New York Giants: Jason Garrett’s offense is 13 years in the making, what should we expect?

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

When the New York Giants initially brought in former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to take over their offense, they likely foreshadowed 10 years’ worth of experience wrapped up into one all-inclusive scheme.

Ultimately, the offense Dallas ran in 2019 brought a modern approach to the game that included many different styles and sets, continuously breeding unpredictability for opposing defenses and allowing Dallas to expose weaknesses.

I can’t imagine the Giants looked at Garrett and asked him to bring his offense from 2013, when he was forced to give up playcalling, rather than asking him to install the system from the number one ranked passing attack with Dallas last season.

“When we came to Dallas in 2007, we wanted to put in a system of offense that was something we would have with us regardless of the players that we had,” Garrett said. “A system that’s comprehensive and flexible to cater to the strengths and weaknesses of our team. The early part of that tenure, I was the play caller and then three other guys were able to do that, but it was our system. It was flexible.”

What should we expect from Garrett, and what units will benefit from him the most?

Well, running back Saquon Barkley will be a focal point, which should be a necessity considering the Giants spent the second overall pick in 2018 on him. Running backs often have shortened careers in the NFL, and utilizing Barkley with a run-first mentality is the reality of their future offense.

Aside from Barkley, I believe the tight end unit will also benefit significantly from Garrett’s style in 12 personnel. Injuries last year to Rhett Ellison and Evan Engram forced the Giants into 11 personnel far too frequently, limiting their offensive efficiency and pushing former head coach Pat Shurmur into a corner with his play-calling tendencies.

Engram will be a focal point in the passing game, we can predict, based on Garrett’s utilization of Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin over the past few years. Kaden Smith also showed plenty of potential, justifying more starting reps in 2020. The Giants also signed blocking specialist Levine Toilolo to replace Ellison, who retired this off-season after suffering a concussion in 2019.

However, the offensive line has been a priority the past few offseasons, having yet to complete the rebuild. The drafting of Andrew Thomas and signing cam Fleming shores up the tackle position. They also added Matt Peart in the third round to develop at right tackle and Shane Lemieux from Oregon to compete at center along with Nick Gates, Spencer Pulley, and Jon Halapio.

If the offensive line can come together, Barkley and the tight ends should benefit. This also translates to success for quarterback Daniel Jones and the wide receiver corps. There’s’ no doubt that Garrett’s system has evolved from almost a decade ago when he gave up play-calling duties, as his general concept remains in place. At the same time, different coordinators helped round out the utilization of specific talents to fit their mold.

“There’s no question it has evolved. There’s no question the language over the years has evolved and grown. But that’s part of the system. You don’t want your system to be stagnant. This is the only way we can do it, this is the only way we can call it. You want it to grow, you want it to be flexible. I think that’s one of the basic premises of the system we’ll put in.”

I believe year one with Garrett should prioritize the installment of a general scheme that works for every player, but 2021 will begin to dive deeper into specific talents and how to game plan with knowledge players on the roster. This is a significant part of the rebuild, and while I don’t expect the Giants to be dominant on offense next season, they’re taking steps in the right direction.