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The Giants wanted to use this preseason to work out the kinks in their new offensive system and get it running smoothly for the regular-season opener three weeks from tomorrow in Detroit. But the unit has sputtered. The Giants are 3-0, but in 11 possessions in which all or most of their offensive starters played, they have punted eight times and lost a fumble. The offense had just one sustained drive, an 80-yarder on the second possession vs. Buffalo that ended with Andre Williams’ 3-yard touchdown run. The only other first-team touchdown was Rashad Jennings’ 73-yard run last week against Pittsburgh.
The first-team offense did not present the improvement Coughlin hoped for in the Giants’ improbable 27-26 victory over the Colts last night in Indianapolis. Four possessions resulted in four punts and was a major factor in the Giants facing a 20-0 deficit at halftime. (It eventually reached 26-0 before the backups scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.)
The starting offense gained a total of 53 yards on its four possessions.
Quarterback Eli Manning’s three-game totals include 16 passes, seven completions for 49 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
“Last night, we didn’t run it, we certainly didn’t throw the ball with any consistency,” Coughlin said. “We don’t have people who are definitely running open. Our protection does break down from time to time and we don’t react well under pressure when we do realize that there has to be a hot or sight adjustment involved in getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hand and trying to accomplish a positive play in the face of pressure.
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The Giants will next play on Friday night against the Jets. They will be the visiting team.
“All of the sudden, the preseason is flying by here,” Coughlin said, “and we do have an awful lot still to accomplish.
“We have had in the last few years unproductive preseasons or unproductive games in the preseason, and we still have been able to come out and play well early on even offensively. Now in the regular season, is that the case here? I don’t know that. We are going to see how that goes, but is there a concern? Sure, it is a concern.”
Did Coughlin expect the Giants to be further along executing the system that was installed this year by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo?
“Any time you set up a schedule with a preseason, you expect to be at certain points along the way,” Coughlin said. “So it is disappointing not to be at least a little more advanced than we are.”
Because of their participation in the Hall of Fame Game, the Giants will play five preseason games this month. The contest vs. the Jets will be the one in which the starters traditionally play their longest stint of the preseason – at least a full half and perhaps more. But if Coughlin doesn’t see progress, the first-teamers could have a longer-than-usual workday in the preseason finale vs. New England on August 28.
“It’s not written in stone about what you do with the last preseason game,” Coughlin said. “The idea is to come out of this with the best being in the best possible circumstance. Having your team prepared throughout the course of these games so that when you head into the regular season, you are ready to go. So we still have got some to work to do along those lines.”
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- Last week, Curtis Painter was promoted to No. 2 quarterback after completing all seven of his passes and leading the Giants on a game-winning drive vs. Pittsburgh. Ryan Nassib took the third-team reps in practice and last night.
Against the Colts, Nassib led the backups on touchdown drives of 92 and 86 yards and completed 11 of 15 passes for 158 yards and a score. But Coughlin would not say if Manning’s backups would again switch places this week.
“(Nassib) played well,” Coughlin said. “He did a good job and he competed like heck. Curtis Painter started the thing off and he jumped right on it, too. We will see about how it goes.”
- Coughlin said players like rookie Weston Richburg, James Brewer and Charles Brown (who hurt his shoulder last night) have been getting long looks on the offensive line.
“It’s a work in progress and we are trying like heck to speed that up,” Coughlin said. “But we do have to make sure we are looking at all of the possibilities.”