EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning understands the concern about the New York Giants’ offense with the regular season three weeks away.
The guys entrusted with making new coordinator Ben McAdoo’s unit work have done little in the last two preseason games.
Here’s the numbers the first offense posted in eight series against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts: 31 plays, 134 yards, six first downs — three by penalty — and one touchdown.
Most of the yardage came on a 73-yard touchdown run by Rashad Jennings against the Steelers. Take that away and it’s 30 plays for 61 yards, or roughly 2 yards per play.
Manning is 1-for-9 for 6 yards in the two games and Victor Cruz has yet to catch a pass in three preseason games.
Despite the gloom, Manning remains hopeful things will be better when the Giants line up against the Lions on Sept. 8 in Detroit.
“I don’t think we have ever been a great preseason team as far as I remember,” Manning said Aug. 18 as the Giants (3-0) began preparations for the Aug. 22 night game against the Jets (2-0).
“I know how things are going in practice and what we are capable of doing. We have improvements to do for sure, but we have a little time and we’ll keep working on things.
“I have seen progress over these weeks in practice and some of these concepts we are getting better at, getting a better feel for things and the timing for things. So we’ll keep working at it.”
Sounds good. However, the offense has not looked good the past two weeks and the players know it.
Guard Geoff Schwartz said it was tough going over the game film, especially because the offense should be at the point where it is making progress transitioning from former coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s balanced attack to McAdoo’s up-tempo West Coast version. It has created a sense of urgency heading into the annual preseason game with Rex Ryan’s team.
The Giants need to start showing what type of an offense they have, he said.
“The execution of the offense means something in preseason,” Schwartz said. “We just haven’t been executing terribly well, whether it’s blocking or other things I can’t really say. I know up front we have not been executing that well, especially Saturday night. That’s something preseason or regular season we have to be better at.”
Cruz, who had a 51-yard reception nullified by a penalty and a fumble, isn’t hitting the panic button. He notes that the Giants have not shown much of their new offense in the preseason.
His biggest concern is the lack of execution through the first three games. He believes there are plays to be made if everyone performs their roles.
“There is still a ways to go,” Cruz said. “We still have a ton of practices before Week 1 in Detroit. We still have a ton of film to watch, a ton of things to change and things to get better at that we can get better at, and things we can fix. I think it is only a matter of time until we get everything clicking. I think we will have it down pat and we will get things going by Week 1, for sure.”
The Giants probably will make some changes before the season starts.
Rookie Weston Richburg, the second-round draft pick, is pushing Brandon Mosley for the starting job at right guard. Manning also will have an added deep threat when rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the first-round pick, is ready to go after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Game-planning more also will help.
“Even this week we’ll game-plan a little bit more,” said Manning, who admitted he missed three big-play passes on Saturday. “The other weeks you kind of have one day where you’re looking at the opposing defense and you’re really just trying to run your base plays. Even this week we’ll be kind of looking at the Jets all week, practicing plays that are designed to go in with certain personnel. Hopefully that will help some. Really it’s just a matter of winning our individual battles and playing smart football.”
(TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer)