Defenders of Eli Manning will point to the painful play of the offensive line to explain the QB's struggles Sunday night in Dallas.
"Combination of stuff,'' Manning said Monday, via the New York Post. "There was nothing that we didn't have an answer for. Enough things might mess up a little bit, it's a combination of everybody, it's not just the offensive line. When sacks are happening obviously the offensive line gets blamed most of the time but that's not necessarily the case. You got running backs, you got quarterbacks, you got receivers, everybody plays a part in that.''
The immediate response to Manning is to point out the signal-caller's own struggles. The 37-year-old can't maneuver around pressure allowed by the problematic offensive line. Despite completing 69.1 percent of this passes through two games, Manning has been an inefficient mess, tossing the overwhelming majority of his passes short. In Sunday's loss to the Cowboys, Manning was more likely to throw the ball behind the line of scrimmage then stretch the field.
This offseason, the Giants opted to draft a running back No. 2 overall. The receiving unit got back a healthy Odell Beckham Jr., to go along with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, a formidable trio. Big Blue also shelled out a massive deal to left tackle Nate Solder and a used a second-round pick on a starting guard.
Despite the changes, the Giants' offense remains among the worst in the NFL. Big Blue ranks 28th in yards per game (289.5 -- a number buoyed by garbage-time stats), 29th in yards per play (4.5), 24th in passing yards per game (215), 28th in rushing yards per game (74.5), and T-29th in points per game (14.0).
The struggles of the offensive line to pick up the simplest of pass-rush movements has helped lead to eight sacks and 14 QB hit on Manning through two games.
"I think our guys were prepared,'' coach Pat Shurmur said. "We were well aware of the fact they have been a defensive front that moves quite a bit. They have done it for years, that's their style. We were aware of it and some of the pressures we practiced. I think we had a hat for them in most occasions, one time we had it picked up and we just didn't slide through it.... We've just got to do a better job, I don't think we faced anything we hadn't seen. We've just got to be cleaner with our blocks. They got on our edges a little bit too much.''