QB Eli Manning is "good" Eli again, having cut down on sloppy mistakes while increasing his accuracy.
QB coach Danny Langsdorf: " I think he is playing at high level and I think improved footwork has really helped out. He is obviously worked hard at that part of it, and that is a little bit different than what he was used to with the other system. We teach it a little bit differently. I think that is probably the biggest area in how fast he has been playing is his footwork."
The offense will miss WR Victor Cruz (knee) but benefit from the return of LG Geoff Schwartz and RB Rashad Jennings.
Schwartz will assume the LG position the Giants signed him to play. Rookie Weston Richburg may be slid over to center where he is a bigger, more physical presence than JD Walton. This should immediately upgrade the middle of the line stabilize things. Schwartz is a top run-blocker and the Giants will likely regain their balance, but it's Richburg that will be the key.
OL Pat Flaherty: "He (Richburg) is learning every day. It really is a play by play with a young player, particularly a rookie. He has the proper demeanor that we look for in a New York Giant offensive lineman. I expect him to get better each and every day."
Jennings will, as he did the first four games, provide the Giants with more depth and versatility in the backfield. He is clearly the team's best option at RB. Rookie Andre Williams is fine in small spurts right now, but Jennings' threat as a receiver will allow OC Ben McAdoo to resume calling his base offense. In the background, though, the Giants want to develop Williams.
RB coach Craig Johnson: "Williams had a lot of power offense and we do a lot more zone here. You just have to learn how the defenses, where their fits are going to be. Again, that’s through film study and then find out when can he set a good pace to the hole and then hit it. That’s the thing that you’ve got to find, how you do that is rep after rep after rep."
The Giants will continue to start Odell Beckham, Jr. and Rueben Randle at WR with Preston Parker in the slot. Expect to see Julian Talley and/or Kevin Ogletree get reps as well. Corey Washington? The Giants are still claiming his learning curve has stagnated. Perhaps in the second half, they can find room for him in red zone packages.
It will be fun to watch Beckham, who with continued productivity can get himself in the ROY debate. He doesn't replace Victor Cruz position-wise, but the Giants hope he can match Cruz production and excitement-wise. And they hope he can do it sooner rather than later.
WR coach Sean Ryan: "I said to Odell Beckham Jr, “Your rookie season is over now. You’re not a rookie anymore; congratulations, you’re a veteran.” In all seriousness, there is going to be bumps in the road because of his youth and your try to figure everything out, and you fix it as you go, get the details right and that is really where we are right now. The talent is there, it’s clear to see; now it is the details, the details have got to come, and they have got to come quick. There is no time to wait on the details; the details have got to be hammered out right now."
Perhaps the main thing the Giants must focus on is feeding the ball to TE Larry Donnell. He will not develop unless he remains a integral part of the gameplan. His participation also takes a lot of pressure off the rest of the offense. He can catch the football, but has had trouble hanging on to it. His blocking needs to improve as well. The better he blocks, the more playing time he will get.
TE coach Kevin Gilbride, Jr.: "The thing about Larry is he’s a conscientious kid. He’s so green with everything he does, he hasn’t been playing the position for very long, but he works at it, he tries to get better and it’s paid off in the passing game and he’s getting better every week in the run game."
I expect the Giants offense to regain their footing on offense. Their next game is agains the Colts, who have a staunch defense. If the Giants can move the football against them, their confidence will grow and hopefully put up a competitive showing the rest of the way.