Many believe the Giants improved their team during the draft. The additions of Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas in the first round, UConn tackle Matt Peart in the third round, and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux in the fifth round solidifies that the offensive line issues were not just a product of scheme and coaching.
The front office focused on improving that unit in hopes of unleashing the full potential of their backfield. Running back Saquon Barkley has shown brilliance early in his career despite being behind one of the most inconsistent run-blocking units in the NFL.
The upgrade at left tackle and the push on the right side and interior should pay dividends for Barkley.
Barkley should love new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett because his offense matches Barkley's style perfectly. Barkley is a runner who likes to set up his blocks, so plays that give a runner multiple options allow his genius as a runner to show.
Let's look at some film clips to see how Barkley and his quarterback, Daniel Jones, stand to benefit from what the Giants have done in the draft.
This first is an inside zone play on which Barkley scored a touchdown. The Giants are in a tight trips bunch formation. They are running zone to the weak side of the formation.
This inside zone run gives Barkley options. He is supposed to run with the flow of the offensive line blocking, which is to his left. But, when the defense overplays the flow of the offensive line, Barkley cuts back to the strong side where he finds a crease, explodes through the opening and scampers for a touchdown.
The next clip, below, is another example of the inside zone. This time the Giants are in the shotgun, and Barkley is offset to quarterback Daniel Jones right. They run the same weak side zone concept as the previous clip.
Barkley does a great job of showing patience as the linemen finish getting into position. Once he sees the hole appear, he used his superior athleticism to burst through the opening and run 67 yards for a touchdown.
This final clip is not a zone play, but it still allows Barkley multiple options to run the ball.
This play is a variation of the outside sweep. The uncovered linemen (the right tackle and center) pull to the outside and become lead blockers for Barkley. Barkley is aligned to the right of Jones in the shotgun.
On the snap, he steps left to get the ball then plants and goes right. The beauty of the play is that he can choose to follow his linemen outside, but he sees a crease form due to the defense overcompensating for the pulling linemen.
He plants his foot and gets vertical immediately. When you watch the clip, notice how early Barkley realizes this is going to be a touchdown. He raises his hand in the air while still flanked by defenders, then pulls away from them for a 68-yard touchdown.
While Barkley will surely be the catalyst for the Giants' offensive success, Daniel Jones' improvement is necessary if the Giants aspire to reach the playoffs.
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Like Barkley, Jones should be excited to work in Garrett's offense, which seems to fit Jones' skillset.
Jones' Achilles heel last season and even back into college was pressure. He has not performed well consistently when dealing with pressure. He needs time to process and a clean pocket in which to operate. That's where he's at his best.
The additions and subsequent changes coming on the offensive line mixed with the schemes Garrett plans to implement should result in cleaner pockets for Jones. The following clips show how dangerous Jones can be when given time.
In this first clip, the Giants are lined up in a "trips left tight," so Jones only has to kick in on one side of the field (another plus for him).
Notice on the snap of the ball, the left tackle and guard do a great job of fanning (extending to their outside) the tackle picks up a blitzer, and the guard blocks the defender that was lined up over the tackle.
The other four blockers on the line secure the players on the backside. Barkley has a check release. With no pressure in his face, Jones can decipher the coverage and drop throw a touchdown ball into a small window past the cornerback but before the safety can arrive.
This next clip is a five-man projection. The route combination allows him to read half the field, where he excels.
You will notice that the left tackle is getting bull-rushed deep into the pocket, but he's still covering the defender up. Jones can sidestep the left tackle and buy another second to deliver a touchdown strike to Barkley, who released from the backfield and ran a seam route.
Although there were bodies around him, the pocket was relatively clean, and Jones took advantage of it.
This final clip is what many Giants fans (and coaches) hope to see more of this season.
This is five-man protection versus a five-man pressure. All of the interior defenders are picked up by the guards and center, the right tackle blocks the outside linebacker rushing and the left tackle fans to pick up the blitzing linebacker.
With the clean pocket, Jones was able to allow his slot receiver to clear and hits an underneath route to Golden Tate that he's able to take in for a touchdown.
Jones and Barkley are in this team's plans for the future and are going to be their best hope for success in the present. Making them more comfortable and allowing them to play to their strengths only makes sense.
Upgrading positions that directly affect their well-being will also help their production, which in turn should make the entire offensive more successful.
Video clips via NFL Game Pass.