3 factors that could hold back the New York Giants’ offense in 2021

New York Giants, Jason Garrett, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

There’s plenty of reason for optimism regarding the New York Giants’ offense in 2021, but they must overcome a variety of issues that plagued them in 2020. Quarterback Daniel Jones had his fair share of issues, ranging from pocket awareness to trouble progressing through his reads in the passing game. Ultimately, Jones saw a stretch of growth and momentum before suffering a hamstring injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 11, but there’s no question he has the tangible traits and characteristics to be a quality quarterback at the NFL level.

I would argue that the Giants have given Jones little to work with over the past few seasons, which has stunted his growth and physically stopped him from maximizing his potential. Finally, they added a few weapons in free agency, and the NFL draft this offseason, including wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney.

The success of this team simply revolves around Jones, as the NFL has been redefined as an offensive league that focuses on points on the board, as we’ve seen with teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. At times, you can supplement weaknesses on your defense with a quality offense, but the Giants are trying to enjoy the best of both worlds.

There are a few factors that could hold them back in 2021, so let’s take a look at the Giants, and what could hold them back on offense.

Three factors that could hold the New York Giants’ offense back in 2021:

1.) The offensive line

Once upon a time, general manager Dave Gettleman promised that he would solve the offensive line issues, but he has yet to fulfill that goal. The Giants remain optimistic with their group, as they will have in-person training and a pre-season to utilize, which should help tremendously. However, they must overcome the loss of Kevin Zeitler at right guard and develop a more downfield-oriented offense, which is expected. After all, Golladay did say he loved the “vision” of the offense for 2021, so we have to imagine he will be maximized downfield in man coverage.

Ultimately, Daniel Jones will only go as far as the offensive line takes him, as providing more time in the pocket is essential for route development and downfield prowess. If they can hold the line and give Jones a bit more protection, he can take advantage of the best passer rating when targeting receivers 20+ yards down field in 2020.

2.) Play-calling

Last season, former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett took over offensive coordinator duties for the New York Giants. We saw plenty of inadequacies, ranging from poor route concepts to a lack of creativity. The occasional end-around simply didn’t get the job done, but with gadget-style players like Toney, John Ross, and Sterling Shepard, his offense is bound to take a massive step forward. As long as the scheme can catch up with the talent, the Giants could make a significant jump from the 31st ranked offense in points scored per game last year.

3.) Daniel Jones’ pocket-awareness

Quarterback Daniel Jones saw his fumbles drop from 18 to 11 in 2021, but that number is still a bit scary. With more protection in the pocket, Jones will feel more confident in his offensive line, which is essential for success. Daniel Jones is currently undergoing something similar to what Eli Manning faced toward the end of his career with happy feet, feeling pressured when there was nobody there and making silly mistakes out of habit.

However, Jones needs to improve his ball security and awareness from his blindside, and I do expect those factors to advance. Jones did see improvement toward the end of the 2020 season, fumbling just once over the final three games of the year. He did enjoy a stretch in the middle of the season against Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia, where he didn’t lose a fumble, showing that he can improve in that category.

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