Monday night will be the first time New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will be able to test run all the weapons in his arsenal.
A star-studded supporting cast will be debuted on Monday night when the Giants face the Cleveland Browns as Manning and several veterans did not feature in their first preseason game, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The offseason addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall via free agency and tight end Evan Engram, a first-round pick out of Ole Miss, gives the Giants what potentially might be one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
They join an already potent group of talent including Manning, twice a Super Bowl MVP, as well as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., arguably the best at his position in the entire NFL.
Sprinkle in young talents such as running back Paul Perkins and wide receiver Sterling Shepard and there is a tremendous upside for this group of playmakers.
Monday night will be the initial taste of this team’s ceiling as an offense as they integrate several key pieces.
“I think any time you get some live game exposure, you are trying to get on the same page as your receivers… Make sure everybody is sound in our communication and we are all on the same page, doing the right things,” Manning said. “And for the first time in eight months, it is live. Now I know that these guys can hit me, they can tackle me, they can go at me. So I think that getting used to that, feeling things in the pocket, not looking at the rush, but feeling the rush and buying a little extra time or moving in the pocket and finding a completion.”
The potential is there for the Giants offense to be great. So too is the possibility of this collection of talent being one giant headache.
Marshall and Beckham are both used to being the top target for their respective teams, meaning that there may not be enough balls to go around. These are big play receivers, used to putting up big numbers.
In his first three years in the league, Beckham has topped 1,000 receiving yards each season and has earned three trips to the Pro Bowl.
It wasn’t that long ago that Marshall was putting up a 1,000-yard season for the Jets in 2015 and is a potential selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
That’s a lot of talent that will demand the ball. If the Giants are winning, chances are everyone will be happy.
If they struggle, then things could get ugly in the locker room given the personalities involved.
“I haven’t thought about it yet, so I think you want to get everybody involved. I think that’s good and that’s when we’ll be at our best, when we have all the guys getting catches, feeling involved in the offense,” Manning said. “But you can’t get overly concerned with if someone doesn’t have a catch, then you have to go out of your way to force a throw to them and that’s going to affect the team. I’d like to have everybody have eight catches in a game, all the receivers. It’s not going to happen, but you never know. They all have to be ready and they have to get open.”