Coach's decision: How to get O going

November, 11, 2012
11/11/12
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The Giants' offense has struggled the last few weeks as the running game has failed to get going and quarterback Eli Manning has hit a midseason slump. Last Sunday against the Steelers, the Giants' offense could barely move the ball and was the culprit for the team’s third loss this year.

As the Giants face the Bengals on Sunday, the big question will be: How do the Giants get their offense going? The Giants need a win to avoid heading into the bye with two straight losses, and getting the offense out of this slump would lessen some of the worries about the team.

One way could be to use the two-minute offense early. The Giants are an entirely different offense when they operate their hurry-up drill out of the shotgun, and that could be exactly what the team needs. A few quick passes to get Manning into a groove with his receivers could get the offense into a rhythm and put Cincinnati on its heels.

Another key could be involving Hakeem Nicks in the offense. Nicks is a premier receiver in the league but hasn’t left much of a mark this season outside of his big game against Tampa Bay. He had just one catch last week against Pittsburgh, and it will be tough for the Giants to win when Nicks has one catch.

Some short slants or intermediate routes for Nicks to get him some catches could help, compared to just throwing him bombs down the field like they did last week. Nicks appears to still be limited by his knee and foot injuries, but he can still find other ways to get involved. The Giants should make an effort to get Nicks involved, which could also help Victor Cruz.

The Giants also seem to have stopped throwing to Martellus Bennett, and he could help open up holes in the defense. In the first three games, Bennett had a combined 185 yards. In the six games since, he has 189 yards. While Bennett is better as a blocker, he is a threat up the seam and can win matchups against linebackers. By involving him, it should only benefit the outside receivers.

Even though they’ve struggled, the Giants offense still is one of the top units in the league. They have the players and scheme to get it done, and will try to do it against a forgiving Cincinnati defense.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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