Jim Mancari, ContributorFor an offense that was supposed to turn heads this past year, it was certainly a disappointing 2013 season for the Giants’ offensive unit.
Big Blue ranked 28th in the league in total offense at 307.5 yards per game and 28th in points per game at 18.4.
Starting with the quarterback, Eli Manning led the NFL with 27 interceptions and threw just 18 touchdown passes – the lowest total in any of his full seasons as a starter.
The team finished 31st in the league with a -15 turnover ratio. Only the 2-14 Houston Texans were worse in this category.
Injuries really plagued this unit all season. The running game didn’t really get going until Andre Brown returned midway through the season. Brown was the team’s leading rusher though he only played half the year.
Even with his fumbling problems, the injury to David Wilson really halted the team’s ground attack. Da’Rel Scott, Peyton Hillis, Brandon Jacobs and Michael Cox just aren’t premier backs, which led to the team being ranked 29th in the league in total rushing.
Victor Cruz had another big season, with 998 yards in 14 games. The same can’t be said about Hakeem Nicks, who did not find the end zone in his contract year. His time in blue is looking like it could be over.
Jerrel Jernigan turned in three solid games in row to end the season, which is a good sign heading into next year. Rueben Randle was inconsistent to say the least and must work on his reads and route-running skills.
The Giants had very little threat at the tight end position, with Brandon Myers having a very difficult time learning the offense. He had a few decent games, but he was needed more so as a blocker since the team’s offensive line struggled so much.
Speaking of the O-line, the unit experienced constant shuffling. Losing David Baas and Chris Snee forced guys like Jim Cordle and James Brewer into action. David Diehl and Kevin Boothe had decent years, but Diehl has plenty of wear and tear and might be better served as a reserve player moving forward.
Justin Pugh turned in a solid rookie season, but Will Beatty is a total liability at the tackle position. There could be as many as three-to-four offensive line spots that this team needs to fill this offseason.
In a move that was no surprise, Giants’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride announced his retirement – which is just a nice way of saying that he was fired. Granted, it was a rough year for Gilbride with all the injuries to the running backs and o-line, but there were some instances where the play-calling was just atrocious. John Mara said that there would be a change coming, and this is it.
The skinny: The Giants’ offensive struggles this year were the reason for this team’s 7-9 record and missing the playoffs. Sure, the defense had a few rough games as well, but all the turnovers forced the defense to be overexposed. A new offensive coordinator could maybe infuse some new schemes into this offense. It’s tough to think that Manning is completely done, so with a more consistent running game and some help along the line, the Giants’ offense still has the potential to be a productive unit next season.