The Giants may have emerged victorious from their second preseason game against Jacksonville on Saturday night, but the first team offense didn’t play much better than it did in the preseason opener in Cincinnati. Quarterback Eli Manning completed just four of his 14 passes, and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was held without a catch on five targets. As a team, New York didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, well after the starters had left the game.
It’s far too early to panic about the struggling Giants offense, but it would be also be nice to see more out of a unit that fans and analysts alike are expecting so much from this season. Perhaps Manning will hook up with his favorite target at least once before the preseason is done.
“First one I think I just underthrew maybe a little bit,” said Manning on his missed connection with Beckham. “A guy got a hand in there. The next one just I thought it was close to hitting that one on the deep one. We had the one that they ruled incomplete, just got to get that one a little higher up there. We’ve just got to keep practicing and keep getting those reps in practice and keep making those plays.”
It would also help Manning’s cause if that other wide receiver Victor Cruz was healthy enough to see the field. Cruz is still recovering from knee surgery and hasn’t played in either of New York’s preseason games. The third wide receiver on the depth chart, Rueben Randle, was out of the lineup with knee tendinitis.
“Obviously, you’d like to have Victor and Rueben out there as soon as possible and get them back in the mix of things but I thought receivers did a good job,” said Manning in spite of his low completion percentage against the Jaguars. “I guess you’ve got to look at the bright side. You’re working some other guys and getting some work with some guys you never know might have to play for us this year. They’re getting reps in practice, quality reps.”
It’s nice that Manning wants to give reserve players like Preston Parker and Corey Washington a chance, but the success of New York’s offense is going to rely a lot on Beckham, Cruz, and Randle making big plays. Last year, the Giants took too long to find a groove and struggled for the majority of the campaign. Were those struggles caused by the offense’s failures in the preseason?
We have no way of knowing for sure, but fans would feel much better if the first team offense puts some more points on the board this weekend against the Jets.