PHOENIX — Getting rid of Odell Beckham Jr. is one thing. Replacing him is another.
So now that the Giants have traded one of the most dynamic and prolific pieces to their offense, they are left trying to design a scheme with the pieces that remain and the few that they already have added.
“We have a lot of fine players on offense, so we’ll just spread the ball,” Pat Shurmur said at the NFL’s annual meetings on Tuesday. “We’ll find a way.”
That way may not include more Saquon Barkley. The NFL’s offensive rookie of the year will enter his second season as the undisputed focal point of opposing defenses, but Shurmur said he doesn’t want Barkley to be the center of the offense.
“I don’t think of it that way,” Shurmur said of building an offense around Barkley. “We have an outstanding running back who is going to get his touches and we’re going to build an offense to score more points, more like we did at the end of [last] year than we did at the beginning.”
Barkley already was a big part of the Giants’ offense last season. He had 261 carries and 91 receptions, giving him 352 touches. Will the 100 or so opportunities that went toward Beckham funnel now to Barkley? Shurmur seemed to think not.
“I’ve always believed the ball needs to be spread around,” he said. “In games where you look at the final analysis on the stat sheet and six or seven guys touched the ball, I think that’s the way you want to play offense.”
There are others who will be asked to help fill the production hole left by Beckham, including tight end Evan Engram, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and free-agent wide receiver Golden Tate.
“I think when you play offense you try to get the most out of the players you have and use their skill sets,” Shurmur said. “I really do believe it takes a village to spread the ball around.”