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Monday, September 12, 2011
Giants need to find identity on offense

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have plenty to work on this week after a dismal loss to the Washington Redskins.

But one major issue is discovering what the Giants' identity will be on offense this season.

"We got to figure out what our identity is going to be," quarterback Eli Manning said. "It can change each year. You got to see what we are doing well, what's working, what's not working as well and figure out exactly what is going to be our style and how we are going to be successful this year."

Ideally, the Giants want to establish the run and work their passing game off that and play-action. But in the 28-14 loss to the Redskins, Ahmad Bradshaw received just 13 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown while Brandon Jacobs saw only six carries for 29 yards.

The Giants were tied 14-14 at halftime but rushed the ball just seven times for a total of 12 yards in the second half.

"I think if we run the ball more, we will have more of a balance," head coach Tom Coughlin said.

The Giants have plenty of work to do this week heading up to their Monday night game against the Rams.

The offense converted just 1 of 10 third downs and failed to convert on a fourth-and-1 and a third-and-1 in the second half.

"Four of those [third downs] were third-and-15-plus," said Manning, who did score on a 2-yard touchdown run. "Right there, that is not a third-down problem, that is a first- and second-down problem."

Manning says what would help the Giants' offense is to figure out which personnel packages work the best. The Giants have been searching for key players to step up after losing tight end Kevin Boss and wide receiver Steve Smith in free agency.

The Giants have been using Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon as the third wide receiver in the slot. Cruz dropped a pass on a third-and-8 on the Giants' first offensive series and saw only one other target the rest of the game.

Manning continues to work on his timing and chemistry with those two. At tight end, he connected on a 41-yard strike to Jake Ballard but he did not have Travis Beckum, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

On top of finding new targets to trust to go along with Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, Manning has been working with a revamped offensive line that has a new center (David Baas) and a new left tackle (Will Beatty). Manning was sacked four times by Washington.

"I don't feel any more pressure," said Manning, who had a pass tipped by defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who intercepted it and returned it for a 9-yard touchdown. "I go out there and try to do my job and get the receivers, the offensive line, as prepared as possible and the calls I will be making and possible checks and what to expect from the defense."

The Giants will have an extra day of practice to work on their offensive identity before the Rams and former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo visit them on Monday night.

It will be a much-needed extra practice session since Manning has yet to throw a touchdown pass this season or preseason.

Manning and Coughlin both say they hope it won't take the Giants long to find an identity.

"Hopefully not," Manning said. "Sometimes it is by game, trying to figure out what personnel is the best-suited for that game, what works the best, and sometimes it changes through the game or throughout the season. ... Just about game planning and figuring out who are the best guys on the field."