Three And Outs A Major Concern For Struggling Giants Offense

Are the Giants behind the time in their offensive system? Some say yes, others say Eli and his WRs aren’t on the same page, or that they are secretly injured. Others say Manning is a victim of “collateral damage” — meaning the RBs, TEs, and OL are all not doing their part in blocking.

There is another notion out today that points to the scheme — and offers new and interesting evidence as to why that might be the case.

via WSJ:

The Giants have gone three-and-out on 15 of their 54 drives this season, the third-highest ratio in the league, and have punted the ball so frequently that some fans now refer to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride as “Kevin Killdrive.”

“No question, it’s an offense that, when things aren’t clicking, it looks ugly,” said John Lynch, a former NFL safety and now a football analyst for Fox Sports.

And the Giants aren’t operating alone in a vacuum – the offense was exported to Tampa Bay where former Giants offensive coach Mike Sullivan tried to bring Gilbride’s offense further south.

In Tampa Bay, where former Giants assistant Mike Sullivan runs the same scheme as offensive coordinator of the Buccaneers, the results have been so heinous that the team benched starting quarterback Josh Freeman just three weeks into the season.

The Giants and Buccaneers rank 30th and 31st in scoring, respectively, and their collective ineptitude has given weight to criticism that the offensive system both teams employ is getting left behind by the league’s current trends.

This is half the battle here folks. Gilbride’s Run and Shoot adapted system is installed in concert with a power run balanced offense that Tom Coughlin has stood by his entire career. And the proof is in the pudding.

HOWEVER…

Right now the Giants RBs, TEs, and OL are NOT blocking well for Eli in passing downs, and the Giants aren’t running the ball well although they showed a bigger commitment to it last game against the Chiefs. Time will tell what becomes of the OL – but the more reps David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs get as a tandem – the better. Running the ball well doesn’t all of a sudden just happen though, so this will be a slow progression over the course of the season – especially when the Giants are still signing offensive linemen.

The other thing they can do, as covered extensively here and on twitter, is adjust to the pressure Eli is constantly getting and rely more on the short game. Screens to the RB and TE, wheel routes to the FBs to stretch the defense out — keep them honest, and of course when nothing is there the second option 2 seconds in needs to be a checkdown for Eli.

We’ve said over and over how the key ingredient to 2011 in the face of a 25 INT year from Eli Manning in 2010 was more control of the offense by checking it down. Not forcing it. Eli passed 45% less to his RBs, FBs, and TEs last year in 2012 and the trend has continued this year in 2013 by living and dying by the big play. The Giants need a short game to go with the mid and long range plans… and like New Orleans these short pass plays are an answer to getting better production from your RBs instead of outright running the ball in a non-deceptive formation.

3rd and 15 running a draw play won’t fool anybody either. Let’s just say that play is on a lot of film.

Some of it’s on the scheme – but not all. Eli needs to make smarter, quicker decisions and get the ball out faster than he has been, and instead of David Wilson being 4th in the progression – he should be #2 for a while until the defense gets shredded a few times. It will be amazing to see the rest of the offense open up after that.

Like magic!


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3 Responses to “Three And Outs A Major Concern For Struggling Giants Offense”

  1. S Verl says:

    Agreed, too much reliance on big plays which are also low percentage plays along with the chance of QB and WR not being on same page which we have seen too much.

  2. DP says:

    Andrew thanks for explaining the Giants offensive scheme, although it seems to me KG’s Run and Shoot adaptation is more like the ‘Air Option’ philosophy from the Run and Shoot era. It seems to me the Giants have always struggled with the necessary execution for effectively running screens and I believe the FB wheel routes are going to be too slow developing to aid the Giants and Eli, unless they move the pocket to buy more time. I do agree the Giants need to throw more to Wilson to try and get him in some space.

    Offensive systems have clearly evolved with increased ‘pace’ being one of the key components. This has resulted in defenses demonstrating more speed and quickness in efforts to match-up and counter offensive attacks.

    To stay in the power run balanced offensive approach requires strength, often overwhelming strength at the point of attack; if you have the players and the execution you could still run such a lower risk attack. At some point, there will be a team that rises with the old fashioned smash mouth approach and that team may have a short run of excellence. I believe in football with the right personnel power can still overcome speed. I know the game overall is moving away from that, however, someone will rise in the near future playing that now old-fashioned style.

    I would add the Steelers to the list of franchises that appear somewhat behind the times.

  3. DP, everything is a hybrid. But there is a heavy influence from the R+S offense Gilbride began tinkering with 30 years ago. The route tree is of course the majority of the concept, I’ve seen some old playbooks and it’s quite similar. The missing piece to the criticism here is of course the run game… perhaps because it’s non existent right now.

    Eli is a system QB and he knows it inside and out. Cruz had learned quickly and Eli is alway complementing his body language to make non-verbal communication between them clear in a split second. It’s probably related to his Salsa technique, ha. I don’t know that every QB would have success in this system — in fact I think there aren’t many QBs out there that would have Eli’s track record in such a complicated system.

    However, within the system at any given time there are safety valves — and if you watch Eli is not even looking their way half the time. Yeah after 5 seconds in the pocket if it happens to hold up, he might give up on the deep ball and dump it off. But even then you can tell that’s the last thing he wants to do. In other offenses that is often a priority read, like in Oakland’s case. The offense is built on the catch and run.

    There is nothing wrong with the system per se, it’s just that without a solid OL the ball needs to be getting out a lot faster and Eli is clearly out of the mindset of doing that. The game plan for the last 2 games has been to exploit the secondary over the top as well, that doesn’t help. Mid-game adjustments need to be made that aren’t. The short game is a necessary piece of the puzzle that needs attention to get in that rhythm.

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