3 adjustments the New York Giants need to make after the BYE week

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The New York Giants have won two of their last three-game thanks to stellar defensive play. Patrick Graham’s unit has given up 20 points or fewer during that period, but an average offense would’ve gone a long way in a more dominant stretch.

The offense has been abysmal due to poor play-calling, which is directly correlated to inefficient pass-blocking and injuries to the WR core. Jason Garrett shoulders a fair portion of the blame, mainly for his inefficient usage of first-downs and red-zone play-calling. For example, the inexcusable reliance on fade routes is becoming absurd — taking a page out of the Rams’ playbook would suffice; bunch formation, speed-outs to quick receivers like Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard (when healthy), would be a far more effective strategy.

However, as the Giants target Week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their return to action, they’re anticipating the return of several players, including Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas.

Three adjustments the New York Giants need to make after the BYE:

1.) Shift Matt Peart over to RT

The Giants’ reliance on OT Nate Solder has gone beyond its limits, and it’s time for them to move forward in a younger direction, preferably one named Matt Peart.

Solder has allowed 3.0 sacks, 6 QB hits, 18 hurries, and 27 pressures over 370 pass-blocking snaps. He’s far and away the team’s worst option at OT, which is why the avoidance of Peart at RT is becoming comical.

Once Thomas returns to action, Peart should be the starter at RT without any hesitation. His dominance as a run-blocker has stood out in the absence of Thomas, and they could use the production with Barkley’s expected return. Peart played a considerable part in Devontae Booker’s 99-yard performance against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

The logical point in starting Peart on the right side is based around his youth and pass-blocking efficiency compared to Solder. The veteran tackle has been a turnstile at RT, and while he will likely stick around with the Giants next season (he’s owed $4M in guaranteed money), it’s time to change the guard to a player with legitimate potential.

2.) Include Devontae Booker in running-game with Saquon’s return

It’s becoming clear that Booker’s impact on the running game is superior to that of Barkley, mainly because he’s a better scheme fit. The Giants run a power-gap scheme, and Booker’s ability to pick gaps quicker and make deceive moves gives him a competitive edge.

Barkley is a hesitant runner coming off several injuries, which hurts his efficiency behind a spotty OL. In addition, he relies on the home-run, rather than grinding out 5-10 yards at a clip to give the offense better field position and probability of moving the chains.

Upon Barkley’s return, the offense needs to keep Booker heavily involved in short-yardage situations and early downs. Barkley being a glorified scat-back with receiving duties will mitigate injury and help maximize his best talents.

3.) Simplify the defense

The Giants’ defense has resorted back to a more simplified version, comparable to 2020’s strategy. Graham’s unit has excelled the past three weeks, using a “bend don’t break” approach. That’s exactly how they survived last season, playing soft-zone, keeping the ball in front of them, and rallying to the ball-carrier.

The emergence of safety Xavier McKinney and the improved play of James Bradberry and Adoree Jackson has helped tremendously. McKinney displayed some of his vintage aggression against Vegas, recording two INTs, one of which was a Pick-6.

I would be remiss not to mention Leonard Williams, who has picked up the slack in the pass-rush category. A lack of quality outside linebackers has stunned the Giants’ defense at times, but the newfound combo of Azeez Ojulari and Quincy Roche could be a long-term solution (at least for the rest of season).

Playing more base 3-4 with rotation defensive backs and soft zone is what we should expect from the Giants’ defense in the coming weeks, but against a Tom Brady and the Bucs, they will need to be aggressive and win with their pass rush.

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