The Giants ended last season scoring 21 points or more in all of their final six games, showing that they finally got the hang of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new-look offense. That should be considered a great accomplishment, considering the offense sputtered to start the season by scoring 21 points or less in six of their first 10 contests.
But for McAdoo, staying stagnant and patting themselves on their collective backs is a “loser mentality” -- which is why the second-year coordinator has put the foot to the pedal in accelerating the ascension of mastering his complicated playbook.
“We like to chase execution here, which is why when looking back [to last season], there isn’t a lot that I am real happy about,” McAdoo said. “I do think that the last six games we started to play the way that we wanted to play … We just have to start where we left off.”
Quarterback Eli Manning particularly finished strong, and he’s looking to use these organized team activities (OTAs) as a building block in his helping his play ascend. Even with two Super Bowl MVPs and a decorated Giants’ career where he’s arguably the best to play his position in franchise history, Manning agreed with McAdoo that the offense should be even better – and these OTAs are just the place to keep up the momentum, even if they’re glorified two-hand touch sessions.
Head coach Tom Coughlin noted how well the team is gelling during the little time they’ve had so far together.
“The familiarity in installing different variations is obvious, because there’s a lot of information being thrown at them, and they seem to be handling it well,” Coughlin said. “These guys have done well getting it all down.”
One guy who wasn’t able to work out was wideout Odell Beckham Jr., as he sat out due to a sore hamstring.
But while Big Blue fans try to catch their breath, it’s not the same hamstring issue that sidelined the stellar wideout for all of last offseason and the first four regular season games.
Coughlin quickly dispelled any trepidation that it’s anything serious, noting “it’s not the same issue that was problematic last year … Just precautionary.”
What should be a problem is how well the Giants’ passing game should be this upcoming season. Granted there’s no real contact or full pads, but for Manning, he sees a unit that’s improving daily in tempo, execution, and knowledge of the offense with each session.
“I think you can still simulate the real speed, [even though] you can’t have certain techniques by the defense, [like] press [coverage]. So you don’t get all those things. But it’s still good to be out there, having a defense and having a rush and feeling the pocket for me,” Manning said. “No hitting, but you can have a pass rush and you have guys in your face, so you have to find windows and find lanes and make smart decisions. That’s important. It’s a good thing to work on these next few weeks.”
Manning also reasoned that having another offseason to work on the nuances of McAdoo’s offense is significant, too.
“It’s important and good we had that last month, too,” Manning said. “Coming in and watching the film, talking a lot about the mechanics, the footwork, being able to go outside and work a lot of drill work has been good. … This year, I understand the concepts. I’m still working on it, but I’m concentrating on the footwork and the mechanics and the timing of everything. It was great to have that this year and kind of get back to the basics of everything. I feel comfortable, I feel real good right now.”
Newcomer Shane Vereen played for the Super Bowl-winning Patriots last season, so he knows a thing or two about high-octane offenses. The multi-faceted running back said there’s comparative talent on Big Blue.
“I think this offense has a lot of talent and a lot of weapons. And hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage of it all,” Vereen said. “We have so much talent that we can play off each other, and all play well, so hopefully we’ll come together quickly and do just that.”
Big Blue notes:
- Punter Steve Weatherford was involved in a car crash, early Monday morning, but was in attendance at today’s OTA.
- Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. (lateral ankle sprain) and tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis) joined Beckham on the sidelines. Linebacker Jon Beason (cancelled flight) also didn’t attend.
- Wideout Victor Cruz (torn patella tendon) put in his work individually with the training staff in the corner of the fieldhouse. The Giants brought in former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long for a visit and workout, late last week. The team is in need of an extra tackle following the Will Beatty injury, but no deal was signed.
- The offensive line shuffle has been in full effect during OTAs, as veteran newcomer Marshall Newhouse and rookie Ereck Flowers have manned the right and left tackle spots, respectively.
- Brett Jones, a Canadian Football League import, will get a long look to play either guard spot or center during OTAs. Jones, 6-foot-2 and 315 pounds, played for the CFL champion Calgary Stampeders last season.
- Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said he’s gained about 20 pounds of muscle – up to 208 pounds, as he played at 190 last season.