The Giants and GM Jerry Reese took the first step toward improving an inept and nondescript offense. Newly signed WR Brandon Marshall is a playmaker the Giants desperately needed. Marshall inked a two-year deal reportedly worth $12 million dollars. Despite being 33, he is a talented guy who can make plays. As of now, Eli Manning has two playmaking wide receivers. This is so important because the Giants struggled to score points in 2016, averaging only 16 points per game. The situation got worse in their last six games when the average dropped to 13 points per contest.
Another element Marshall adds is his height at 6′ 4″. Recall, in 2005, the fantastic signing of Plaxico Burress because then-GM Ernie Accorsi wanted to add a tall 6′ 5″ talented receiver to help his young quarterback. As has been pointed out with Eli Manning, he has a tendency to throw the ball too high. If there is a tall target who can catch the ball well, this offsets Eli’s shortcomings. As with Burress, Marshall is going to be a guy whom he can trust when the Giants need a key third-down conversion or they need to make something happen.
Our Motown wrote an interesting article titled The OBJ Effect. From his post:
In our opinion, there are some very similar trends going on with the Giants’ offense. McAdoo understands that the OL is not the strength of the team. He gets a lot of credit for coaching and implementing an offense that forces Eli to get rid of the ball quicker. This of course limits his ability to maximize the skill set of reading the progressions of the receivers versus the defense. However, his first and sometimes only progression is OBJ. This is what we believe Cruz is really alluding to. The offense is predictable and revolves around force-feeding the ball to OBJ.
The difference between a limited Victor Cruz and Brandon Marshall is stark. At this point, because of Marshall’s route running, athleticism and his height, he is going to be targeted more than Cruz was, which is going to make the offense more diverse. In other words, opposing defenses cannot key on OBJ. They will have to cope with another threat in Marshall.
Speaking of playmakers, the Giants tagged their DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Why did they do this?
1. Last season with JPP playing, the Giants were 8-3. After getting injured early in the Steelers game and missing the last 6 games, the Giants finished 3-3. The Giants defense is much better with JPP in the lineup.
2. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows JPP makes his defense better:
Guys with a low center of gravity get played high. As soon as the ball starts going, they start running, and in order to run fast you have to have high hips and go. But the game isn’t played like that.When you watch him, he looks like a rubbery gumby man out there. He can move all over the place, his change of direction, he’s long armed. I’m glad he’s here, this time last year we didn’t have him.
3. Owner John Mara on JPP:
I heard him say that, yes, and we’re trying to get a (long-term) deal done. We want to get him signed long-term, but we had to do that to protect ourselves. Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach an agreement, but I can’t say it’s imminent. Having him on one side and [Olivier] Vernon on the other gives us a nice pair of bookend pass rushers, so yeah, we’d like to have him back. Plus, he’s a positive influence. He’s a good young man, very popular [in the locker room]. He’s the type of guy you want on your team.
JPP is an oft-injured player; however, he is a guy who is a playmaker. Although not as dominant as he once was, he can only help the Giants get better as they embark on the 2017 season. It would make sense for the Giants to sign him long term, so they can free up cap space as free agency officially opens tomorrow.