The New York Giants' offensive issues continued to rear their ugly head in Saturday's 21-20 preseeason win over the New York Jets. They rushed for only 39 yards on 20 carries and the pass protection was abysmal once again.
Head coach Ben McAdoo, who has run the Giants' offense the past two seasons with positive results, is as puzzled as anyone else these days on why his team is struggling moving the football.
"Offensively, obviously we need to go forward. We need to a better job of going forward," McAdoo said on his Sunday conference call with reporters. "Everything there is correctable. I'm expecting a lot of questions there about the offensive line, but it's more than just the offensive line. But everything is correctable, we need to work hard to finish, detail our fundamentals, eliminate the penalties and we need to stay ahead of the chains."
Many believe the front office's inability to add a stud lineman in the offseason is coming home to roost. The Giants are beginning the season with the same five linemen as last year. Although offensive line was hig up on the list of offseason priorities, the team went empty handed in the draft and free agency.
"I think that everything with the offensive line is correctable," McAdoo said. "We need to have better effort to finish. Our detail and our fundamentals need to improve and we need to stay out of long yardage situations."
But blocking is not just specific to the offensive line; it is a team effort, and McAdoo called out the entire offense to pick up its game.
"I think everybody's included in the blocking part of things," McAdoo said. "Our tight ends are also a part of that as well."
Larry Donnell and Will Tye, the team's top two tight ends, have been having issues in pass protection this preseason. Factor in the absence of Will Johnson and the dimishing use of a fullback and that explains the blocking issues.
McAdoo said Tye was still developing despite his productivity, and that no decisions have been made at tight end, though the decision was made easier Matt LaCosse underwent knee surgery.
"We have a lot of competition at the position," McAdoo said. "It's really open at this point in time. We're giving guys an opportunity to go out there and compete for the positions. Larry has done a nice job for us, he made a nice play for us yesterday. We need to find some guys who can block better for us."
It remains to be seen if it could be rookie Jerell Adams. With undrafted free agent Ryan Malleck appearing overmatched on Saturday and with the top tight ends struggling with their blocking assignments, it can't hurt to give the rookie a long look.
It is the offensive line, though, that is under fire. Granted, the Giants have been playing without LG Justin Pugh, but the film shows the group has not carried over the speed and cohesiveness from last season.
"You can't point any offensive line struggles to one person," McAdoo said. "The unit has to play well, they have to play well together, and when it is the next man up he has to step in, and they all have to function the same and they have to function well together. You can't just blame that on one individual."
McAdoo said he believes the Giants have the right five and was still confident the group would come around and play at a high level. He was asked how that was going to unfold.
"I think we can tighten up our assignments, but it is really the details and the fundamentals," he said. "We need to be detailed in what we are doing fundamentally, and then we have to work like heck to finish hard and finish with effort."
The Giants will trim their roster down to 75 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday and then face the New England Patriots on Thursday at MetLife Stadium for their last chance to get their offense going before the regular season. How many starters will play has yet to be determined.