The preseason may be completed, but that doesn't mean the Giants' new offense is. Eli Manning said Friday he expects the system to be a "work in progress" not only up until the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 in Detroit, but beyond that.
Well beyond that.
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"I think it's still trying to get it exactly the way we want it," Manning said after a largely disheartening five-game preseason in which the starters produced only two sustained drives. "It's not the final product right now. It's going to be, the more games, the more plays we get, the more practice . . . There's definitely room for improvement and that will be a season-long situation, which is, I think, normal. That's not a bad thing."
It is, though, a far cry from coordinator Ben McAdoo's self-imposed deadline.
"Monday night in Detroit," McAdoo said earlier this month, "we need to be 100 percent ready to go."
Manning made it clear that the Giants expect to be functioning at a high level by then.
"Don't get me wrong, we're ready for Week 1," he said. "But I think as a season goes on, you're always looking to improve . . . You don't want to alarm people and say, 'We've got to get better, we've got to keep getting better.' That's just part of it. We're going to keep getting better but we can still go out there and be successful and do good things and win games but still strive to make improvements within our offense."
If it's Manning's desire not to alarm people, he had a funny way of showing it during the preseason, completing only 20 of 41 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. In two of the five games, he didn't throw for a single yard.
Tom Coughlin noted that the team stressed the running game this summer, sometimes to the detriment of throwing the ball.
"I am very confident we are going to get the passing game straightened around," Coughlin said. "Have we sat back and flat-out thrown the ball in one game? No, we haven't . . . Perhaps there should have been a time where we did nothing but throw the ball, but that really was not something that I wanted to entertain during this preseason."
Said Manning, "We haven't thrown the ball down the field a whole lot, so I think there's definitely room to score some points and to move the ball and be successful. It's just a matter of doing it."
Ideally, sooner rather than later.
Notes & quotes: G Geoff Schwartz (toe) could be a candidate for short-term injured reserve as the Giants cut their roster to 53 players this weekend. That would make him ineligible to return until Week 9 of the season . . . Coughlin said LB Jon Beason (toe) should be taken off PUP this weekend and cleared to practice on Monday . . . FB Henry Hynoski suffered a left shoulder contusion Thursday that did not sound serious. WR Mario Manningham's calf strain, though, likely means the end of his comeback attempt. "Any time you have an injury that occurs right at the final hour, it adds another dimension to the selection that perhaps you didn't want to deal with," Coughlin said. "I'll just leave it at that."