We said coming into the season that even if the Giants played well, they were likely looking at a 1-4 or 0-5 start based on their schedule. That was before Saquon Barkley went down for the season and Sterling Shepard was placed on the IR. The lack of talent around Daniel Jones due to front office decisions and/or injuries is certainly a valid reason for why the Giants Offense is struggling. And Jones absolutely needs to start executing better. But he also hasn’t been put in position to succeed by Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett based on the passing game concepts we’ve seen in 2020. This issue was on display all afternoon against the Rams in Week 4.
Just one week ago, we wrote about how well Josh Allen was playing and we broke down some of his better throws against the Rams in Week 3. On each of those plays, we saw route concepts that challenged the Rams Defense. Defenders were isolated and put into conflict, leading to open receivers and big plays. Against this very same Rams Defense, we saw none of that from the Giants, especially in key situations.
Let’s start with this route concept below. Focus on the middle of the field.
Look at all of those receivers in the same area. It’s not what you want.
I thought one of these receivers must have run the wrong route when I first saw this. But then I saw this same play called and the same thing happen two more times. Clearly, the spacing and timing of these routes was off, because there is no play design on earth that calls for 3 receivers to end up in the same spot.
While the above play might have been comical, the below plays were simply underwhelming. This was 3rd-and-4 in the 4th quarter with the score 10-6 Rams. You can see the route concept illustrated here:
That’s the best you’ve got in a critical moment of the game? Just spread the defense out, clearly define with the route concepts which defender is responsible for which receiver (whether it’s man or zone), and then hope to win 1-on-1’s with a depleted receiving corps? The results were almost too predictable.
Where were the route combinations that attacked a specific area of the field? Where were the route combinations that forced a defender into a high-low or inside-outside conflict? That’s just a noncompetitive play on a critical 3rd down.
And then you had this 3rd-and-3 gem on the Giants’ next drive.
I guess you could say it’s a more imaginative play than the previous one. But it was too slow to develop. Again, the timing on so many of the Giants’ route concepts was just off all day on Sunday.
Also, this might just be a personal preference, but I hate passes behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-short, especially slow-developing ones. The defense is generally tight to the line of scrimmage or sitting on routes near the first-down marker anyway. Unless the perfect play is called, the margin for error is small. The result here was a 1-yard loss, and this went from 4-down territory to a punt on 4th-and-4 (They still should have gone for it anyway).
Later in the 4th quarter, with about two and a half minutes remaining, the Giants did go for it on 4th-and-11. Again, the routes were unimaginative and didn’t put any defenders into conflict.
That said, Jones misfired here. He had a chance if he put that ball inside on Golden Tate, which was where the route was designed to go and where the throw to beat the coverage was. From the end-zone angle, you can get a better feel for the poor ball placement.
Jones actually had the out route he ended up targeting if he just stayed in the pocket and delivered the ball on time. Unfortunately, he moved too early and unnecessarily from a clean pocket, leading to a late and off-balanced throw. Game over.
An offense lacking in talent on the field will obviously have a more difficult time succeeding. It isn’t impossible, though. Scheme can turn a bad group of players into at least something more competent than the worst offense in the NFL. Unfortunately, the Giants have managed to pair a lack of talent with a bad approach. Hopefully for them, a date with what has been an equally as bad Cowboys Defense in Week 5 will be just what they need to get going.
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