The Giants’ offense heads into their Thursday night matchup with the Washington Redskins short on explosive plays downfield.
Head coach Tom Coughlin has bemoaned that fact following each of the last two games, as aside from Odell Beckham Jr.’s 67-yard catch and run against the Falcons, Big Blue has failed to scare opponents with big-play potential.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has noted as such, saying that both Dallas and Atlanta played a lot of “single-high coverage” where there’s only one safety deep, daring an offense to try and get behind them – and so far, the Giants’ receiving corps as a whole has failed.
The fact that Beckham has been the only real deep threat has not been lost on McAdoo, who hopes others step up against an aggressive Washington secondary that’s only yielding 164 passing yards per game.
“It’s not always going to be easy getting Odell the ball. He’s a guy that can change a game in a blink of an eye, so of course teams plan for him,” said McAdoo. “We need to do a good job of finding others to step up. We can’t just force the ball to him. If they’re going to double him, we’ll need to take advantage of the one-on-ones [with the other receivers]. There will be times when we’ll be able to take deep shots down the field, but we need to be smart about it.”
Beckham has been the only reliable wide receiver option so far this season – which is already beginning to mirror last season’s trend. His 12 catches for 190 yards dwarfs his fellow wideouts, as only running back Shane Vereen can match his output (12 catches for 122 yards).
The next most productive wideout on the roster was Preston Parker (five catches for 43 yards), but he was released on Tuesday due to the fact he had as many drops as receptions.
Rookie Geremy Davis had gotten close to Parker during the early parts of his maiden campaign, as the two were locker mates and constantly talked football. But now that Parker is no longer on the team, the Giants are hoping that the former UConn star can pick up the slack and help alleviate some of the pressure on Beckham against Washington.
Davis has made one catch for five yards thus far this season, following a stellar preseason in which he tallied 11 catches for 132 yards. A spike in responsibility could be a daunting task, but according to quarterback Eli Manning, he has no choice but to be ready.
“He’s going to have to be [ready]. We are going to need some guys to step up, need some guys to make some plays. We’ve been moving guys around,” said Manning, who noted Parker’s old slot position is up for auction. “Rueben [Randle] is one to move around some, get him playing different spots. Guys are prepared for that … We should be in good shape.”
Randle agreed and believes he will be in a better position to make plays, Thursday night, because like all Giants receivers, he noted can play multiple positions.
“I’m moving around a lot more now. I think this Thursday I’ll be in the slot. We’ve just got to see how it goes. I’m preparing myself for anything, and try to make as many plays as possible,” said Randle, who hopes to improve on his one-catch, five-yard performance against the Falcons. “I’ve been staying on the outside mostly, so this game may present some opportunities for me to move to the slot. I’ve been getting more reps in the slot this week. We’ll see how it goes.”
Victor Cruz (calf) is likely a no-go again, so that means the Giants will need everyone to chip in and help out Beckham.
Davis is also confident that he can help, despite his scant experience.
“I feel I had a good week of practice,” Davis said. “I’m just keep taking it one day at a time. And once the game comes, Lord willing, go out there and do my best.”
With the Pope coming to town, maybe the Lord’s will could help the neophyte actually make an impact for a Giants’ passing attack that’s so far been a one-man show.