You can bash Jerry Reese all you want, but the facts are the facts. He’s brought in a group of young players that are simply bringing it this season. The transformation of the Giants is in full swing here in 2016.
On offense, 24 year-old WR Odell Beckham, Jr. is one of the brightest stars in the NFL. He is joined by two rookie wideouts in Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis, Jr. that can bot get deep and make big plays. Lewis is poised to get more reps in place of Victor Cruz, who has a low-ankle sprain and will be limited for the near future. Shepard and Lewis both had TD catches in the Giants’ victory over the Eagles last Sunday.
“I think a lot of it is with Roger,” QB Eli Manning said Wednesday. “He’s played well and played well in the preseason, training camp and OTA’s. He’s making a lot of plays. He’s come in, played well when he’s gotten reps. Just try and keep a smaller set of plays for him. Plays where he knows he can go out there and play fast. Each week just keep expanding his role. He can be anywhere and everywhere. Guys have to step up. Whether we have Odell hurt or Victor hurt. Some guys have been banged up. We’ve needed guys to step up in there. Make sure that guy has to play and he’s ready against certain things. Now, he could be called on a little bit more and he’s ready to play.”
The sagging running game is being revamped as well. Rookie Paul Perkins has begun to play a prominent role, splitting carries last week against the Eagles with veteran Rashad Jennings.
“We balanced up the touches there a little bit,” head coach Ben McAdoo said when asked about his decision to bump up Perkins’ touches. “It’s tough to give one guy, feature one guy in the running game these days. You need a couple of guys that can carry the ball for you. He had some good opportunities in there. Some clean looks. On the toss crack, he did a nice job finding the seam. He kept his balance and had a nice run there at the end.”
The run went for 14 yards and was the only highlight the rushing game provided all afternoon. The Giant are still electing to pass the ball over rushing it, something they know they cannot continue to do. At some point, they have to get get that ground game going.
One other sign of progress is at tight end, where Larry Donnell saw no targets against Philly. Second year player Will Tye saw seven targets, catching four and rookie Jerell Adams reeled in three of his four targets. McAdoo liked what he saw from the two.
“Tye definitely had some wiggle after the catch,” the coach said. “We knew that from last year. He showed up in a positive way for us yesterday in that regard. Jerell did a nice job for us out there. He did have a pre-snap penalty which we have to eliminate, but he made some progress, too.”
Expect McAdoo to continue to incorporate the younger players into the lineup. The offense has had little cohesion and is still struggling to find rhythm and identity. He’s willing to invest and trust the players. It’s the only way to succeed in this league these days.
“That’s how I grew up in this business, to get young players and everyone involved in game days that is up,” he said. “Give them all the support they need to be successful. The way to get young players acclimated to the varsity team is to get them out there and get them going. When the snaps get to December and January, it’s not too big for them. It’s not the first time they’re on the field.”