NY Sports Day
John Fennelly

Fennelly: Giants GM Reese Knew He Needed to Add Size and Grit to Offense This Year

Joe Amaturo/Sportsday Wire

The New York Giants’ offense was one of the worst in the league in the red zone in 2016. This offseason, they knew they had to do two things – get bigger and more physical. GM Jerry Reese, who has a reputation for smashing ant hills with cinderblocks after last year’s defensive spending spree, this time went to work on on his offense.

The New York Giants failed to score more than 19 points in any of their final six games last year, including their deflating loss in the Wild Card round against the Green Bay Packers.

Much of that was due to their poor performance in the red zone, where they scored a touchdown just 51.11% of the time. Not acceptable for an offense with so many stars and weapons.

This offseason, GM Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo set out to rectify the situation. They knew they needed to get bigger, faster, stronger and tougher on offense. Their top two two free agent targets, 6-foot-4 WR Brandon Marshall and former Vikings tough guy TE Rhett Ellison (6’5″, 250), should have served as enough but Reese went into overkill after watching his team sputter and get pushed around last year.

Then Reese decided to fortify his offensive line by signing D.J. Fluker, a 6-foot-5, 339 pound former first round pick of the San Diego Chargers out of Alabama. Fluker can play both guard and tackle, giving the Giants another option along their most unsettled unit.

Marshall is not only a great red zone receiver but a heckuva blocker as well. He’ll help in both the passing and running games. Ellison, by default, gives the Giants two things they didn’t have at all last year – a fullback and a fierce-blocking TE.

In this year’s draft, the Giants decided that Ole Miss TE Evan Engram would be perfect to take the top off some of those double safety-high formations that frustrated them in 2016.

Lets’ be clear about Engram. At 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, he is not your traditional in-line TE. TEs don’t run 4.48 forties. He’s a weapon. Not only does he become the biggest player past the box, he may also be the fastest. His hands and YAC are very impressive. Phenomenal, in fact. No more watching Larry Donnell and Will Tye fail down the middle of the field. This kid can catch it and go. He is a bigger version of OBJ.

Reese decided the RB he wanted in this draft was Clemson’s Wayne Gallman, who flew under the radar a bit in Dabo Sweeney’s star-studded offense. He is a tough, downhill runner that does a little bit of everything. He is the perfect fit for what the Giants want to do in the red zone and in short yardage situations.

The sixth round pick, Pitt OT Adam Bisnowaty, is certainly imposing at 6’6″, 304. Granted, he has his limitations and an injury history, but has been cited for his toughness and willingness to brawl.

McAdoo called him a player that plays “nasty” and was from “God’s country.” The Giants could use a player like that, no?

He also picked up two massive tackles in the free agent frenzy period after the draft in Tennessee State’s Jessemon Dunker and Chad Wheeler of USC. None are expected to unseat current left tackle Ereck Flowers, who took a step back in 2016 but is gearing up for a bounceback season this fall.

“Ereck did everything that we asked him to do in the off-season,” said McAdoo. “He’s in tremendous condition, he looks quick on his feet. It’s a great opportunity for Ereck just to be out here. He spent a lot of time in the weight room, spent a lot of time conditioning, spent a lot of time on air, so it’s good to get some bodies in front of him so he has a chance to work on his technique.”

But it’s the skill players that will make this offense different in 2017. The Giants will be bigger and tougher when they take the field on offense this year. They have the speed element in place already with WRs Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard as well as RBs Shane Vereen and Paul Perkins. ow they’ll be able to bang it out with the best of them with all of these new big bodies.

 


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