Manning looking to find his way in new offense
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After three miserable plays in Tom Coughlin’s so-called ‘green-zone,’ New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo let out his frustration at practice Monday.
The wording was something like ‘make a play,’ with a sharper word included for emphasis.
With two weeks left until the regular-season opener in Detroit on Sept. 8, the Giants’ new offense is struggling, and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning does not look comfortable.
In the last three preseason games, the first-team offense has scored two touchdowns, one on a 73-yard run by Rashad Jennings and the other on Friday night in an impressive two-minute drill.
The rest of the time has been pretty brutal, marred by penalties, sacks and few yards gained.
Manning said after practice that there is no doubt everybody knows what to do. But getting everyone on the same page is still a work in progress.
Two of the three plays that miffed McAdoo were marked by confusion. On one, a receiver did not make a cut that Manning expected, and the ball landed in a vacant area around the 5-yard line. On another, the revamped offensive line didn’t give Manning enough time and he had to throw the ball away.
“You want everything done precisely, so we’re still, every day, we’re trying to get better at that,” said Manning, who threw a career-high 27 interceptions last season as the Giants (7-9) missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
“We need to be corrected on some things and do things more efficiently, so we’re getting there, we’re making small steps, but we’re probably not all the way where we need to be,” said the 33-year-old quarterback entering his 11th season. “I think there will always be things that we can improve on. It’s not something you’re going to master in four weeks. As the season goes on, we’ll know what we do well, we’ll progress, we’ll put new plays in, different things in, to attack certain defenses.”
McAdoo’s new West Coast offense is a major adjustment for Manning. It’s more up-tempo, features quicker releases, some rollouts and seemingly not as many deep routes as the old, balanced attack of former coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who retired after last season.
The plodding Manning does not look comfortable on the rollouts. He is even less comfortable scrambling.
The most at ease he has looked was in the two-minute drill in the game against the Jets last weekend. Manning hit 7 of 10 passes for 89 yards in the 91-yard march that was capped by a 15-yard pass to Rueben Randle.
“I think that’s the good thing about the two-minute, you’re usually running your base plays that you’ve run over and over and over again,” Manning said.
Basically, the old stuff.
Coach Tom Coughlin said that while the offense has a new coordinator, some of the old schemes are in place. Manning still gets to use his favorite third-down plays. Receiver Victor Cruz still runs certain routes, and the Giants will still use the same trusted plays when they see opponents in certain formations.
“When it is all said and done, it is football,” Coughlin said. “Whatever you call, if it is the three-step game, whatever you call it is one thing. But someone on the outside identifying it would look at it and say, ‘Gee, I have seen that play before,’ so that is basically where you are.”
Manning and the first-team offense will go for about 18 plays on Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
“Eli is a Super Bowl champ, so there is nothing he can’t do,” tight end Larry Donnell said. “He has two rings and is a Pro Bowler. He is a great athlete and Eli is going to get the job done so that isn’t going to be a problem.
“We are coming to it, we are getting better,” Donnell said. “We’ll be where we need to be.”
NOTES: Starting RG Brandon Mosley (back) missed his second straight practice and was sent to see a specialist, along with backup OT James Brewer. ...Starting LG Geoff Schwartz went to North Carolina to have a dislocated toe on his right foot examined. Coughlin does not know how long he will be out. Rookie Weston Richburg and veteran John Jerry will start at the guard spots. ... First-round pick WR Odell Beckham Jr. did not practice and will miss all five preseason games with a hamstring injury.
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