Last year the New York Giants were 22nd in the league in offensive DVOA and 22nd in weighted offense. Even if you don’t use advanced stats, the team was 26th in ppg last year and 25th in total yards. No matter how you slice it, the offense was not very good. This past offseason GM Jerry Reese and the Giants brass added free agent receiver Brandon Marshall, and drafted rookie TE Evan Engram. Add in all pro WR Odell Beckham Jr, 2X Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning, and the talented 2nd year WR Sterling Shepard and fans are optimistic about what this offense can do. No doubt Manning will have a collection of weapons at his disposal, but for the offense to be among the league’s top 10, the offensive line and running game will need to improve. Today at training camp there were steps made in the right direction by key members of the offense.
It’s cliche but the game of football is won at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line has to be able to keep the quarterback upright and open holes for the backs. For the Giants, that conversation begins with LT Ereck Flowers and RT Bobby Hart. Reese did not do a ton in the offseason regarding the offensive line, save for bringing in DJ Fluker. Reese and the coaching staff believe in Flowers and Hart, so this camp is critical. Both players stayed in NJ for a lot of the offseason working out together and with position coaches on strength and conditioning and getting better. Head coach Ben McAdoo was complimentary of both players after Saturday’s practice, saying:
"Bobby had a nice day today. He’s bending well and making progress in his technique. He had a couple runs today where he stretched the front side well, which is good to see. Ereck is getting better with his punch and pass protection, he’s working on keeping his hips down and he’s making progress."
From what we saw today, and it’s early, they were among the better players on the line and they will have to continue to improve for the Giants to succeed on offense. Both Ereck and Bobby addressed the media after practice. I asked Ereck about hand speed as an offensive lineman and he stressed its importance. Bobby discussed why he felt it was important to stay and train in NJ at the facility during the offseason and how going against the team’s top pass rushers helps him improve. The competition at Giants camp is intense. Ereck and Bobby have the privilege of going against Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre Paul everyday in practice, which can only help to improve.
The other standout from today’s practice was rookie TE Evan Engram. The Giants conducted several periods in the “green zone.” Engram had an opportunity to get his hands on a lot of passes and he did well. He’s a big target at 6’3″, he along with Marshall should help the Giants this season when they get inside the 20 yard line.