Not only did the G-Men lose Odell Beckham and Dwayne Harris on Sunday, they lost Brandon Marshall as well.
Marshall confirmed on Instagram on Monday that his 12th NFL season is over. With that the New York Giants lost three receivers for the season, with Sterling Shepard optimistically out for a few weeks.
Clearly, it’s a disappointing way to end a season for the veteran, who was signed as a free agent in March. Back then, we supported the decision to bring Marshall into the fold. The New York Giants needed a red zone target and third-down assistance for quarterback Eli Manning.
With the signing of tight end Rhett Ellison, everything was lined up to draft offensive line help with the 23rd pick. Instead, the Giants veered away from conventional wisdom and grabbed tight end Evan Engram with the selection.
In the preseason, concerns were raised here about being able to spread around enough targets to satisfy everyone. When you include Ellison and running back Shane Vereen, there were too many mouths to feed.
Marshall acted truly professionally every step of the way. The unfortunate thing is that his role, as a big target, was undermined by this offense and the presence of Engram.
The New York Giants are a glorified college offense: zone block and spread the field. That’s not Marshall’s game. We shall see if he’ll be back for the second go-around on that two-year deal.
King for a day
Back in September, wide receiver Tavarres King was a victim of the wide receiver numbers game. In preseason, he outplayed Roger Lewis. An ankle injury (sounds familiar) slowed him considerably. Remember, King was the only receiver to show up in the Wild Card playoff loss at Green Bay last season.
New York Giants
King is not as big as Marshall, but he is better equipped for the “11” personnel package than Marshall was. Now the New York Giants have to replace the production of Beckham and Marshall. Obviously, replacing Beckham is not possible. But don’t sleep on Sterling Shepard upon his return.
Shepard is one of the only young players who improved in Ben McAdoo’s system. He won’t be the game-breaker that Beckham was, but he yards after catch had solid improvement. Shepard can and will be Manning’s go-to guy down the road.
King can also provide solid numbers, with Travis Rudolph getting on-the-job training. Don’t expect too much, too soon from Rudolph. First, he has to stabilize the return game.
With Marshall headed to injured reserve, will Darius Powe go from the practice squad to the 53-man roster? He’s definitely a big body (6-3, 220 lbs.). Maybe that role should be left up to Engram.
In my view, the New York Giants should take a look at Ed Eagan. Eagan is the quintessential slot receiver, and can also help in the return game. He has been around long enough to know this offense.
Adam Humphries had six catches for 70 yards in the Tamp Bay Buccaneers win against the Giants a couple weeks ago. This would give the team the opportunity to see what Shepard can do on the outside.
With Beckham gone, it will be easier to integrate Engram into a better role with this offense too.
Having your best player go down with a season-ending injury is not optimal. But it does take the 800 lbs. gorilla out of the room, similar to the Detroit Lions and Calvin Johnson a few years back.
Even after this spate of injuries, the offensive line remains the Achilles heel of this offense. Think about that.