The Giants have all the ingredients to be one of the most potent offenses in the league: an elite quarterback, an offensive-minded coach, decent runners and big-play receivers.
Yet, four weeks into the season, the Giants are averaging just 18.2 points and relying heavily on their defense to keep them into games. That needs to change this Sunday in Green Bay, according to Victor Cruz, who has been a key component of high-octane offenses of the past couple of years. This is the week the Giants offense has to start pulling its own weight.
“We have to put some points up,” Cruz said Friday after practice. “Obviously, last week and the week before wasn’t indicative of [what we can do]. We want to be able to come out there and put some points on the board. Get ourselves going in the right direction early in the game.”
On paper, this should be a big weekend for quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants receiving corps. The Packers will again be missing Sam Shields, who has not played since he suffered a concussion in the season opener in Jacksonville. The Packers’ passing defense is allowing 307 yards per game, 29th in the league.
“I hope so,” Cruz said when asked if this could be a breakout game. “Every week, you want to realize and reach that full potential. Hopefully, we can come together. This is that game where we kind of break out. Everybody goes for a tremendous amount of yards and we can make things happen. The biggest key is winning the football game.”
The Giants (2-2) opened the season by winning their first two games and looking like a team that could win the NFC East. Penalties, turnovers and lack of emotional control from star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. sent the Giants in a different direction the next two games and they are tied with the Redskins at the bottom of the NFC East.
You can bet that the coaches in Green Bay have a highlight reel of Beckham’s antics over the past two weeks and are instructing their secondary to do what they can to get in his head. Cruz declined to talk about that Friday, but said the Giants need to find a way to get Beckham involved in the offense early.
“You have to get all your playmakers the ball early and often,” Cruz said. “That’s the way you get them acclimated to the game early and get them into a flow. Then they’re comfortable for the rest of the game. Obviously, we want to get everyone the football in a way they can utilize their skill set and get us first downs and touchdowns.”
Notes & quotes: After the Giants locker room availability Friday, it was announced that the NFL confirmed it had fined Beckham $24,309 for his unsportsmanlike penalty in Monday night’s loss to the Vikings. Beckham was penalized for his antics with Xavier Rhodes following a late hit out of bounds by the Vikings cornerback. The fine was Beckham’s seventh in two-plus seasons.