During the offseason, Eli Manning said a reasonable goal for the Giants’ offense should be 28 points per game. A touchdown a quarter. Considering the players the Giants have, that shouldn’t be too hard, right?
Turns out it has been. In three games so far, the Giants have yet to reach 28 points – their high was 27 against Washington last week – and they are averaging just 21.0 per game.
Not to worry. Victor Cruz said the firepower is on the way.
“We haven’t had that game where everyone is playing and everyone is clicking and everything looks good on all cylinders,” the wide receiver said on Friday. “I don’t think we have had that game just yet, but I think we’re close. I think we’re getting there. I think we are just still learning each other, learning how to be around each other, and if we continue to catch the football we will get there.”
Cruz’s comments come a day after Odell Beckham Jr. said essentially the same thing, yearning for “blowout” wins and even suggesting with a straight face that a 66-0 win would be nice. For a team that hasn’t even totaled 66 points all season, that’s a pretty tall order. And for a player who has yet to find the end zone himself this year, it may seem rather strange.
That’s part of the Giants’ scoring problem. Beckham is in the middle of the longest touchdown drought of his career, a span of four games played dating to last year’s game against Carolina on Dec. 20. Prior to this, his only streak of consecutive games without a touchdown was a three-game stretch in his rookie year, the fourth, fifth and sixth games of his career.
“Going three games [this season] and not being in there, you don’t take it for granted anymore,” Beckham said. “It seems like scoring a touchdown is the norm. I know for sure I could score every single game. I feel that way. I’m confident in myself, in my abilities. It’s just the opportunities. I want to be in there, but I want to be in there so we put points on the board. So we can score instead of getting field goals or turning the ball over. You want to end the drives with points and not field goals and turnovers because those are not going to win the game.”
Despite facing a staunch Vikings defense this week, the Giants seem to feel they can find their stride on Monday night in Minneapolis. Their gameplan, Ben McAdoo said, will show no signs of backing down from Minnesota’s ferocious front.
“We’re going to play our game,” McAdoo said. “We have confidence as an offense that we’re going to be able to move the ball, put points on the board, and we’re going to play our game. We’re not going to back down from anybody.”
Cruz, Beckham and rookie Sterling Shepard all have catches over 32 yards this season. That may sound impressive, but the Giants are just one of 15 teams with at least three players with catches of that distance. The Rams and Falcons have four, the Redskins have five.
That’s not to say the Giants need more explosive players. They just need more explosive plays.
“We want to be able to use this passing offense to the best of our ability,” Cruz said. “I think getting down the field and putting the ball in areas where we can make the play more so than we have, that is our strength. That is where we want to excel and where we want to be at our best. I think it has definitely been a point of emphasis, so we will see how it goes.”