Team President John Mara discussed the Giants' offseason signings:
The Giants never found the explosiveness they were looking for on offense last season. So they went out and addressed the issue this offseason.
A day before free agency opened, the team added veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall, a six-time Pro Bowler who recently had been released by the Jets. In 12 seasons, Marshall has caught 941 passes for 12,061 yards and 82 touchdowns. To put those stats in perspective, Amani Toomer is the Giants' franchise leader with 668 catches for 9,497 yards and 54 touchdowns.
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That is why team president John Mara, speaking at this week's NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, said plugging in a player of that caliber was a "spark to the entire organization."
"We were talking once the season ended about how it would really be nice to have a big receiver in here to complement our offense, and then all of a sudden he becomes available," Mara said to a small group of reporters on Sunday. "I think that's really going to help us. He's got a great attitude and he wants to win, and I think he'll be a good influence in the receiver room.''
From 2015 to 2016, the offense dropped from eighth to 25th in total yards and sixth to 26th in scoring. The defense did the reverse, and then some, which led to an 11-win season and the team's first trip to the postseason since winning it all in 2011. So the Giants know if they improve as much offensively as they did defensively last season, they can play deeper into January and hopefully February.
Marshall was a major step in that direction, but he wasn't the only one taken.
The team also signed blocking tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison, veteran offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, and backup quarterback Geno Smith. Additionally, they re-signed guard John Jerry.
"We tried to address that this offseason, I mean, bringing in Ellison, who's a really good blocking tight end, that's something we really haven't had here for a while, that will help us," Mara said. "I think we still need to add another running back at some point in time. Fluker will certainly help us as far as running the ball. There are a lot of guys who can play better than they did."
Mara also discussed third-year left tackle Ereck Flowers and said he is "not giving up" on the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
"I think he's a very prideful guy, I think he was probably stung by some of the criticism and I think that will serve to motivate him next year,'' Mara said. "He's a good kid, he really is. He wants to be a top player in this league, and I think when you have a guy that's going to work as hard as he does and is as big and strong as he is, I think you have a chance."
That echoed the sentiments of general manager Jerry Reese at his season-ending press conference in January.
"Ereck has played basically every snap since he has been here," Reese said at the time. "He is an early-out junior, still a young player, but it is time for him to show us the fruits of being a first round draft pick, and I still think he has a chance to do that. We will evaluate that. Is he the left tackle? Should he be in a different position? We will evaluate that. But I do think that he is a big, strong kid who has a chance to be a really good player, so I still believe he has a chance to be a good player."