Just 10 first downs and three points were all the New York Giants offense had to show from their Sunday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys, a display of ineptness that has cast a shadow of doubt over a promising season. There’s already talk that all the hopes of returning to the playoffs and challenging for the NFC East are up in smoke.
Oh, and it is only Week 2.
What was supposed to be the calling card of this Giants team instead sputtered and stuttered to start the year, building on a preseason where the offense showed very little life.
Now with the offensive line looking no better than a year ago (perhaps even worse) and the extreme difficulty moving the ball let alone with the running game, the Giants have to improve and move the chains in Week 2.
Theoretically, things should only get better as the Giants offense was tied for the second-fewest points scored a week ago throughout the league. They also do have a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Eli Manning and some talent at tight end and wide receiver, even if Odell Beckham Jr. is forced to miss another game due to injury.
Manning was quick to caution that “it can always get worse” but he was optimistic on Wednesday that they can turn things around.
“Yeah. In the first game, we didn’t do well. It’s part of losing a game. You’re going to analyze and you can’t get too sensitive after the first game. You’re going to get coached up and there are things we can clean up, for sure, but you can’t get defensive, can’t get sensitive,” Manning said. “You just have to be confident in what you’re doing, understand what you need to fix and then go play fast.”
Especially worrisome for the Giants was their 35 yards rushing on Sunday night, a number that must improve if they are going to have any semblance of a balanced offense.
The pieces are certainly there for the Giants to do well. If Beckham returns and is healthy, he is a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver if not one of the most dangerous threats in the league. There is also an outstanding veteran in Brandon Marshall and second-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who has the ability to break plays.
All that matters little if Manning is under constant pressure, as he was against the Cowboys. He was sacked three times but the pocket was constantly collapsing around him, forcing him to make premature throws before his receivers’ routes were finished.
“I mean Dallas did some things that I would say caught us off guard up front. At the end of the day, they are still doing the same things that they have always done,” guard Justin Pugh said. “There were a few wrinkles that they threw in there, which obviously is going to happen in Week 1. There were a few plays that were if one guy messed up like I said earlier, I don’t know if you got it over here or I said that, but yeah.”