I believe the New York Giants‘ offensive line is going to recover from last week’s embarrassment. I know they are going to do everything in their power to stop the vicious defensive line of the Kansas City Chiefs that will be determined to take down Eli Manning. When Manning is given more time in the pocket against the Chiefs, the Giants’ offense must find a way to stop being predictable.
Some of the responsibility of the Giants’ offense being too predictable falls on the shoulders of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Since he became the coordinator in 2007, Gilbride has always been known for basing his offensive schemes around the run game. Yet, teams have clearly found a way of stopping the Giants on the run. This is evident with the Giants being ranked dead last in rushing. While I agree that the lack of a running game is due to the weak offensive line, Gilbride’s predictable play calling is also at fault.
For instance, a classic Gilbride play is to run the football on almost every third-down situation. With the exception of it being third-and-long, Gilbride never hesitates to call a run play that sends the running back right up the middle of the offensive line. While that play calling may work with physical running backs like Ahmad Bradshaw or a younger Brandon Jacobs, the current unit of David Wilson and Da’Rel Scott do not fit into that system. These fast, agile running backs need plays that give them a chance to run into space and be protected at the same time.
Even if Gilbride refuses to change his ideal running plays, he’s going to have to start passing the ball on third down. This week, with the offensive line struggling and the running game not being able to get in sync, Gilbride must put Manning in the shotgun and have him spread the ball to his receivers.
However, Manning also has to stop being predictable. Through the last two games, Manning’s only go-to receiver has been Victor Cruz. In the game against the Denver Broncos, he targeted Cruz 11 times while Hakeem Nicks only had seven passes thrown in his direction. During that same game, tight end Brandon Myers was targeted 10 times while Rueben Randle was targeted only three times. Similar themes were evident in the game against the Carolina Panthers. Even though Manning was under siege for the entire game, he still relied on Cruz to help him save the day. In that game, Cruz was targeted eight times while Nicks was only targeted once. The truth is Manning has relied on Cruz too often and opposing defenses are exploiting his reliability as a weakness. In other words, Manning must stop looking toward Cruz for help and start throwing the ball to other receivers. Even though it’s clear that Manning has started to trust Myers, his new tight end from the Oakland Raiders, he can’t only rely on two receivers to help him save their season.
For the upcoming game against the Chiefs, the offense must find a way to be less predictable. Going up against a talented defense, Gilbride and Manning must work together to help the Giants offense find its new identity. If they can start that process on Sunday versus the Chiefs, then there might be hope for this team moving forward.