COACH SHURMUR ISN'T EVEN TRYING TO PRESENT A BALANCED ATTACK
Daniel Jones enjoys what is easily his best game as a starter, going 28/41 (68%) for 322 yards, with four touchdowns, and no interceptions. While he experiences a personal uptick in fortune, it's a bittersweet achievement as the Giants still lose to the Lions at Detroit and see their record fall to 2-6 on the season.
In my PIGSKIN picks, I said,
Saquon Barkley has yet to rush more than 18 times in a game. Not until Coach Shurmur intensifies the running game will Daniel Jones resemble the quarterback we saw in week three. Shurmur needs to give the Lions front seven something other to do other than just sacking Daniel Jones. He's been sacked 18 times in five starts. That needs to stop.
The offensive line is not great by any stretch, but they are improved and at the very least, serviceable. However, to what degree is indeed debatable. After all, they yield another three sacks and five QB hits at Detroit, bringing the total number of sacks allowed to 21 through Daniel Jones first six starts. Jones fumbled on one QB hit which the Lions returned for a touchdown.
That being said Coach Shurmur's play calling remains contrary to Dave Gettleman's narrative with regard to running behind the hog mollies. On Sunday Saquon Barkley rushes the ball a season high 19 times for 64 yards, and Elijhaa Penny accounts for three yards on one rush. Otherwise Daniel Jones runs for another 13 yards on four sprints. The Giants 24 rushing attempts are 37% of all plays called from scrimmage, and Daniel Jones 44 pass attempts account for 63% of plays called from scrimmage (punts not included).
With Sunday's 80 yard rushing effort the Giants through eight games have now run for 739 total yards. They rank ninth in the NFC, and 17th in the NFL. But where it concerns the Giants backfield, Saquon Barkley accounts for 373 yards, while Wayne Gallman; Jonathan Hilliman; and Elijhaa Penny; together account for 234 yards. That's four Giants backs joining for 607 yards. Said another way Dalvin Cook (MIN); Leonard Fournette (JAX); Christian McCaffery (CAR); Nich Chubb (CLE); and Ezekiel Elliott (DAL); all have more. In fact only Daniel Jones' added 19 run attempts for 121-yards gives the misleading appearance that the Giants average one hundred ground yards per game.
Coach Shurmur's play calling against the Lions continues right in line with his previous seven games. Eli Manning and Daniel Jones have to date joined on 246 pass attempts, accounting for 64% of plays from scrimmage. Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Jonathan Hilliman, and Elijhaa Penny, account for 142 rushes, or just 36% of plays called from scrimmage. In other words Coach Shurmur isn't even trying to present a balanced attack.
As previously stated, until Coach Shurmur intensifies the running game this offense will remain predicable and out of sync. The situation is not without its positives. Daniel Jones and fellow rookie Darius Slayton (two touchdowns) are establishing an effective connection together. Saquon caught a touchdown, and the returning Evan Engram caught one as well. Even then, Saquon is only averaging a mere four receptions for 32 yards per game. But can we agree getting sacked an average of four times a game is detrimental to Jones' well being?
This lack of pass/run balance is made more ponderous because the personnel (Saquon Barkley) is there. So how about Shurmur reverses gears on the offensive line. Instead of having them back peddling in pass protection, why not get all that brute force and ignorance moving forward in an effort to create Saquon Barkley more daylight.