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Burning Question: Should the Giants Now Be A Pass First Team?

When I thought of this question I thought it could definitely go both ways and there are reasons to argue for both. So let’s get straight to it.

Reasons why the Giants Should be a Pass First Team

The N.F.L. has become a shell of what it was as far is it goes to promoting tough physical football. Sure there is still a great level of physicality, but almost all of the rules focus on promoting offensive growth. The 5 yard chuck rule, pass interferences (even when a player doesn’t touch the other player at all he can still be called for “face guarding” a player) and roughing the passer rules like the Tom Brady rule have made it tougher for defenses to shut down oppositions passing games.

Passing has become easier in the modern day N.F.L. and teams can take advantage of that.

The Passing Trend has become a winning trend

Coaches still preach balance, but it is more than possible to have a dominating passing game and an average run game and win big time. In fact, most of the teams in the last three Superbowls were much better passing teams than running team. Last year Saints and Colts were both very good passing teams (though the Saints could also run), the Cardinals and Steelers the year before were better passing teams (though that kills Steelers fans to admit to that) and the Patriots in 2007 were a better passing team than running team. The only team that would be considered a very good running team and a pretty good passing team would be the 2007 NY Giants.

Teams can now win passing the ball.

The Giants have a wealth of talent at WR

Hakeem Nicks led the league in yards after the catch per reception last year (according to profootballfocus.com).

Mario Manningham is another player who can take a short pass and take it the distance and Bradshaw is dangerous in the open field as well.

The Giants for the first time in a long time, if ever, have players who can make a  lot happen even if the ball doesn’t travel far down the field.

Teams who are going to be PASS-First teams HAVE To have guys who can rack up the yards after the catch. The Key to being a dominant pass first team is being able to pass short and long and to make sure that you can still move the chains with regularity. It requires using the short passing game as a supplement to a running game.

The Giants have the kind of WR who can make this happen. Even though Steve Smith doesn’t have the breakway abilities of Manningham and Nicks he does catch a lot of short passes which can help control the game clock.

The Giants also have Bradshaw and Beckum who could be used very effectively in a short passing game.

So the Giants could become a pass first team, but they’d have to alter their offensive M.O.

The Giants have a franchise QB

I’ve argued many times that Eli Manning is elite or borderline elite QB (elite being top 5 in the league) because I believe his numbers have suffered from the type of offense the Giants play which is ground pound and then taking shots down the field (long play action passes). Those kind of offenses don’t lend themselves to high completion percentages and low INT numbers. The Giants have a pretty risky air offense to be honest.

If the Giants were to be a pass first team though I believe that Eli’s could keep his completion percentage at 65% if the Giants were to run an offense similiar to Green Bay or Arizonas short crossing pattern ball control offenses letting Manningham and Nicks make plays with their feet after they hauled in passes.

As Jesse Cassel says in support of being a pass first team:

Personally I would love to see the giants be pass first, we have the weapons and Eli is in the prime of his career so why not, it’s a pass first league we gotta keep up with the times. Brian, the Saints don’t have a top 5 receiver but there pass first, if you spread the ball around and you have a dependable quarterback and have a solid receiving corp you can be an air it out pass first team

Eli is also a smart Quarterback and doesn’t take a lot of sacks.

Eli rarely takes huge drive crushing sacks becuase he is holding onto the ball too long (he usually gets blindsided by a rushing defensive end or linebacker). Eli is very smart at the line of scrimmage and puts the Giants into the right position quite often which would be important if the Giants were going to pass more often.

Reasons why the Giants should Have a balance or more run oriented offense

First and foremost to me is the issue of ball control.

Offenses who can stay on the field a long time help out their defense tremendously in terms of keeping points down. Offenses that score very quickly (like the Colts for instance) put an insane amount of pressure on their defenses to stay on the field for long periods of the game or to get right back on the field after they just got off the field. Now, the Giants supposedly have enough depth along the defensive lines to not wear down, but teams who can keep their offense on the field for a long time have a better chance of keeping points down and thus having a better chance of winning more often.

