Scouting report: Giants' offense

Nov. 25, 2012

A scouting report on the New York Giants based on interviews with NFL coaches and scouts.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's roots are in the run-and-shoot passing game, though he's adjusted his scheme for coach Tom Coughlin to allow for more use of the tight end and power running game. The Giants are tied for No. 7 in the NFL in points, tied for No. 11 in yards, are No. 13 in rushing yards and No. 8 in yards per carry.

Rushing offense

Their primary back is Ahmad Bradshaw (5-foot-10, 214 pounds), who has good quickness and more power than his size suggests. He's had problems this season with a foot injury that also bothered him most of last year but appears likely to play this week. When healthy the 26-year old is a legit primary back (4.5-yard average on 151 carries this season) and also plays on passing downs (17 receptions, 7.2-yard average).

Backup Andre Brown (6-0, 227), a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina State in 2009, has good size and power (5.4 yards a carry) and catches OK coming out of the backfield (12 receptions, 7.2-yard average). This year's first-round pick, David Wilson (5-10, 205), is a blazer (4.41-second 40 at the NFL scouting combine) but hasn't played much (18 carries, 4.9-yard average) because of fumbling and assignment issues.

The offensive line has slipped, in part because injuries and age are diminishing 32-year-old Dave Diehl, who moved from left tackle to right tackle this season. He missed three games because of a sprained MCL.

Passing offense

In Gilbride's option-read passing game, the receivers' routes on most plays are determined by the coverage and requires on-the-fly reads by route-runners and the quarterback. The Giants rank No. 9 in the NFL in passing yards and No. 10 in average yards per pass.

Quarterback Eli Manning has taken some heat for his spotty play in back-to-back losses before last week's bye, but he's highly regarded around the NFL for his overall skill and mental makeup and two Super Bowl wins. The ninth-year pro has a 74-48 record since becoming a full-time starter in his second season despite a career passer rating of only 82.1.

Manning has good size (6-4, 218), a strong and relatively accurate throwing arm, and though he's not a demonstrative take-charge leader like his brother, Peyton, shows the physical toughness it takes to win over teammates.

He's been prone to rough stretches where he forces throws -- he has only one more touchdown pass (12) than interceptions (11) this season, and his 81.8 passer rating is his lowest since 2007. But he's performed well in big games, and after speculation that his arm looked tired going into the bye, he's said after returning to practice this week he feels more lively.

His best playmaker is Victor Cruz (6-0, 204), who since the start of last season ranks No. 3 in the NFL in receiving yards (2,279). Cruz has a good chemistry with Manning and can make difficult catches look easy.

Fourth-year pro Hakeem Nicks (6-1, 208) is a little bigger and more physical than Cruz but has been slowed all season by foot and knee injuries and has 36 catches and a 12.9-yard average.

Martellus Bennett (6-6, 265), a second-round pick by Dallas in 2008, was signed as a free agent and has become an important part of the passing game (36 receptions) as a big target for Manning.

The Giants rank No. 2 in the NFL in sacks percentage, though much of that is because Manning is good at getting the ball out. Center Kevin Baas (6-4, 312) and left tackle Will Beatty (6-6, 319) are the softest spots on an OK line.

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