New York Giants: New Offensive Scheme Will Lead To A Dominant Season By Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have one of the NFL’s most talented players on their roster. The second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Saquon Barkley, is one of the NFL’s up and coming stars and, in only two seasons, he is one of the top running backs in the league.

Barkley, nicknamed “Saquads” for his massive leg muscles, is a superhuman athlete. Saquon’s offseason workouts recently made waves on the internet:

Since the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, they have found little success in the win-loss column. Barkley has been a human highlight reel but his incredible performances have rarely led to team victories.

An Injury-Riddled 2019

Saquon Barkley was nearly unstoppable as a rookie in 2018. In his first season, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 total yards from scrimmage. He also racked up 15 total touchdowns. Saquon’s main job is to run the football, yet he still managed to break a Giants franchise record with 91 receptions in his rookie season.

Giants fans did not see that same version of Saquon Barkley in 2019. In the team’s Week 3 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saquon suffered a high ankle sprain that would keep him sidelined for three games. Upon his return to the starting lineup, Saquon struggled to replicate his prior success.

Even though he missed three games in 2019, Saquon Barkley still managed to top 1,000 rushing yards on the season. But it was not hard to notice that Saquon was not at full health during the 2019 season. Saquon admitted this offseason that the injury nagged him and kept him from performing at his highest level.

“In the first game I came back I ran a rush to the right side of the field and I kinda got rolled up on it again,” Barkley said. “Luckily it was wet, it was a rainy game, so I didn’t get stuck on anything but it was just nagging. It happens.

“It was tough to deal with. Once we got to the offseason and I got some time to myself to work on it and be happy with it, it made me feel a lot better.” – Saquon Barkley on his 2019 injury

A New And Improved Scheme In 2020

Saquon Barkley was not only held back by his ankle injury in 2019. He was also held back by the Giants’ offensive scheme. Former head coach Pat Shurmur served as the team’s play-caller on offense. Considering Shurmur was fired after this past season, it is safe to say he was not doing the best possible job as the team’s play-caller.

Pat Shurmur’s rushing offense was bland. When a coach has a back like Saquon Barkley on his roster, it is the coach’s job to call plays that maximize the back’s talents. One way that some of the best NFL teams get the most out of their running backs is through the use of pre-snap motion. Teams with top rushing offenses, like the Ravens, Chargers, Rams, and 49ers, use pre-snap motion a high percentage of the time. All these teams rank in the top-ten team rates of motion at the snap for the 2019 season.

The New York Giants’ offense ranked on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Giants emplored pre-snap motion on 5% of their offensive snaps, ranking 27th in the NFL. While pre-snap motion does correlate to rushing success, the Dallas Cowboys’ offense did not feature pre-snap motion enough to rank them in the top-ten. However, they were not in the bottom ten either. Jason Garrett’s offense does feature more pre-snap motion than Pat Shurmur’s did, but he still does not use pre-snap motion at an extremely high rate.

One area wherein Jason Garrett will help the Giants’ rushing offense is the diversity of the rushing direction. The Giants ran the ball up the middle 63% of the time in 2019, one of the highest rates in the NFL. The Cowboys ran the ball up the middle 50% of the time, one of the lowest rates in the NFL. The Cowboys ran the ball off the left tackle at one of the highest rates. Compared to league averages, Dallas ran the ball off the right end, right tackle, and left tackle at a higher rate than average. They ran the ball up the middle and to the left end at a below-average rate.

The Giants ran the ball off the left tackle at one of the lowest rates in the NFL last season, another opposite to the Cowboys’ rushing scheme. The Giants ran the ball to the left end only 5% of the time. They ran the ball to the left tackle, left end, and right end at a below-average rate. They were well above average in their rushing percentage up the middle and also well above average in their run percentage off the right tackle.

Saquon Barkley is one of the hardest players to tackle in the NFL. Very rarely does a defender tackle Saquon Barkley in a one-on-one, open field situation. Barkley is a professional ankle-breaker. For this reason, the Giants would be wise to run the ball outside and get Saquon out in space. Shurmur preferred to shove Barkley down the middle of the defenses’ throats. In 2020, the Giants will run the ball outside more often. This will lead to a breakout season from Saquon Barkley.

