New York Giants: Eli Manning Will Utilize His Receivers Differently In 2019

New York Giants, Eli Manning, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard
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Eli Manning and the New York Giants are entering a new era in 2019: the post-OBJ era. Odell Beckham Jr. was controversially traded during the 2019 NFL offseason after five rocky seasons with the team. Beckham Jr. was an incredible talent, but a controversial player.

The Giants were a highly competitive team only once while Odell was on the roster. In 2016 the Giants made it to the playoffs after an 11-5 regular season. Other than that 2016 season, the Giants never had a winning season during the OBJ-era and their best record was 6-10.

Now the New York Giants’ offense is not lead by Beckham, but rather by the 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, Saquon Barkley. Along with Barkley are a couple of other receivers. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard will now be Eli Manning’s primary receivers, and he will have to utilize them much differently than he utilized Odell Beckham Jr.

No More Forcing The Ball To Beckham

Many NFL analysts and Giants fans alike have been highly critical of Giants quarterback Eli Manning for the way he forced the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. even though he was heavily covered. It happened time after time during the 2018 NFL season.

Eli Manning threw 8 interceptions during the first 12 games of the season, the games that Odell was present for. Beckham missed the last 4 games of the season. Of those 8 interceptions, 4 of them were passes intended for Odell Beckham Jr. while he was blanketed in coverage (1 v. CAR, 1 v. WAS, 1 v. PHI, 1 v. CHI).

The worst of them all came in Week 12 on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. Eli and the Giants were playing a near perfect game in the first half. But then, Manning got Odell-induced-tunnel-vision. The Giants were leading 19-11 with 20 seconds left in the first half. Big Blue was in field goal range, so all they had to do was play it conservatively, kick a field goal, and take an 11 point lead at halftime.

Instead, Eli Manning decided to force the ball into triple coverage down the middle of the field, despite having Saquon Barkley and Corey Coleman wide open underneath. Take a guess who this pass was intended for. Yep, Odell Beckham Jr:

Here is another red zone interception from Manning intended for Beckham. The Giants were yet again in a prime position to score points. Eli felt the need to force the ball to Beckham in the red zone constantly, and sometimes it came back to bite him. Take this pick versus Washington as an example:

Sterling Shepard And Golden Tate Are Reliable And Quiet

Eli Manning will not feel pressure to force the ball to anyone in 2019. There is no longer a big-name superstar receiver demanding the ball in high volume on the Giants. Instead, Manning has two reliable, quiet receivers to get the ball to in Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate.

The Giants offense will be missing a superstar. However, Eli Manning will no longer have tunnel-vision for that superstar. Losing Odell Beckham was tough for Giants fans. But there is a silver lining.

2019 might finally be the year that Sterling Shepard surpasses 1,000 receiving yards. Shepard has seen his yardage total increase every year and posted a career-high 873 yards in 2018.

According to Pro Football Focus, Shepard dominated the intermediate range of the field a season ago, hauling in 19 receptions on throws targeted 10-19 yards past the line of scrimmage. All 19 of those receptions achieved a first down, and 14 of them went for well more than 15 yards. On those receptions, his 19.5 yards per catch ranked fifth among all NFL receivers.

Sterling Shepard has proven himself to be a reliable receiver in only three seasons. His veteran counterpart, Golden Tate is also as reliable as they come. Tate has had three seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards and made the Pro Bowl in 2014 with the Detroit Lions.

Since 2014, Golden Tate has lead the league in forced missed tackles with an insane 118 missed tackles forced. Here is a play that Giants fans will love where Golden Tate puts his elusiveness on display and embarrasses the Dallas Cowboys defense:

The New York Giants’ offense will be much different in 2019. However, the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. does not mean the Giants’ offense will be bad; just different. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are two excellent receivers who will be reliable and productive for the Giants in 2019.