The dynamic offense that the Giants were supposed to have this season is turning into a one-man show. And no one seems to mind.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been the target of exactly one-third of the team’s passes in the last three games (47 of 141), and in Sunday’s loss to Washington he was targeted 18 times on 51 attempts (more than 35 percent). Against the Jets on Sunday — with or without Darrelle Revis on the field — expect those numbers to be similar.
“I think it’s you want the ball in the hands of the guys who can be the most productive,” Tom Coughlin said of the slanted rationing. The problem is, there are no productive “guys” in the Giants’ offense. Just a guy. Singular.
What was supposed to be a receiving group that forced defenses to choose their poison has become one that is increasingly relying on one in particular. The triumvirate of Beckham, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle never materialized on the field because of Cruz’s injuries, but Randle has been a disappointment, Dwayne Harris has been asked to do more than expected, rookie Geremy Davis has not cracked the offensive ceiling, and recent signing Hakeem Nicks is still learning the new offense.
“We’ve had other people that are open,” Coughlin said. “You saw it in the last few minutes of the game with the two touchdown drives that people are open or able to get open — sometimes not in the timeliest fashion as you’d like. But there’s plenty of opportunities for people to get open.”
And yet, the ball goes to Beckham twice as often as any other Giant (he has been targeted 122 times, Randle 61). Last year Beckham was targeted 130 times, Randle 127.
Eli Manning said he wasn’t force-feeding Beckham against Washington, even though it may have looked that way.
“It’s just kind of the way things were called based on the coverages they were playing and had a lot of man coverage, one-on-one coverage with him, and the routes,” Manning said. “He was my number one receiver on a lot of those, just kind of based on where he was lined up at the time. When you have that matchup and you have one-on-one with him, you hope you can connect on those, and make some big plays out of it.”
One of the reasons there were so many opportunities was because the Manning-Beckham connection was not always successful. Beckham made a ridiculous touchdown grab in the fourth quarter, but he did little else to force Washington to change. He finished with nine catches for 142 yards.
“I think we have to complete more of them,” Manning said. “I know he had a great one-handed catch, but I thought we had too many throws to him that we didn’t complete down the field. He and I have to get together on that and figure out how we have to make some of those plays.”
Getting others involved could lower the number of times Beckham is targeted, but should improve his completion percentage.
“It’s not about forcing the ball to him, it’s about giving him a shot to make some plays,” Manning said. “But we have to figure out how to connect on more of those.”