Former New York Giants Coaches Praised By Nate Solder

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

The New York Giants didn’t have good coaching last year but they did have popular coaches, it seems.

The 2019 season was a story of the team dropping out of contention for the playoffs early in the year and putting up abysmal performances through the important middle weeks of the season, and much of the blame for that went on the coaching staff including head coach Pat Shurmur – however, despite how things went down, there’s still players on the Giants team that will support Shurmur right down to this current day.

Nate Solder is one of those players, and he had some good words for 9News.com about Shurmur, following Shurmur’s addition to the Broncos staff as the offensive coordinator.

“That’s excellent. You’ve got a great staff. Growing up, I was a Broncos fan and I just wish the best for all those guys,” said Solder, who is from Denver himself and played for the University of Colorado in college.

“I think he did a great job keeping things dynamic. I think he did a great job of highlighting our best players. We had a lot of success. That wasn’t noticed in our wins and losses but I felt like we did some good things,” Solder continued, speaking about former head coach Pat Shurmur and what he brings to the Broncos as a coordinator.

It’s no secret of course that the Giants didn’t have a ton of success with Shurmur, but he appears to have been a more popular figure in the locker room than his predecessor Ben McAdoo – Shurmur did, after all, have more defenders during the season, and McAdoo didn’t get the same treatment with players even praising him in the offseason following his firing.

Shurmur might not have had success but there is one way that Joe Judge could imitate him as he eases into the head coaching role this year, and that’s forming good bonds with the players and becoming a popular figure in the locker room.

The New York Giants have a secret weapon at quarterbacks coach

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

When the New York Giants hired quarterback coach Jerry Schuplinski, formerly of the New England Patriots, everyone collectively said, “who?”

People always tend to place their trust in familiar faces that are well known. However, that can lead us down a path of simplicity and often-time, failure. Schuplinski, who worked alongside Joe Judge in New England for years, will bring his talent to the Giants, where he will help groom Daniel Jones into a top-tier quarterback.

Having worked alongside players like Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett, and Jimmy Garoppolo, the secretive QB coach has quite the resume to prove his worth with Jones. The influence he has had on his understudies has translated into staring-level talent, let alone the elite category Brady sits atop.

Garappolo expressed his praise for Schuplinski, and now, the 49ers quarterback will participate in the Super Bowl:

“Thinking back on everything, I owe him so much. Jerry was there for everything from the minute I got to the Patriots. He was kind of my quarterback coach in a way… I mean, he started with me from day one with the Patriots,” Garoppolo stated. “He’s a great guy at simplifying things, taking a complicated offense and simplifying it for a quarterback. I think that’s crucial and he did a great job of that when I was in New England. I know he did that with Jacoby [Brissett] too.”

The New York Giants made a great hire with Jerry Schuplinski:

Jones will see the offense open up for him in 2020, especially after Jerry helps simplify the system and break down his fundamentals. That’s where Judge’s mentality comes into play, as he stated during his opening press conference that the team would perfect the micro details to develop a sound operation ultimately.

In 2019, the Giants were a wreck under Pat Shurmur, who couldn’t manage the clock well and often saw his players crashing into each other on mesh routes. Poor execution will always lead to failure, and that’s something Judge and Schuplinski won’t tolerate.

Michael Strahan tears New York Giants apart in analysis of what they need to win

New York Giants, Michael Strahan

Anyone with a basic knowledge of football can tell you the New York Giants were in a state of peril during the 2019 season. The defense was putrid, the offense was stale, and the in-game coaching was some of the worst we’ve ever seen.

Former head coach Pat Shurmur is a talented offensive mind, but he was in over his head with the job that subsequently landed in Joe Judge’s lap, an option with no HC experience. However, the team already seems to be on a better path, with two former head coaches joining the coaching staff as offensive coordinator (Jason Garrett) and tight ends coach (Freddie Kitchens).

