packers' top three wide receivers going into 2014 — Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin — with the Giants' top three wide receivers going into 2014 — Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. — it's clear that there are a number of similarities between the two. Cruz and Nelson are very close in terms of the type of skill set that they're both able to bring to the offense. Both are excellent possession receivers who can play the middle of the field and also have the breakaway speed needed to stretch the field and go deep if needed.
Meanwhile, the Giants are hoping that Beckham, despite being a rookie, can be their own version of the Packers' Cobb, a playmaker who can torch defenses with big-play speed and break games open on special teams as well. Although it's still yet to be determined exactly how the Giants will utilize Beckham in the offense, he has the potential to be a huge difference-maker in the passing game.
Boykin surprised a lot of people last season with 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers' third wide receiver, numbers that were eerily similar to those of the Giants' Randle. In his second season in the league, Randle notched 41 catches for 611 yards and six touchdowns last season in what was his breakout season as a productive member of the Giants’ offense. Now competing for the No. 2 wide receiver role, the Giants hope that Randle will have an even bigger impact this season
Of course, the Giants made another addition to their wide receiver corps this offseason, bringing back a familiar face in Mario Manningham, who spent two seasons away from New York after firmly entrenching himself in New York Giants lore during Super Bowl XLVI. Manningham's return to the team after two mostly unproductive seasons in San Francisco means that Manning will be gaining another target, not to mention a target that he is already very comfortable with — something that should only add to the Giants' offensive firepower this season.