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Giants' Unbalanced Offense Getting the Job Done

The Giants' offense isn't posting flashy numbers, but it's getting the job done thanks to feeding its strength.

Among the philosophies held by the great Vince Lombardi was that he would have his great Packers teams continue doing something to an opponent so long as it was successful until they figured out how to stop them.

The New York Giants, in the spirit of Lombardi, have adopted that philosophy of late, even though no one is just yet to confuse the 2022 Giants with those great Packers teams. In their surprising 7-2 start to the 2022 season, the Giants have gravitated more toward being a one-dimensional offense, one that primarily rides on the legs of running back Saquon Barkley while passing the ball more or less on an “as-needed basis.”

Outside of their two losses to Dallas and Seattle, and, technically, their Week 2 win over Carolina, the Giants' run-pass play distribution has been heavily tipped toward the run, and all of those games have been victories.

The breakdown (run-pass), result:

  • Week 1: 32-21 (win) 
  • Week 2: 33-34 (win)
  • Week 3: 25-37 (loss)
  • Week 4: 44-16 (win)
  • Week 5: 31-27 (win)
  • Week 6: 31-27 (win)
  • Week 7 39-30 (win)
  • Week 8: 28-31 (loss)
  • Week 9: bye
  • Week 10: 47-17 (win)

The latest success story born from this approach was Sunday’s 24-16 win over the Houston Texans. The Giants, whose offense right now won't be mistaken any time soon for the famed St. Louis Rams "Greatest Show on Turf" (1999-2001), ran the ball 47 times for 191 yards but only threw it 17 times, completing 13 for 197 yards.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll and his staff have a good grasp of what they have and what they don’t regarding the talent to be more balanced. In explaining why the team has more or less settled into being a power running offense, he said after going through the advanced scouting reports of the next opponent. It’s all about knowing the strengths of the players the Giants have available on a week-to-week basis.

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“It’s Week 11; I think we have a fair idea of what some of those are,” Daboll said. “The coaches sit down. They watch the opponent. They go through. They have a lot of discussions. When I’m looking at it, I’m looking at it holistically in terms of the kicking game, defense, and offense, and just how I think we need to play the game to win.”

The passing game has been an afterthought of late, and with good reason. The Giants' top three receivers heading into this season—Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard—have given them virtually nothing for various reasons. Toney was traded to Kansas City in a trade. Shepard suffered a torn ACL earlier in the year.

Golladay continues to be the Giants' lackluster version of Golladay, who has as many dropped passes as he does receptions (two) this year, and who was benched after a lackluster first half against the Texans Sunday.

Still, on the whole, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. And certainly, the way the Giants have been approaching the game on offense suggests that their system isn’t flawed to the point where a drastic change is necessary.

But logic would dictate that at some point, the Giants might need to throw the ball as much, if not more if they are to have a chance at winning that particular week. So are they built to do that despite their issues in the passing game?

“I don’t know,” Daboll said. “You practice that each week. You’re ready, and try to be as ready as you can in every situation. I think you just take each game as they come and coach and play the way you need to play for that week.” 

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