Post-Bye Expectations for Giants’ Offense
Jim Mancari , Contributor
Coming off the bye, the Giants are hopefully well-rested and ready to regain their status as an elite team in the NFC.
Of course, their success will be reliant on their offense getting back on track. It’s been a struggle for the team to muster a consistent offensive attack and turnovers have been a problem as well. The bye week came just at the right time for this team to regroup.
“You don’t get almost a week off very often with this job and during the season, but it was nice to get away but I think everybody was kind of itching to get back and getting back to work,” Eli Manning said. “We’re excited about where we stand right now, excited about this final stretch of the season and it should be fun.”
Manning hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in three games, but he’ll now have a close to 100 percent Hakeem Nicks lining up at receiver. Nicks has played injured the last five games, so he used the bye week to rest. He’s looking forward to a fresh start, saying that all the swelling in his knee is gone and he’s feeling better than he has all year.
“My bursting wasn’t there the way I felt like it should have been due to some injuries, but I’m feeling pretty good now and that time off helped me get my body right and most of all my mind right for this stretch,” Nicks said. “I’m just ready to get it going.”
Nicks and the team critiqued themselves during the break to see where they could improve. After seeming to regain his explosiveness, Nicks said he’d like to get back to gaining yards after the catch.
“I think maybe earlier in the season, it would kind of hinder me a little bit because I couldn’t really catch and burst right away due to the knee and the foot or just not trusting it to make a solid plant on it at full speed,” Nicks said. “I think this time off and with this schedule we have I’m ready to get after it.”
Manning said he’s feeling good and threw the ball well Monday in practice after having a week off. In the self-critiquing process, he noted that the team must limit the turnovers and convert on third downs and in the “green zone.”
“You’ve just got to play smart as an offense,” he said. “We know you can’t turn the ball over, can’t give them a short field. You’ve got to try to stay on the field, convert third downs and see if you can hold the ball.”
Victor Cruz said that Manning looked sharp and that all the receivers seemed on the same page. Cruz is eager to finish the season on a high note.
“I’m definitely ready,” he said. “Six games left, it’s a six-game season. We’ve got a one-game lead and we just want to build up that and go off of that. We control our own destiny just like you always do, every year potentially at this time. We just have to continue to win.”
Even with a tough remaining schedule, the Giants are only focusing on the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers. Manning said he thinks the offense is close to regaining its early season form, and a strong week of preparation will help the unit get ready. The expectations will be high now that everyone is back healthy.
With 10 games down and the Dallas Cowboys staying alive, the Giants have their fate in their own hands.
“It’s about how you finish,” Nicks said. “We put emphasis on that. Finish the deal and we’ve just got to finish.”
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