The New York Giants feel they are in good hands:

The way forward starts with Judge evaluating the current players on the roster and grading them appropriately. That will give management an idea of what positions need significant draft/cap allocations this offseason.

One former Giants great that was willing to express his opinion on the state of the team is Michael Strahan, stating:

“Can’t have a bunch of nice guys and win. It doesn’t work. We need to find some dogs,” Strahan told The New York Times’ David Marchese in a Q&A.

“Defense is where I struggle, because there are times I’m watching, and I’m going, ‘Wow, this is pretty bad. We don’t have a playmaker, per se, on defense,’ and that’s been a little disheartening,” he said. “Where’s the guy who inspires everybody to play better?”

General manager Dave Gettleman brought in several veteran players in 2019 to help improve the leadership factor. Antoine Bethea, Alec Ogletree (was already on the team), and Markus Golden were all considered the leaders in the locker room and on the field. Nonetheless, the unit ranked 19th in the NFL in points allowed.

“Front-office wise, I don’t know what their plan is,” he said. “I mean, we got rid of Jackrabbit [Janoris Jenkins], trade [Damon] Snacks [Harrison], got rid of Odell Beckham Jr. We got rid of a lot of guys who were opinionated, but you’ve got to have a soul to your team.”

There are players and positions that Strahan complimented:

“All right, the things I like: Daniel Jones,” Strahan began. “Excited about Saquon Barkley. If we can get Evan Engram to stay healthy, he is a dynamic tight end. We need some work on the offensive line, and we need a big-play receiver, but offensively I feel good about the team.”

Michael is right, the offense is in a good place, starting with Daniel Jones. Barkley is a playmaker who can break games open, but health continued to be an issue for Evan Engram. If Gettleman can piece together the offensive line this offseason, they will be in a far better spot in 2020.

The demise of the team lands on the defense, who need bolstering at the highest level. Expect the Giants to allocate plenty of capital towards a pass rusher, linebacker, cornerback, and free safety.

New York Giants: Offensive Coordinator selection boils down to two specifics

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants haven’t hesitated in piecing together their new coaching staff, as head coach Joe Judge has already hired familiar faces from his past to lead the charge. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham worked with Judge in New England, and defensive line coach Freddie Roach spent time with Judge in Alabama for a brief spell.

The next vacant position on the docket is offensive coordinator, and with LSU’s Joe Brady off the board, the Giants need to settle on an alternative option. Jay Gruden, Jason Garrett, and others remain solid options for Judge, but his selection needs to be tailored to two specifics.

What the New York Giants need in their next offensive coordinator:

One thing former HC Pat Shurmur did well was develop rookie passer, Daniel Jones, who had multiple games of four-touchdowns or more. Ensuring his progression remains positive is a priority for Judge, and the Giants’ next OC must understand that Jones’ development is essential to the success of the team.

Judge did bring in Patriots’ quarterbacks coach, Jerry Schuplinski, who helped groom Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy G during his tenure in New England. Now, he will have the task of helping Jones perfect his fundamentals and extract the most value out of the first-round pick from 2019.

In addition to Jones, Saquon Barkley must be utilized in an expanded role, as his usage was limited by Shurmur’s play-calling scheme in 2019. A lack of targets in the passing game and first-down running plays severely hurt his efficiency. The Giants need an OC that will develop creative plays for Barkley to get into open space and maximize his tree-trunk like frame.

 

New York Giants: Mike Shula Interviews To Keep Offensive Coordinator Position

The New York Giants are currently in the process of rebuilding their coaching staff. They fired head coach Pat Shurmur at season’s end and replaced him with Joe Judge. Joe Judge explained during his introductory what he is looking for in his coaching staff: teachers.

So far, the Giants have made multiple key hirings, including Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator. Judge also made sure to secure Jerry Schuplinski as quarterbacks coach, the man responsible for developing Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett into starters.

