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Giants' offense uses multiple weapons

Odell Beckham of the Giants rolls over in

Odell Beckham of the Giants rolls over in the end zone after his fourth-quarter touchdown reception against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It's hard to find a transcendent star in the Giants' offense, the kind of player who can carry a team by himself and put up MVP-caliber numbers. There is no receiver who will lead the league in yardage, no back who will approach 2,000 rushing yards. Eli Manning, particularly now in the West Coast system, probably won't be putting up gaudy numbers.

But what they lack in individual accomplishments they seem to make up for as a unit. They are certainly among the league's most diverse offenses, and with the addition of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the arsenal they can spread a defense thin enough to break through it like a homecoming banner.

"I think we're pretty loaded offensively,'' wide receiver Rueben Randle said Wednesday.

The evidence shows him to be right.

Consider that tight end Larry Donnell scored three touchdowns in the win over Washington two weeks ago. In the following game, Donnell did not catch any passes, and yet the Giants still scored 30 points in another victory.

The Giants are one of only four teams to have three receivers with 21 or more receptions, and one of six with two running backs with two or more touchdown runs.

On Sunday night, the Giants (3-2) will visit the Eagles, who although 4-1 have allowed an average of 28.8 points in their last four games.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly, on a conference call yesterday, said: "I think if your game plan going in is to say, 'If we shut this guy down, we're going to be OK,' there are too many weapons on that side of the ball.

"Eli's so good at what he's doing right now. He's got all five guys, all five guys are live, and all five guys can hurt you.''

That diversity is the key to the new offense, which is based more than ever on taking what other teams give the Giants.

"It's a good situation to be in,'' Manning said. "We have a lot of receivers that can get open, tight ends, running backs. We have to find ways to give them the ball. Just going through my progressions and not trying to force the ball to one person, just trying to get through my reads, and guys are doing a good job of getting open on the early reads.''

Added Victor Cruz: "When all of our receivers have three or more catches, when we're moving the ball downfield, when we're running the ball the way we know how, we're definitely in a groove.''

The Giants who have been here for a while are hesitant to declare this group the most anything. "Going forward, we hope we can use everybody and everybody will step up to the task,'' Tom Coughlin said. "It is a big one.''

Manning said it may seem as if the Giants have more playmakers because they put more on the field at the same time.

"We probably get into more sets where we have four receivers on the field and a tight end,'' he said. "You're kind of putting all your weapons out there at the same time, so I think maybe that's just a combination of getting into more of those personnels where you have a lot of receivers on the field.''

Randle said it's "fun'' to go into a game not knowing for sure who the big target will be.

"We're not trying to force anything,'' he said. "We just try to go out there and execute our game plan and take what they give us. That's kind of our mindset right now.'

Sometimes it leads to situations like Donnell's against the Falcons, when he was targeted on just one pass and did not have any catches.

"Get back on Vic, get back on those guys, the real weapons, and let me do my thing,'' Donnell jokingly urged opponents.

Ultimately, though, it leads to teams having to make decisions. Few would seem to have enough quality defensive backs to cover all of them at once.

Said Donnell: "I really don't see going forward how teams are going to handle all of us.''

New York Sports