Injuries, Rushing Attack Hindering Giants’ Offense
Sam Spiegelman , Contributor
There’s not much hindering the Giants’ offense so far this season.
Eli Manning has thrown for the second-highest yardage total in the league, only behind Drew Brees, and his touchdown total (7) is tied with the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Overall, Big Blue owns the seventh-ranked offense in the league, averaging 411 yards and 28 points per game.
But there’s room for improvement, and it starts in the receiving corps.
Obviously, injuries are the underlying factor here. Hakeem Nicks is set to miss his third consecutive game with knee and foot injuries, and now Ramses Barden’s status is in jeopardy as he tries to bounce back from a concussion.
Victor Cruz has continued on his torrid pace from his breakout 2011 campaign, and Domenik Hixon has filled in admirably as a starter. Last week, he led the team in receiving v. Philadelphia.
You can imagine how potent this offense could be with a healthy Nicks alongside Cruz and Martellus Bennett, and how deep the receiving corps would be with the experience Barden and Hixon have gotten in recent weeks.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride spoke about the loss of Nicks and his play-making ability.
“Well, you’re losing a terrific football player who not only is extremely important to what you do, he’s invaluable just in terms of his leadership and his ability in the bigger the moment to make the bigger play, so you lose that and you know that and you’re not going to make it up with one guy.”
The G-Men cannot just be a pass-oriented team, though, and this is the perfect week to exercise their demons.
The Giants’ rushing attack ranks 23rd in the NFL with about 90 yards per contest.
Sure, Ahmad Bradshaw missed a game, but there’s so much talent in that position and up front that it’s — well, silly — to not establish a ground attack each and every week.
The Browns allow 117 rushing yards per game and have allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of their four contests this year.
The Giants, meanwhile, have rushed for more than 100 yards in a game just once — against Carolina, the 26th-ranked rush defense in the league.
Sure, this game has been called a potential “trap game” for New York, with the Browns sitting at 0-4 and a difficult stretch of games on the horizon. It’s also a chance to right the ship in terms of the running game.
Gilbride shrugged off questions about whether Bradshaw or Andre Brown should be carrying the rock, but acknowledged this is an area that needs improvement.
“The obvious thing is to say, ‘Just go back to the running back.’ But as you look at it statistically, neither had distinguishing statistics that would say if you were better off with this one as opposed to the other one.”
“So we’ll just keep exploring and see. Both have earned the right to play. Certainly, Ahmad does a very good job in his pass pro(tection) because we weren’t running the ball very well. We wound up having to throw a little bit more than maybe we had anticipated having to do and so that automatically goes into his … because he does that very well. We’ll see. It’s something we were disappointed in.”