The New York Giants Are Improving – But Why, How, And When?

Another week has gone by, giving New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning a chance to show that he still has something left in the tank. The question is, can he earn himself a shot at a potential future with the Giants, after rumors began to spread of his release after the 2018 season?

Whether the fan base likes it or not, he’s given himself some breathing room with his performance the last two weeks. It’s important to recognize that Eli’s performance comes down to more than him, it has taken every member of the offense to put a good quality product on the field. Additionally, the play-calling has been creative and tailored to the weapons on the field.

The offensive line has begun to pick up some steam, putting together two consecutive solid performance. Moving forward, they will face off against two dominant defensive lines on the Eagles and Bears.

We have waited too long to see the offense function like a cohesive unit, mixing in the run and pass, giving Eli a chance to work in the play action, you name it…its all been improved. Part of the success on offense, and maybe the biggest part, is the improved offensive line play.

A big (literally) part of the improvement is the addition of offensive guard Jamon Brown. Acquired after being released by the Rams, Brown has played guard opposite rookie Will Hernandez. He has helped the middle of the line gel, offering a keen ability to pick up stunts and manage his man on the interior.

Left tackle Nate Sodler has also stepped up his play considerably. According to PFF, Solder finished the win over the 49ers two weeks ago with a 92 overall grade (highest on the team and in the NFL for week 10 left tackles). After signing a big 4-year, $62 million contract in the offseason, it was expected that Solder would be a major improvement over Ereck Flowers. That hasn’t been the case this season, so far, but it seems as if the gelling of the line has helped him significantly.

The avoidance of a locker room meltdown:

Kudos to Shurmur, who has seamlessly kept his players motivated and maintained control of the locker room. As we have see, it can get out of hand at times.

The next big improvement with the Giants has been Saquon Barkley and the running attack. Before the Bucs game, Shurmur said he wanted Saquon Barkley to be willing to take the “dirty runs”, the runs that go for 4, 5 or 6 yards. The biggest criticism of Barkley is his tendencies to go for the home-run, rather than the base-hit.

What did Barkley do after being told to mold his run-style? He with a rushing performance of 142 yards on 27 carries (both career highs), and three all-purpose touchdowns. Looking at the stats, Barkley only had one carry for negative yards. He ran hard and with purpose, and it’s crazy to think that he can get better than he has been.

What about the play calling has helped the New York Giants so much?

On the first drive this past Sunday, Manning was able to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball down-field, hitting Odell Beckham Jr, for 41 yards. While the plays seems frequent, it’s essential to mention the play-call. Coming out of the gates aggressive and controlling helped the Giants secure a tight grasp on the game early on. Shurmur has developed a system to incorporate his top weapons as much as possible, and while the first few weeks were lackluster, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Manning finished the game 17/18 (94% completion percentage), 231 yards and two touchdowns. Shurmur has found a decent offensive line and a working system, but the two wins were against mediocre teams. It will be interesting to see them face off against a more competitive defense.