The New York Giants started the NFL season at a dreadful 1-7, and now perhaps have found their identity under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur.
The New York Giants identity has clearly changed for the better. The culture seems to be changing back to a winning mindset. The team is now having fun, and the players appear to have stuck with each other, unlike last season.
Clearly, their attitude has changed since the bye week, and it’s obviously evolved from what it was under former head coach Ben McAdoo. Under McAdoo, the offense mostly consisted of throwing a slant pass to receiver Odell Beckham and hoping for the best.
Of course, a stagnant offensive line and lack of a consistent rushing attack didn’t help McAdoo either. Initially under Shurmur, it seemed that the New York Giants searched to find themselves for several weeks. They battled offensive line issues, and it was abundantly clear that tackle Ereck Flowers and guard Patrick Omameh were not offensive line answers for the Giants.
After the initial struggles, left tackle Nate Solder is back to being a top player at his position. Waiver wire pick-up, Jamon Brown, has proven to be a great addition at right guard. And left guard Will Hernandez continues to improve.
Ironically, for a while, It seemed the offense was the same old stale playbook, but almost overnight, something changed. Recently, the New York Giants have incorporated trick plays that were previously buried in the playbook. For instance, wideout Odell Beckham has two passing touchdowns touchdowns this year on trick plays.
Since coming out of the byre week, the Giants have shifted their attention to getting running back Saquon Barkley the ball as much as possible. Beckham remains the team’s second offensive option, which is an advantage most teams don’t have. Wideout Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram are contributing, but haven’t had the same amount of play calls as they did last season.
Carrying the rock
The Giants have shifted to predominantly running the ball and letting quarterback Eli Manning operate with a play-action pass scheme. In five games since the bye week, Manning has thrown nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. His highest pass attempts total in these games is 37.
Since the New York Giants have come out of the bye week, Saquon Barkley has rushed for over 100 yards in four of the five games. In three of those contests, he’s had at least 125 yards or more, including 170 yards last week. Keep in mind that Barkley was removed because the G-Men had a big lead over the Washington Redskins.
Conversely, the Giants haven’t figured it all out, as they still should want to get receiver Shepard and Engram more looks. They also should attempt to get Odell Beckham some more targets downfield.
Finally, the New York Giants also have to make the decision if they will stick with Manning or look to his replacement at quarterback. Even if they draft a quarterback, it is possible that Manning remains with the team, if the offense continues to play well these last three games.
The last three contests games could decide the Giants fate. They play good teams in the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys. If Big Blue plays well against them, it could mean make the difference in a Manning return. If he and the offense sputter, maybe he does not return.
Some haven’t been convinced by the play of the Giants due to the schedule. Beating the Chicago Bears should have quieted that chatter. The next few weeks are important for the Giants, and who knows, if it goes well, maybe they end up as an NFC Wild Card team.