With a total of two preseason games in the books, one thing is for sure for the New York Giants: the passing offense is still very much a work-in-progress.
Saturday night was, once again, a rather ugly showing from the New York offense, although the Giants did beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16 at the Meadowlands.
Eli Manning played a total of four drives and couldn’t complete a pass, finishing the game 0-for-2.
Manning’s first pass fell incomplete as he tried to hit Jerrel Jernigan on a back shoulder throw but Jernigan read the play differently and overran the pass. The second incompletion came on a third-and-short, as Manning rolled right and ended up throwing the ball into the ground as no one was able to break free.
It’s obviously still very early but New York’s lack of progress in the passing game is a little concerning. Manning and the passing attack is yet to find a real rhythm. The Giants want to play a more up-tempo style in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo‘s system but they need completions to make that possible.
It also didn’t help that the offensive line struggled to protect Manning as he dropped back to pass. Manning was under constant duress and was sacked once. He lost eight yards on the sack, putting the Giants into a major hole and effectively ending their drive after first down.
However, the positives from the offense came in the form of the rushing attack for the second straight preseason game. Starting running back Rashad Jennings broke off a 73-yard touchdown run on the first play of New York’s second drive. Jennings took the hand-off with a full head of steam, got a hole and went untouched the rest of the way. He finished the game with five carries for 85 yards and the one touchdown.
With Peyton Hillis out, rookie Andre Williams took over as the second-string running back. Williams made some noise in the first game against Buffalo and followed it up with another very solid performance on Saturday, carrying the ball seven times for 35 yards.
Williams continues to display speed and power. He runs without fear and is not shy about delivering a blow to an unsuspecting defender. On one play, Williams put his down at the end of a run and popped a defender’s helmet off as he attempted to make the tackle. The sample size is still small but the Giants have to like what they see out of the fourth-round pick.
Besides for the success on the ground, it was a very poor showing from the first-string offensive unit. Again, it was only the second preseason game and the Giants are in the midst of learning a brand new system. Struggles are going to continue. However, Giants fans will surely breathe a collective sigh of relief if Manning can get a few completions under his belt next game. Or maybe even just one.