New York Giants’ offense was not good last season. They ranked 31st in points scored, and yards gained and was pretty much below average on every single offensive statistic that Pro Football Reference has, other than, surprisingly, passing interceptions and turnovers.
Now, if you watched any Giants games last year or have been following anyone covering the Giants, this is old news. However, diving into last season’s statistical issues could help us figure out the possible improvements for this upcoming season and where the problems truly lied.
Rushing Was the Bright Spot
The Giants’ run game was not perfect nor pretty, but it got the job done. Even though the run game was not featured, it only ranked 26th in rushing attempts and didn’t gain many yards, coming in at just 19th overall. Or even scoring that much, only totaling 14 touchdowns, raking them at 22nd, the Giants running attack was good. Even though all those stats seem to be negatives and aren’t amazing, the Giants still ranked at 13th for yards per carry.
That is something the Giants can hang their hat on going into this season. With Saquon Barkley making a return and the offensive line growing as a unite, the attempts and yards should increase while maintaining the same yards per carry, leading to a very efficient and effective rushing attack.
Passing Was for Sure an Issue
In the modern NFL, passing is key to having a successful offense, and well, the Giants could not pass the ball. This should not be taken as a knock against Daniel Jones, but there was not a single game that he threw over 300 yards this season. Many of the reasons for that were out of Jones’s control, which will hopefully be fixed this season.
One reason for the lack of production was just dropped passes. The Giants had the seventh-highest percentage of dropped passes at 5.6%. There were many memorable dropped passes by Evan Engram throughout the season that haunt Giants fans’ dreams and stifled many drives. Jones was not the most accurate thrower, with a bottom third on-target percentage and a middle of the pack in on-target pass. On the other hand, those percentages were improvements from his rookie season.
Another reason is that the Giants quarterback was under heavy pressure most of the time. The Giants ranked in the top ten in sacks, hurries, hits, and pressures, but were also the third most blitzed team. A lot of that falls on the shoulders of the offensive line, but Jones was given the ninth longest time in the pocket, which means he had time to throw, but no one was open. This leads to the fact that the Giant’s receiving group was not the most skilled in the league, which also ties in with the drops. On top of all that, learning a new system under Jason Garrett also must have played a role.
Jason Garrett Scheme Was Not Helpful
Jason Garrett will get his own block, mainly because if you’re a Giants fan, you are likely not super happy about what he did last season. Throughout the entire season, the Giants’ passing offense was bland and looked like it was out of 2010, with a random jet-sweep thrown in there. The fact is that the last time Garrett called plays on offense was back in 2010, so none of the passing scheme advancements in his offense.
Right now, the NFL is all about big chunk plays on offense, to score a lot of points on an obsessing team in a short amount of time. Creating these chuck plays is easier when the offense is given the advantage in the rules and legally cheating with pre-snap motion to see what type of defensive is in front of you.
Almost every good team is at the top of the list in 20+ yard plays, and 40+ yard plays. The Giants ranked 31st in both statistics. The Giants only attempted a total of 109 passes downfield out of their 574 attempts, according to NFL Savant. Along with that, pre-snap motion is supposed to help tell a quarterback what defense is in front of him, and the Giants ranked in the lower end of pre-snap motion, and it is likely that it won’t improve, with Garrett saying they did it a lot last season, which is not true.
Garrett comes off as so defensive and a big "you never played the game like I did" kind of coach to me.
The reality is that he's simply lying or ignorant to the truth on this. The #Giants ranked 22nd in presnap motion after 15 games in 2020 (h/t @SethWalder , @JustinPenik ) https://t.co/bV3LPk59UI
— Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) August 5, 2021
Under Pat Shurmur, the team was, for sure was not better, but the passing game was at least a bright spot. In the 2019 season, the Giants ranked 5th in touchdowns and 18th in yards. On top of that, they had the 8th most 40+ plays in the NFL. There was not much of a change in the roster, so it is safe to say that Garrett might have been the cause of that drop-off.
Shurmur is now the Offensive Coordinator of the Denver Broncos, and their offense did not have a good overall season. However, they dealt with many injuries to the core receiving weapons, along with their starting Quarterback. Despite that, they did end up with better offensive numbers than the Giants and six more 40+ plays and 13 more 20+ yard plays.
The last thing on Garrett is that a lot of the rosters he coached in Dallas had incredible talent and didn’t go anywhere. It will be a shame if the same thing happens for the Giants.
Can This Offense Improve?
It better improve, and it better be notable in week one. Jones has been in Garrett’s lousy system for a year now, so hopefully, he will be able to maximize it as much as he can. Barkley will hopefully be available in week one, but if not, at least by week four, that will be a big boost to the team’s offensive numbers. The Giants added Kenny Golladay, the number one receiver on this team, and offensive weapon Kadarius Toney. This offense will be better because of its talent, and it now has the weapons of a top-end offense. The issue will be if Garrett can help this team with the scheme, which remains to be seen. If the offense does not improve, it can no longer be blamed on the roaster, and the caching staff should be looked at for a possible solution.
Photo: Big Blue View/ Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports