When it comes to parceling out blame for Sunday night’s abysmal offensive performance, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he couldn’t just point to the play of the offensive line, the performance of the receivers, or even the production from his two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
“There’s enough to go around,” he said Monday after a 23-16 loss to the Packers in which the Giants managed only 219 yards of total offense despite facing a team that came in with one of the worst pass defenses in the league and had their two starting cornerbacks on the sideline with injuries. It was the Giants’ lowest output since they finished with 197 yards in the 2014 opener at Detroit.
McAdoo said all elements of the offense will be dissected from the play of Eli Manning to his own role as play-caller for the unit.
“We evaluate everything,” he said, “and everything is on the table.”
For a team that McAdoo had touted as due for a breakout, and one that seemed to be poised to start churning out yards and points, the lack of forward movement was startling.
The three sacks and repeated hurries of Manning were the most glaring place to pin the problem, but McAdoo insisted it was a complete letdown and not just one based on blocking.
“Our pass game needs to improve, whether it’s depth of routes, whether it’s spacing, the quarterback sitting in there making accurate throws,” he said. “We need to finish some throws and come up with some plays. It’s not just pass protection, it’s a little bit of everything.”
And yet for opposing defenses, it seems to be mostly the same thing. Green Bay played a scheme similar to the ones employed by Washington and Minnesota in recent weeks to baffle the passing game. With two safeties back deep — a cover-2 — there is little chance for the receivers to get behind the defenders. It’s a simple defensive philosophy, yet the Giants seem to be tripped up by it.
“We went in with a plan for cover-2,” McAdoo said.
He noted that the Giants could not run the ball well against the stingy Packers front, which never forced Green Bay to bring extra help into the box.
Even when he was given adequate time, Manning seemed to miss easy throws he hit earlier in the season. He overthrew Odell Beckham Jr., underthrew Victor Cruz and had trouble connecting with Sterling Shepard on a couple of out passes. It was almost reminiscent of Manning’s struggles in 2012, when reports surfaced that he had a dead arm.
“He’s healthy as far as I’m aware,” McAdoo said.
That trio of receivers came into the game totaling 811 combined receiving yards in four games. They had only 70 Sunday, none from Cruz, who was shut out for the first time in the 55 games in which he has played. Before Sunday, he’d had at least two receptions in every game he played in dating to the 2011 opener in Washington.
“All of it was frustrating, not just the fact they had their corners out,” Cruz said after the game. “We couldn’t get points on the board, we couldn’t get into a groove. Just all of it in general.”
And all of it will be evaluated.
Said McAdoo: “I think we need to regroup, we need to surrender our ego, stay together and work to win this week.”
Notes & quotes: You know it was a tough game on the line of scrimmage when McAdoo is asked why his tackles struggled and he has to ask if the question is about the offensive or defensive ones. In this case, it was offensive. “We need to do a better job of maintaining the pocket,” he said after the clarification. “We had some bull rushes. They’re a good front, you have to give them credit, but we have to do a better job.” Asked if Will Beatty will be given a chance to unseat either Bobby Hart or Ereck Flowers at offensive tackle, McAdoo said: “All linemen who are active have an opportunity to compete for a job every week.” . . . McAdoo praised Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a “gutty performance” playing with a groin injury that had him limping around the field. He said it was too early to say if Rodgers-Cromartie or fellow cornerback Eli Apple, who left the game with a groin injury, will be able to practice this week. “Right now, they’re going to get some treatment,” McAdoo said. “[Their availability] has yet to be determined.” . . . Wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris suffered a sprained toe, McAdoo said.