The 1-3 Giants’ search for answers to improve stagnant offense

Jaime C. Harris | 10/4/2018, 3:29 p.m. | Updated on 10/4/2018, 3:29 p.m.
The emotions and perspectives of Giants players varied Sunday night in the team’s locker room at MetLife Stadium after a ...
Rookie running back Saquon Barkley's evident talent hasn't been enough to jumpstart a Giants offense ranked 23rd overall in the NFL. Contributed

The emotions and perspectives of Giants players varied Sunday night in the team’s locker room at MetLife Stadium after a disappointing 33-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

It was their third defeat in four games to start the 2018 schedule, substantially decreasing their odds of making the playoffs for only the second time in the last seven seasons.

“We just have to figure things out and try get better as a whole,” said linebacker Alec Ogletree. “There’s a lot of football left in the season. We know some of the areas we have to improve on so we’re going to work on just getting better as a team.”

Although Ogletree was speaking in generalities, it is the Giants offense in particular that has been at the core of their disconcerting beginning. Overall, the unit is ranked 23rd in the 30-team NFL, generating just 314.3 yards per game and averaging a substandard 18.3 points.

They have been unable to effectively maximize the immense talents of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie running back Saquon Barkley as a result of breakdowns by the offense line, schemes that have been countered by opposing defenses and inconsistent execution.

Barkley is only the fifth player in NFL history to start his career with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game. Additionally, he leads all rookies with 27 receptions. Yet those numbers have translated into the Giants’ scoring more than 20 points just once, in Week 3 in a 27-22 victory over the Houston Texans.

“I do believe that we’re very close,” said the 21-year-old Barkley. “I do believe that we’re still talented. I still believe that the sky is the limit. We have to continue to believe in each other, continue coming to work. Start over right now.”

Beckham, whose exasperation was tangible after catching seven passes for a mere 60 yards against the Saints, placed the focus of the Giants’ results on himself. “I’m doing everything I can,” he said. “I’ve put my all into this.”

He continued, “I’ve sacrificed everything and made personal changes to be the best teammate and bring everything I can every Sunday. It’s a little disappointing when you leave like this. You work five, six, seven days a week for 60 minutes of football. I hate to waste those 60 minutes.”

With 12 games remaining, the Giants are last in the NFC East. It’s too early to dismiss their chances of winning the division, but a loss to the Carolina Panthers on the road this Sunday would place that aspiration as well as the goal of making the playoffs in peril.