It was interesting to see the Giants hire their quarterbacks coach without having an offensive coordinator already in place. The offensive coordinator is a critical coaching position on any team. They typically call the plays on offense and oversee the development of numerous key players on the offensive side of the ball.

As of today, the Giants have begun their search for the team’s next offensive coordinator. Maybe the Giants will not even make a change at this position. Joe Judge interviewed current offensive coordinator Mike Shula today, giving Shula the possibility of retaining his job (Jordan Raanan of ESPN).

Mike Shula as Offensive Coordinator

Mike Shula has been with the New York Giants for two years now. He was hired in 2018 to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under head coach Pat Shurmur. With Shurmur gone, some believed the Giants would go in a different direction, and they still might, but Judge is covering all the bases and giving Shula a chance to keep his job.

Shula would not be the only member of Shurmur’s staff to be retained. Joe Judge is also keeping special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. Mike Shula is not exactly a fan favorite like Tolbert and McGaughey, but fans should keep an open mind.

Mike Shula is a veteran offensive coordinator with head coaching experience at Alabama. He served as an offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and helped Cam Newton reach MVP status in 2015 before coming to New York.

Another vital factor to note in potentially retaining Mike Shula is Daniel Jones’s development. Shula was the quarterbacks coach in 2019 and helped Daniel Jones develop quickly into a starting quarterback. Hiring Mike Shula in 2020 allows the Giants to keep some continuity for Daniel Jones on the coaching staff.

Pat Shurmur called plays for the Giants in 2018 and 2019. Mike Shula did not get an opportunity to demonstrate his play-calling ability to Giants fans. Shula’s role was as a play-designer and collaborative game-planner. Shula coached some inconsistent offenses in Carolina and struggled at times with “rhythm and timing,” which could negatively affect his efficiency as a play-caller (nj.com). But for the sake of keeping continuity for Daniel Jones, it is worth it to at least interview Mike Shula and consider him as a candidate for the offensive coordinator position.

Former Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur Headed to Denver as OC

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

It didn’t take former New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur very long to land on his feet. Just two weeks after being dismissed by the Giants, Shurmur appears to be headed to Denver to become the Broncos’ new offensive coordinator.

Shurmur will join Vic Fangio’s staff in Denver where Drew Lock is the quarterback. Before last year’s draft, Shurmur did not attend Lock’s pro day at Missouri last spring, sending offensive coordinator Mike Shula instead while he attended West Virginia QB Will Grier’s pro day.

Lock met with Shurmur the next week in New Jersey at the Giants’ facility but the Giants would pass on Lock – and every other quarterback on the board in favor of Daniel Jones, who they drafted with the sixth overall pick.

Shurmur is responsible for developing several quarterbacks in his long career as an assistant – Nick Foles, Case Keenum and Jones to name a few.

New York Giants are quickly running out of time in head coaching search

New York Giants considering Matt Rhule for head coach.

Two years ago, the New York Giants took their sweet time finding a head coach to lead them into the future. In fact, they took so long, they were forced to settle on Pat Shurmur, letting all of the premium candidates slip away. Fast forward to the present day, and the Giants are reenacting their mistake from two years ago — failing to make a decision quickly and grab their guy.

Reality is striking quickly, as Ron Rivera has signed on with the Washington Redskins and Mike McCarthy with the Dallas Cowboys, two of the most proven coaches available this offseason. Now, the Giants have to make a decision, unless they already have.

The fact that the Giants didn’t pounce on McCarthy should tell us everything we need to know — they have their sights set elsewhere. With Matt Rhule preparing to interview on Tuesday, it’s becoming clear that the Giants have a preference, but they’re losing immense leverage with every passing day.

The New York Giants need to be prepared to give power to their next head coach:

It’s expected that Rhule will want more control of the team, which would force GM Dave Gettleman to take a step back and let the head coach implement his style. While we can speculate whether Rhule will want more control, the Giants still have to go through the formal interview process and find their man.

