One of the biggest criticisms of the Ben McAdoo offense last year - besides his play-calling - was the fact that they used "11 personnel" (three receivers, one tight end, one running back) on more than 90 percent of their plays. It led to cries that the Giants were too predictable and not nearly imaginative enough.
The Giants have leaned on that formation ever since McAdoo arrived as offensive coordinator in 2014, though not nearly as heavily as they did last year. Asked why, McAdoo said "That's the way it shook out."
OK, that's a cop out because as the guy running the offense, the formations can shake out any way he wants. And the Giants did enough self-scouting to know they were using that formation a lot. The fact that they never wavered means they didn't want to waver. Or more likely they couldn't waver in part because of the personnel on their team.
Some of that, McAdoo conceded, was that he didn't have a fullback - Will Johnson and Nikita Whitlock were lost in the summer. It didn't help that the Giants' tight ends struggled so much that using more than one of them made no sense. The simple fact is, a three-receiver set was by far the Giants' best chance of moving the football. Sure, it left them without an extra blocker, but they never felt they had an extra one good enough to help.
Will that change next year? McAdoo said "Ideally you'd like to have some more personnel groups" and "Moving forward, we'll see how it goes." The addition of Rhett Ellison all-but guarantees the Giants will have more flexibility -- and therefore more variety.
Filling out the Giants backfield
Paul Perkins will surely be the leader of the Giants' backfield this season. Newly signed Shaun Draughn provides depth. But two other running backs could be in the mix to split carries with Perkins this season - Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen.
Now, Vereen is much more likely to resume his role as the third-down and two-minute-drill back - not get regular carries in the offense. But McAdoo didn't dismiss the notion, saying Vereen would be "right there in the mix."
Darkwa is the more intriguing one, because the 6-foot, 215-pounder has impressed the Giants in very limited action of the last two seasons, but the numbers game and injuries have often ruined his chance.
"He's a very tough young man to be able to play through (the injuries) he's played through, and I give him a lot of credit." McAdoo said. "He's a talented player, a smart player, he gives you a lot of versatility on special teams. He's a good ball carrier.
"If he's healthy, he can be an impact player for us."
Getting a kick out of kids
Now that veteran kicker Robbie Gould has signed with San Francisco, and veteran Josh Brown is no longer welcomed back, the Giants have only one kicker on their roster -- Aldrick Rosas.
The fact that most people just said "Who?" could be a problem, because it seems risky for a team with Super Bowl dreams to trust such an important position to someone who's never kicked in an NFL game before. But McAdoo likes him. The Giants see some potential. Even former Giants punter Jeff Feagles has endorsed him.
And McAdoo did not sound like he's afraid to give the kicking job to a 22-year-old with no experience at all.
"I like young players - I've said that all along," McAdoo said. "I don't mind getting younger."
He said Rosas, who was an undrafted rookie in Titans camp last summer, has a "strong leg," but is "raw". He also said that "at some point" the Giants may look to add a kicker. What he actually said was "Never say never" - though in this case, don't roll your eyes.
Men in the middle
The Giants appeared to be ready to give second-year pro B.J. Goodson the first shot at the middle linebacker job this season, but McAdoo indicated that Keenan Robinson may compete for that job as well. What's really interesting about the Giants' linebacking situation is that they line up in nickel defenses (three corners) so often there are really only two linebacking jobs. And with Robinson, Goodson, Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas and maybe even a healthy J.T. Thomas there, the corps is very deep. … Don't assume the Giants are going to grab another offensive lineman early in the draft. They might. They've certainly looked at some of the top tackles already. But McAdoo, after a bit of prodding, admitted it's "a safe argument" to say that this is a bit of a down year for offensive linemen in the draft.