ust minutes after the New York Giants slogged their way to another defeat to start the season, head coach Ben McAdoo said he would “consider everything” to solve their problems.
Just one day later, after McAdoo had finished watching film from Monday night’s 24-10 flameout against the Detroit Lions, he vowed to shake up the entire offense — possibly including his own role on game day.
“We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again,” McAdoo said Tuesday in a conference call. “That’s insanity. It’s not working. So we’re going to look to make some changes this week, like we did last week — maybe a little more drastic this week.
“If that means me giving up play-calling duties, that’s something that we’ll look at and talk about.”
This is the first time McAdoo has seriously entertained the possibility of relinquishing that role, something he has done in since being hired as offensive coordinator in 2014.
That’s how bad it has gotten for New York.
The Giants (0-2) are in last place in the NFC East. They have failed to score at least 20 points in their last eight games, including the postseason. This season, they have recorded just 13 total points, which ranks them 30th in the league in scoring.
Now, a team with aspirations of reaching the playoffs for the second season in a row must endure an honest assessment of its faults. That starts up front with the offensive line, which Detroit demoralized to the tune of five sacks and eight hits on quarterback Eli Manning.
Starting left tackle Ereck Flowers allowed Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to rack up three sacks on his own. Flowers, the No. 9 overall selection in the 2015 draft, just hasn’t developed sufficiently.
But a lack of depth leaves the Giants little choice other than to continue playing him. McAdoo said Tuesday that Flowers would “absolutely” be the team’s starting left tackle moving forward, though added there was plenty of blame to go around.
“We’ve just got to figure out what’s our best personnel, what’s our best style, how we’re going to be able to move the ball,” Manning said after the game. “It’s not about changing a whole lot, it’s about improving on the things we’re doing.”
One thing New York isn’t doing is running the ball well. Another is incorporating free agent addition Brandon Marshall into the passing game. He has caught only one pass in each of New York’s two losses for a combined 27 yards, though he is guilty of multiple drops.
So how do the Giants fix their offensive issues?
For one, Manning could get rid of the ball more quickly to alleviate some of the stress on his linemen. McAdoo could help out, if he retains play calling, by signaling in quicker throws and three-step drops.
Balance would also help. The Giants rank last in the NFL in rushing attempts (30) and yards (97) — and that’s with two teams, the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, having played only once because of the impact of Hurricane Irma. New York should re-emphasize the ground game and try to control more clock (and protect its own defense) by getting into a rhythm early in games. When facing double-digit deficits, as the Giants have in both of their losses, the defenses have anticipated a heavy dose of passing to come in the second half. And with that, comes a more intense pass rush.
“We’ve got to come together and start playing for each other and start playing as a team because right now, we’re just not playing up to our ability,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said Monday.
“I don’t know what we’re thinking. Last year we went 11-5 and went to the playoffs. We can’t sleep on that. This is a new year. This is a new team. I’ve said from the beginning of the season, this is the most talented team we’ve had on paper, but you can’t go out there and just win on paper. We’re not comparing teams in fantasy football. We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to do it.”