Ex-Giants Kurt Warner and Amani Toomer had a few things to say about the NY Giants Week 1 Performance against the Redskins, let’s take a look at what was gleaned.
First up, Kurt Warner who suited up part time for the GMEN seven years ago:
“On offense it’s always been about running the football first with that team. Eli is at his best and most comfortable when you have two backs that can run it down hill, then you get the eighth guy in the box and then Eli feeds off that. With that offense, and Eli specifically, when they decide to spread it out and become a throwing team first he always struggles.”
Then, NY Giants all-time leading WR Amanin Toomer has this to say:
“The running game needs to be a lot better. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. This offense runs at a peak when they are running the ball and working in the play-action offense. They need to establish the run first. I believe this is a good team, but it may take time for them to really gel. Do they have that time where they can come back at the end of the year? I don’t know, it might take them longer than you expect.”
So basically it’s all about the running game. Enough said. The Giants only ran 7 times in the second half of last weeks game — but various reasons as to why that is the case are not reflected in these comments.
And generally speaking, where I disagree is that this team is not the 2004-2008 Giants anymore. Sure I want to see the Giants have a better ratio of pass to run, I’ve commented on it myself all this week that they got away from the run, but Warner and Toomer are not talking about ratios here. They’re speaking to the identity of the Giants.
Time for some context.
When the Giants were beaten at home by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2008 playoffs without Plaxico Burress, the Giants identity changed forever. The Eagles put 8-9 guys in the box and took their chances on the outside. Check mate. Without Plax – in that system it was over. No time to change their identity as Brandon Jacobs said days after that bitter loss to the birds. They were built on playing physical, imposing football. As good as he was at stretching the field and catching Eli’s notoriously high passes — he was a tremendously imposing downfield blocker in both the pass and running games.
Now of course, they are not the same team. There is a lot more finesse going on with the offensive scheme – with crisp route running and more layers to the offense going on at once. It’s much more complex than when either Warner or Toomer played with this franchise. And Eli has been outspokenly focused on the deep ball and establishing the pass, not just the run, to keep the offense as complete and dynamic as possible by necessity. Everyone after the 2008 playoff loss knew that’s what the Giants HAD to do going forward. And they have done just that.
Nicks was drafted, Manningham came on strong, Steve Smith came up huge in 2009… and the Giants had a great offense that year. The defense stunk in case anyone doesn’t remember, that’s why there were no playoffs in ’09. But back to the story, Ramses Barden was drafted in Plax’s image. It has not worked out for Barden, he doesn’t quite fit — but the other 3 pieces have worked out extremely well for the Giants offense. The finesse system in a 60/40 pass to run has mae Eli’s numbers skyrocket across the board.
Make no mistake about it though – last year was a fluke with the turnovers, it’s not going to happen again.
If you want optimism, look at it this way. It’s week 1 of a shortened offseason. Both offensively and defensively the reports out of practice are that communication has gotten a lot better, execution is poised to increase week 2. It can start with the run, but Eli needs to establish the pass as well to keep the box open… just like Ahmad Bradshaw said the other day. It’s not a one dimensional answer anymore with a few passing highlights. It’s a complete system.
Love it or hate it, the Giants need to get on the same page and execute at every level from here on out, not just running the ball, or an 0-3 start will be looming.
[quotes via NY Post]