The Giants offense doesn’t appear to be any better than last season through two preseason games, and now Ben McAdoo is leaving the door open for possible changes on the offensive line.
After praising second-team linemen Brett Jones and D.J. Fluker during a conference call on Tuesday, McAdoo was asked if Fluker, a former first-round pick, could possibly replace John Jerry as starting right guard.
“We’re going to look at those options and talk through them as the week goes on and see how it shakes out,” McAdoo said. “We haven’t lost confidence in John Jerry or anyone on the offensive line, for that matter.”
While he may say he has full confidence in his starting line, it’s really only the second time since he has taken over as head coach that McAdoo has openly entertained the thought of replacing one of his O-line starters. The only other came last season, when he replaced since-departed right tackle Marshall Newhouse with Bobby Hart, then reversed the switch late in the year. He had remained steadfastly committed to this same five to start 2017, though, until now.
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Jerry and right tackle Bobby Hart particularly stood out in Monday’s preseason loss to the Browns for all the wrong reasons. On the very first drive, the two of them seemingly froze as Cleveland’s defense ran a stunt, allowing linebacker Joe Schobert into the backfield untouched to sack Eli Manning.
It’s not just pass protection where the line needs to improve, either. It’s the running game, which may be the team’s biggest concern.
The last four seasons the Giants have finished in the bottom half of the league in yards per carry and things haven’t looked much better through two preseason games thus far.
Big Blue rushed for just 65 yards on 20 attempts, an average of 3.3 yards per carry, against the Browns and averaged 3.2 yards per carry against the Steelers on Aug. 11.
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The running game and interior line often go hand in hand, and McAdoo pointed out that issue while also criticizing the rest of the offense for the lack of a running game.
“I think we had some opportunities to have some runs come out,” he said of the interior line. “Again, whether we run the ball well or not, it’s not just the offensive line. Everybody’s included. It takes all 11 to be successful there.”
His point of everybody being responsible for the ground game was evident on the very first playe, when Browns corner Jamar Taylor blew by Brandon Marshall to get into the backfield and tackle Perkins for no gain.
“The receivers have to be better versus slam corners. The tight ends, in line and from the backfield, need to do a better job. They weren’t even close yesterday,” McAdoo said.
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It’s also the second straight week Paul Perkins has finished with fewer total rushing yards than his longest run of the game. Against the Steelers he had a seven-yard carry but finished with three total yards. In Cleveland, he had a 16-yard gain but finished with 10 rushing yards.
“The running backs have to take the right footwork at the right pace and, of course, have to be on point and read their cues,” McAdoo said. “We left some runs on the field yesterday.”
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