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What we learned from Giants offensive coaches

1. WR Odell Beckham Jr. is no longer a rookie.


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The first-round draft choice's role grew even greater when fellow wide receiver and offensive co-captain Victor Cruz was lost for the season due to a torn patellar tendon in Week 6 against Philadelphia. With three touchdowns in three games, the rookie has shown flashes that he's up for the challenge.

"I expect him to be a starting receiver with production that we need," wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said. "I don't put any limits on him whatsoever. He's a smart guy, he's a smart football player, he's a talented football player and he's a guy that we need production from. You can't put a ceiling on him."

2. Footwork is key to QB Eli Manning's efficiency.

Through the first seven games working with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf, Manning is completing 64.9 percent of his passes, which would be a career high if the pace lasted the entire season. Meanwhile, the franchise quarterback has thrown 14 touchdowns to five interceptions, including only one in the last five games. Langsdorf was asked what has been the key to those numbers.

"Probably in his footwork," he said. "I think he is playing at a high level, and I think improved footwork has really helped out. He has obviously worked hard at that part of it, and that is a little bit different than what he was used to with the other system. We teach it a little bit differently. I think that is probably the biggest area in how fast he has been playing is his footwork."

3. G Geoff Schwartz will start to practice after the bye week.

The offseason acquisition has spent the first leg of the season on injured reserve/designated to return due to a dislocated toe that he suffered in the preseason. But while he is eligible to return for the Indianapolis game after the bye week, he still has to be conditioned back up to handle 75 snaps a game.

"I really don't have a sense of when it is going to be," offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said. "I know he is going to start practicing when we get back from the bye week. It will probably be evaluated day in and day out, mostly by the trainers. Whatever [senior vice president of medical services] Ronnie Barnes and his staff dictate that he is able to do, we will work him as hard as we can."

4. Big plays will come.

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While the offense has operated efficiently, it has generated just 18 passes of 20 yards or longer, tied for 22nd in the NFL. There is still a need for big plays in the new system, but there is a time and place. And inconsistency in the run game hasn't helped.

"I think there's always a need for big plays, explosive plays," Langsdorf said. "I think that as we continue to evolve and get better and continue to protect the quarterback and run the ball, all of those things will come. I think those things will play hand-in-hand.

"I think part of it, too, is making sure that we're not just going back there and just chucking the ball down the field. It's kind of a misconception that you're going to be able to have a bunch of big plays by just closing your eyes and bombing it down the field. I think as we continue to perform better, as we continue to have those runs, I think some of that stuff will come."

5. Philadelphia was a wakeup call for the offensive line.

Heading into that Week 6 matchup on the road, the Giants were on a three-game winning streak, and a lot of it had to do with their offensive line. But the Giants went out and allowed eight sacks in the shutout loss to their NFC East rivals. Second-year right tackle Justin Pugh admitted in the wake of the game that it was probably the worst performance of his football career.

"He has responded better in practice and I was looking for that response before the Philadelphia game," Flaherty said of Pugh. "We weren't getting it out of him or a few of those guys. Sometimes, unfortunately, you need a wakeup call. I don't expect another game like that out of Justin, nor do I anyone else."

6. RB Andre Williams' development is all about tempo.

For the last two weeks, the rookie has shouldered the workload of starting running back Rashad Jennings, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury. And until the medical staff clears Jennings, Williams, who is averaging 3.2 yards per carry over the last two games, will need to keep growing as an NFL back. "I think that as a young player, he's trying to find his niche and find his tempo," running backs coach Craig Johnson said.

"Obviously we've played against some defenses that have played very well. He's just got to see it and feel it and get a feel of the game. That's the bottom line for him. He's had a couple runs that have kind of gotten out and made some plays, but he just needs to continue to get his reps and see if he can get himself into a rhythm. As a young player, he's trying to find his way."

7. Tight ends will be more active at the line of scrimmage.

While tight ends Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells have accounted for eight of Manning's 14 touchdowns this season, the unit can be more of a factor in pass protection and a run game that ranks 15th in the NFL.

"I think one of the other areas that you might see is [tight ends] actually chipping the defensive end before we get out onto our route," tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride said when asked about Donnell's ability to get off the line of scrimmage. "That's another thing that we need to do as an offense. You see it throughout the league, all of the tight ends are chipping on their way out on third and seven to 10, four to six at times, because you need that extra protection on those pass downs."

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