Questions Remain About Giants Offense In Win Over Pittsburgh
When it comes to the NFL preseason, I really only have one rule that I try to stick to no matter what: Don’t be too critical of the team’s perceived shortcomings, and try not to get too excited about anything. Most of the time, I don’t follow this rule. But I’m invoking it under these circumstances, because through the first two preseason games, the Giants really haven’t given us much to critique nor get excited about.
I’m well aware that the preseason is merely the highway on-ramp of the regular season, serving only as a way for teams and their players to get fully up to speed by the time Week 1 rolls around in early September. And, if you’ve ever seen the New England Patriots during the preseason in the Bill Belichick era, you’ll know that it’s not entirely uncommon for teams to show very little of their hands during these glorified scrimmages.
But what the Giants’ first-team offense showed on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers left a lot to be desired. If this was just another season under Kevin Gilbride’s offense, it would be different. We’ve already seen that offense at work — in other words, we know what we’re getting and we don’t need a sample. However, the Giants are rolling out a brand-new offense this season, and through the first two preseason games they haven’t really clued us in to how any of it will look — at least not yet.
On Saturday night, Eli Manning threw only two passes before trading the helmet for the sideline cap and an iPad. For a new offense that’s supposedly going to be an up-tempo, West Coast-style offense, I think many Giants fans would probably like to see their franchise quarterback throw more than two passes — neither of which he completed.
Now if this is all just some Belichickian plan to not show our hand and keep the big guns under wraps until the regular season, then I’m fine with it. If we’re content on rolling out Manning for a few vanilla offensive possessions and trying to avoid injuring our starters, I’m also fine with that. But something tells me that’s not the whole story. It seems to me like this new offense is taking more time than we thought to click for Manning and Co. and that makes me a little uneasy.
So we haven't seen much in the passing game so far, aside from a few screen passes and mistimed routes. Manning ran three passing plays on Saturday night against the Steelers, and they resulted in two incomplete passes and a sack. Meanwhile, the running game continued to flourish. Rashad Jennings gave Giants fans a little glimpse of his explosiveness, something we've seen from him several times in the last few seasons in Jacksonville and Oakland. He broke loose for a 73-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put the Giants on the board with a 7-3 lead. He finished his night with five carries for 85 yards, while Andre Williams put in another solid effort averaging five yards per carry in his short appearance.
Good news about the run game is certainly welcome after the last few seasons, despite the fact that the passing game remains a question mark to this point. On Saturday the new offense will get another chance to get some more reps in against the Indianapolis Colts, so hopefully we will see a little bit more than we've seen so far.