Helping out the defense by running more is reason #1 against why the Giants should be a pass first team.

Astute commenter Jeremy said,

Running the ball rests the D keeping them fresh to make big plays. Running also limits mistakes, when we ran the ball well in ‘08 we only had 13 turnovers thats amazing.

Furthermore we don’t want to risk Elisha getting injured. The more the Giants pass the greater the likelihood for (sacks).

I didn’t even write about Eli getting injured, but he is right.

The Giants play in the Meadowlands

The Giants play in a windy (well have to see how it changes with the new stadium) unforgiving stadium to pass the ball in. It also gets cold and it’s better if you can beat up the opposition through the ground game than it is if you pass a lot in the cold (in my own opinion people can feel free to disagree with that)

Eli’s strengths are not passing into the wind so one could argue running more would help out the Giants QB.

The Offensive line is built for a more traditional running game.

A lot of the offensive lines in the league for pass heavy teams have quicker nimbler pass blocking offensive linemen, the Giants do not. Although William Beatty might become that David Diehl, Rich Suebert and Kareem McKenzie are more of “let’s run you over knock your teeth out offensive linemen”. I’m not sure that passing a lot will put Diehl in the best position to protect Eli Manning.

Now, if Will Beatty wins the starting LT (left tackle; I know us Giants fans go straight into Lawrence Taylor for LT abbreviations) job that could change.

Its the Giants identity

I think this is the biggest reason why fans want to see the Giants continue to pound it out. It’s their identity and it’s in the Giants tradition: as Brian Zaderecki said in our comments:

 NEVER!!! Big Blue is defense and ball control, pound it! I feel if we ever get a top 5 receiver then we can revisit this question”

 but I think this is the least important reason to not be a pass first team.

Conclussion

I think being a pass first team for the Giants is definitely possible and could led to good results. They have great talent at the WR positions and a very good  Quarterback.

But in order to be a pass first team I think the Giants would have to overhaul their playbook and incorporate many more short passing plays like slants and checkdowns to the running backs (but not Hedgecock) which is not an easy thing to integrate into one year’s time.

I think to Giants fans they are leery of watching their beloved team change, but I’m not opposed to that, I just don’t think yet is the time.

The climate, weather, and personnel off the offensive line play a big role in what the Giants should be which is a pretty evenly split team who still relies on the run. I think though the Giants have the weapons to use many mroe short passing plays which could turn into big plays. More WR screens and checkdowns or short routes for nicks and Manningham and even Beckum who could be a tough matchup to complement the running game should be the direction the Giants take.

Ray said,

All NFL teams still need to pass the ball, but the Giants have always preferred to run the ball, and our climate, stadium (though new) and mentality supports that!

And I think Ray is onto something. The coaches have a run first mentatlity our offensive linemen have a run first mentatlity and our defense could use the extra breathers a good run game can provide.

In conclusion the pass is exciting as our the young Giants Wide receivers, but the Giants are not yet ready to become a pass first team.

Thoughts and comments.

Have a nice day, everyone. Thank you for all of your comments before.

 


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3 Responses to “Burning Question: Should the Giants Now Be A Pass First Team?”

  1. Jeremy Pasker says:

    For the record the astute commenters name is spelled J-E-R-E-M-Y.

  2. Adam Y. says:

    i think the giants should take the more traditional approach, we’ve seen teams become passing teams and not become as successful as they previously were, the steelers offense struggled last year, the patriots used to have an okay running game so they could use Playaction and won 3 superbowls, they havent won one since they throw the majority of the time, these are just observations tho, i havent researched enough so dont hold me too it

  3. jeremy says:

    Passing is fun to watch and like the long ball chicks dig it but in all reality running is what matters. Having a passing game is just icing on a cake. Ask the 2000 Giants if they wish they were a running team.

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