Wednesday, October 14, 2015

N.Y. Giants: Coach McAdoo Passing the Time Away

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Eli Manning leads the NFL in pass attempts

New York Giants
1st Place NFC East

NEW YORK GIANTS: Coach McAdoo demanding more and more from an increasingly beaten and battered group of wide receivers, while putting Eli's arm strength and durability to the test as well.


Opening the first quarter season without Victor Cruz, coupled with the general ineffectiveness of Rueben Randle, put an obvious strain on Odell Beckham Jr.  His hamstring has been barking at him, and by Week Five Randle's hamstring started barking too.

That said, had Eli connected with OBJ in stride during the 1st quarter against the Niners, the Giants could have potentially gone up 7-3 instead of settling for a field goal.  Beckham's YAC nonetheless put the Giants at San Francisco's 12-yard line.  To the Giants credit, they settled for a field goal only after attempting to pound the ball on 2nd and four from the six, then again on 3rd and one, to no avail.

Later, with the Giants up 10-3 before the half, Dwayne Harris dropped an easy third down pass, that again resulted in a Giants field goal.


Prior to the Buffalo game, I thought it high time the Giants start seeking out Larry Donnell.

Larry was targeted just four times in Week One then six times in Week Two, totaling seven receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta.  Eli targeted him another six times in Week Three against Washington, but only connected on three receptions for 32 yards.

Week Four marked an uptick in the Eli/Donnell connection.  He was targeted seven times against Buffalo, and made 5 receptions for a season high 38 yards.  Then came Sunday's big catch against the 49ers.  Larry was targeted another seven times Sunday and made 6 receptions for 35 yards, but none more important than his 12-yard touchdown reception with 0:21 left on the clock.

I guess if not by the run, punctuating an 8-play/82 yard drive to the tight end was just as classic.

See?  Necessity is indeed the mother of all invention.

Last season, Larry Donnell made 12 starts, and hauled in 63 receptions for 623 yards.  However, in 92 targeted plays, he and Eli were only successful 68% of the time.  They've completed 70% of their attempted connections thus far.


Enter Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo:

He has Eli Manning leading the NFL with 197 pass attempts (and to Eli's credit, he's thrown just two INTs).  His 66.5% completion rate after five games is presently hovering at a career high.  He also completed a career best 41 passes in 54 attempts for 441 yards against the Niners, also marking Eli's first 300+ yard game of the season.

Yet, a compromised OBJ and sub par complimentary receivers has meant even more throwing.  In fact, balance has gone out the window.

Coach McAdoo's utilization of the running game is one of the more quizzical things I've ever seen - as if he can just turn it on with the flick of a switch.  Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen have only combined for 119 rushes for an average of 23.8 carries a game versus 39.4 pass attempts for Eli.

Even Kevin Gilbride knew he had to start running in the 1st quarter in order to be successful in the 4th.  I have a real big problem when a guy like Rashad Jennings only averages 10.6 carries a game.

Then there's the even more curious case of Shane Vereen.  His game splits speak for themselves:
  • GM1 - 3 rushes; 4 receptions.
  • GM2 - 6 rushes; 8 receptions.
  • GM3 - 6 rushes; 0 receptions.
  • GM4 - 5 rushes; 0 receptions.
  • GM5 - 5 rushes; 8 receptions.

Regardless of my personal observations, the Giants have registered the 4th most points in the NFC.   To date, their controlled short passing game has outscored opponents by a 132-109 margin.  They are winners of three straight and now sit atop their division.

Maybe Coach McAdoo's whole gig is based on mass confusion.  He's got me fooled.  They certainly outsmarted themselves in games One and Two, and damn near did it again versus the Niners, until they smartened up that is...

There's still much to learn much from reviewing the gains and gaffes of Game One.

McAdoo has me beat, though.  Controlled chaos rules the day.

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