There are still quality candidates remaining, despite Rivera and McCarthy finalizing deals elsewhere. Kansas City Chiefs’ Eric Bieniemy remains a quality option (check out this article on him), Don “Wink” Martindale is also a potential fit, considering his defensive mentality.

I like the defensive-minded head coaches, opposite of what Shurmur brought to the Giants. It allows the offensive coordinator to have a more impactful role and focus on a single system, rather than trying to lead every unit with benevolence. The head coaching options this time around are far more systematic and grounded than Shurmur, who is known as the “quarterback whisperer.”

The development of Daniel Jones is something that Shurmur can be credited for. However, his coaching ability in-game was abysmal. Giants ownership will be looking to bring in a coach who can establish a sense of discipline and toughness.

New York Giants: Pat Shurmur Already In Running For New OC Job

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

Few thought that New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur would be immediately in the running for a new job after his two years with the New York Giants, which will definitely be remembered more for their losses than any high point, but that’s exactly the case as the Washington Redskins are taking a look at Shurmur. But it’s not for the head coaching spot. No, they’re considering Shurmur as an offensive coordinator option.

That’s the position that Shurmur came from, of course. He was the offensive coordinator for the Vikings before coming to the Giants and it was one of the main reasons behind the hire. There was no shortage of talk about how Shurmur had worked with Case Keenum, a player not traditionally recognized as a high level quarterback, to find success with a team that wasn’t expected to reach it.

Shurmur did have an alright time working with rookie Daniel Jones despite the young quarterback having some problems such as fumbling and overall turnovers, but his time with the Giants largely didn’t carry over the success he had with the Vikings. Now, Shurmur is back on the market and he could end up back in an offensive coordinator role.

Apparently, one of the teams that’s interested could be one of the rivals of the Giants, who also have their own young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins Jr. and could be firing offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell after a terrible season where the Redskins finished even worse than the Giants.

It’s a bit of a strange decision for the Redskins to discuss Shurmur, since the Giants tended to not be good enough consistently under Shurmur to get many wins, although it could just be an example of the Redskins looking at all their options. There’s not necessarily a number of great candidates on the open market right now for the offensive coordinator spot, after all – at least compared to the number of head coaching candidates available now.

New York Giants have an underrated head coaching option in Eric Bieniemy

New York Giants, Eric Bieniemy

With the New York Giants prowling the free agent pool of head coaches, several options have risen to the top, including former Green Bay HC Mike McCarthy, and program head for Baylor, Matt Rhule.

Both have their respective pros and cons, with McCarthy being the most experienced among the available options, with the exception of Jason Garrett, who’s expected to be on the market as well.

The New York Giants have an underrated option:

Current Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, is a target that might offer fresh blood and fantastic knowledge for Big Blue. Bieniemy doesn’t have any head coaching experience in the NFL, but he has been learning behind Andy Ried, one of the league’s premier coaches.

Here’s a look at Bienmiey’s coaching history:

During his early collegiate years, the Chiefs’ OC served as the running backs coach for the Colorado Buffaloes from 2001 to 2002, and then at UCLA from 2003 to 2005. He then made the jump to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL, serving as their running backs coach, helping maximize Adrian Peterson in his prime. Peterson led the NFC in rushing yards with 1,341 in 2007 and 2008 with 1,760 yards. In 2010, Bieniemy was named the Vikings’ assistant coach for the offense.

After a lengthy stint in the NFL, he returned to Colorado as the team’s offensive coordinator under head coach Jon Embree. In 2013, he made his way to Kansas City as the running back coach and was promoted in 2018 to offensive coordinator. In his first season as OC, the Chiefs were first in the NFL in yards per game and points scores, thanks to Patrick Mahomes and a deadly group of running backs.

Bieniemy’s success with the Chiefs have made him an excellent candidate to take the next step and become a head coach in the NFL, but his lack of experience concerns, as it should be. The Giants hired Pat Shurmur after a short stint as head coach with the Cleveland Browns, and that backfired immensely.

If New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are looking for fresh blood and a coaching style that would maximize Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, Bieniemy shouldn’t be overlooked.