The New York Giants showcased their new offense for the first time Sunday night against the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame game. It was the first chance to see the Giants under their new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the revamped, quicker scheme. It was a solid first sneak peak from the Giants, but there is still work to be done, namely on the offensive line.
Right off the bat, the Giants showcased their new faster-paced offense as Eli Manning got the ball out of his hands quickly. They utilized the screen game as Manning found new backfield mate Rashad Jennings three separate occasions.
The speed the ball was coming out of Manning’s hand was not always drawn up though, as the Giants’ offensive line struggled mightily. The pass protection given throughout the night was troubling, as Manning was sack-fumbled by Bills nose tackle Kyle Williams. The New York offense with Manning on the field consisted mostly of screen passes to Jennings, as Jerrel Jernigan, who was filling in for the injured Odell Beckham Jr., was the only wide receiver to make a reception on a Manning pass.
While the pass protection was suspect, the Giants got what they wanted out of their quarterbacks, as they all had efficient first outings. Manning completed six of his seven attempts, then Ryan Nassib came in and completed seven of his 12, and Curtis Painter completed all three of his. On the night, that gives the Giants’ quarterbacks a final tally of 16 completions in 22 attempts, good for 72.7 percent — right where the Giants coaches challenged Manning to be for the regular season.
While Jennings showcased his abilities out of the backfield as a receiver, he was not as fortunate as a runner. He struggled in the run game, gaining only 23 yards on seven carries. The other running backs fared much better as the game wore on, as Andre Williams scored his first career touchdown on seven carries for 48 yards, and Peyton Hillis added 36 on seven of his own.
Overall, it was a mixed bag for the Giants in their first action of the preseason as the offensive line still has plenty of kinks to work out. They got better as the game went on, as Manning absorbed the only sack of a Giants quarterback in a game. They also gave Nassib enough time to connect on a deep pass to Corey Washington for a 73-yard touchdown, and running lanes started to become more open later in the game.
It was far from a perfect outing, but that is what preseason is for. The Giants will have four more games to settle their offensive line situation, and find the best five-man combination that works at both protecting the quarterback and opening up holes for the running game.