For the past decade Eli Manning has hurled the pigskin 5,008 times and punched the football into the midsection of running backs more than 4,000 times — twice to the tune of the ultimate pay-off jam: We are the CHAMPIONS.
Not so last year. Hardened gridiron warriors like B-JAC and Ahmad Bradshaw were nowhere in sight.
For a large majority of 2013 the Giants were incapable of moving the football. There were only three teams shutout during the entire NFL season, and Big Blue was on the wrong side of two blanks. In movies, blanks don’t kill. In this game, blanks will rip the heart out of a fanbase. Why? The GIANTS weren’t big on efficiency and execution. The offense finished 28th in scoring (18.4) and 28th in total yardage (307.5), resulting in offseason rebuke from their own CEO. What went wrong? For simplicity, the Giants shortcomings can be summed up in three words: LACK OF BALANCE.
Pass Play %
Rush Play %
*All team statistics courtesy of TeamRankings.com
The Giants pass frequency of 61.44% was the team’s highest since the days of Kerry Collins in 2003, wherein they led the NFL at 63.04% and finished with a 4-12 record. This is not to say you can’t win in the NFL with a predominant pass attack. The Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011 with a 32nd ranked ground game. But if you’re going to rely on airing it out… you better do it well.
In 2011, the offense finished 5th in passing yards and 6th in passing touchdowns. Conversely, in 2013, Eli and Co. finished 19th in passing yards and 27th in passing touchdowns. The offensive line performance is obviously a requirement for vertical passing success, and the Giants pass blocking was in shambles a year ago (2.5 sacks per game). The underrated signing of Geoff Schwartz should help with that immensely.
Irregardless of individual performance and effort from GIANTS front line soldiers, what kind of run/pass ratio should Giants fans expect in 2014? It’s been duly noted that Ben McAdoo was mentored under Mike McCarthy in Green Bay who believes strongly in balance. Even when the Packers had no semblance of a running attack (prior to Eddie Lacy’s arrival), McCarthy still made every attempt to keep opposing defenses honest. Moreover, with a tight end background, McAdoo understands the value of the play action passing game – a vital component for chunk yardage in the West Coast offense. That information has Giants fans worried about the TE roster consisting of:
Only two of these players were drafted. In an offense that depends heavily on the position, the Giants are going light on paper talent.
Side note: Giants play action proficiency in 2013, via stats from Pro Football Focus: they used PA 15.8% of the time with Eli Manning completing 53.9% of those passes for a QB Rating of 65.1. In non-PA situations, Eli completed 58.2% of his passes for a QBR of 70.2… That’s backward, folks.
GIANTS Analysis: if Rashad Jennings pounds the ball early and often on the ground, the Giants should hover in the 55% pass range. If the run game provides less than stellar substance, 57%-59% through the air is more likely.