It’s not exactly the way the Giants wanted to go about rebuilding their 31st ranked scoring offense, but circumstances beyond their control—namely injuries—have forced offensive coordinator Jason Garrett into a bit more of a "trial and error" mode than he'd probably prefer.
Running back Saquon Barkley (knee), receivers Kenny Golladay (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (COVID), and tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) have all missed the majority of summer training camp while trying to work their way back from their respective ailments.
Then there has been the knee injury to left guard Shane Lemieux and the sudden retirements of Joe Looney (a guy with whom Garrett was familiar from their time in Dallas together) and Zach Fulton, both of which forced the Giants to scramble in finding replacements.
This has meant that Garrett, as he did last year when he didn’t even have an off-season or preseason to at least see some of his plays come to life on the field, has literally had to fly by the seat of his pants.
“I think you have a feel going in, now you just want to see it on the practice field,” Garrett said when asked if he has a good enough grasp regarding who does what well at this point. “We have a notion about what these guys are, we have a vision for what they are and how they fit in, but we need some time on task.”
Unfortunately for the Giants, they’re running out of time to figure these things out as they are set to open the regular season in 10 days. Besides the questions about which offensive skill players they’ll have for the regular-season opener against Denver and the configuration of the offensive line, there is still a matter of determining quarterback Daniel Jones's progress.
Garrett expressed confidence that Jones is heading in the right direction even though he has yet to have his entire group of playmakers on the field with him this year.
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“I think he's in general getting the ball out of his hand quicker, he's more decisive, he's making a lot of good throws,” he said. “We’ve just got to make sure we clean up some of the plays that we want to have back. He knows that and we all know that, and he'll continue to grow from the experiences the more he plays.”
And about that offensive line?
“I think we’re getting better and better,” Garrett said. “There are certainly some examples of stuff where it wasn’t good enough, so we’re just in that process of trying to build on the good stuff and learn from the stuff that wasn’t quite as good. Some of it is recognition, some of it is technique, some of it is just experience, but they’re working hard every day and I think they’re getting better.”
Currently, all the Giants coaches have to go on regarding some of these players who haven’t been able to get on the field much this summer is previous film and scouting reports. That missing element of not seeing the execution of any new wrinkles or assignment changes given to the players is the main reason the offense is on such a slippery slope.
“I mean, you're always learning and growing, and you're always learning more and more about your players,” Garrett said. “I think one of the things that we've always talked about is you never want to put a ceiling on a player.
“You always want to stretch their limits. You want to see them as they can be, if you will, so you want to put them in those situations and see if they can handle it.”
And if they can’t handle it on the fly, get ready for what could be another very long Giants football season.
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