The Giants’ defense carried them to an 11-5 record and wild-card berth in 2016, snapping the franchise’s four-year streak of missing the postseason. But Eli Manning knows he and his upgraded offense need to make significant strides if the Giants have any hope of adding another Lombardi to the trophy case.
“We want to get back to where we’re scoring points and being explosive where we can take over a game,” Manning said Tuesday after the Giants’ first minicamp practice. “Last year the defense was playing great. We understood that. We need to do our part. It wasn’t as easy for us last year. But honestly, when we’re gameplanning this offseason and when we’re doing things, we’re doing it with the expectation that we need to score a lot of points, and how we can score a lot of points, move the ball and be explosive.”
Last season, the Giants finished 25th in total offense and 26th in points per game (19.4.) In 2015, they were eighth in total offense and sixth in points per game (26.3.)
But now they have new weapons in Brandon Marshall and first-round tight end Evan Engram to help boost the Giants’ pass attack along with Sterling Shepard and, of course, Odell Beckham, who was in attendance Tuesday after skipping all 10 voluntary OTAs.
Ben McAdoo made a point this offseason of saying Manning and Beckham needed to connect more efficiently as a combination to help the offense thrive. Manning, who said he’s kept in touch with Beckham through calls and texts, said the enigmatic wide receiver didn’t miss much by not being at OTAs.
Manning, 36, is 12 years older than Beckham and says it can take a number of years for young players to figure out what’s needed from them and how to handle things.
“It’s all new to a lot of guys,” Manning said. “I was in the same position years ago and had to go through it, had to mature and realize things and just understand how to handle everything that’s kind of thrown at you. I think (Beckham’s) doing a good job doing that.”
The quarterback doesn’t have advice for his receiver on how to handle fame because, as Manning described it, Beckham is “at a whole new level.” Manning doesn’t exist in the same NFL as he did when he first entered the league in 2004.
“Everybody’s got to kind of grow with the times, and things have changed,” Manning said. “The NFL’s changed, social media, all that’s changed since I’ve been a New York Giant. So you have to understand the different personalities, the different mindsets of people and how to adjust and handle that.”
As for whether Beckham’s OTA absence has been a distraction, Manning initially answered with dry humor. “Well, luckily we haven’t had any media, so we haven’t been asked about it. So this is the first time,” Manning said. “So no, you can’t make it a distraction. People are gonna ask about him. He’s an interesting guy and they want to know what’s going on.”