Well, that could have gone better.
The New York Giants were held without a touchdown in their season-opener in Dallas on Sunday night, losing to the Cowboys 19-3. The Giants played without Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) and were held to just 233 yards of total offense, including 35 on the ground.
It was not a pretty sight.
“I was doing the announcement on the Jets game, and I thought their offense looked pretty bad – until I saw the Giants,” CBS Sports Network NFL and college football analyst Erik Coleman said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I know the reason why the Jets’ offense isn’t as successful, but for the Giants, they have all the tools you can ask for. Yes, they’re missing Odell Beckham, but they still have Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Eli Manning – so I expected a lot more from their offense. I think upfront it’s tough to win when you can’t run the football or protect your quarterback. They’re going to have to do some things upfront to change it up to get some protection.”
Marshall had just one catch for 10 yards in his Giants debut, while Shepard had seven catches for 44 yards.
Both receivers likely would have had more of an impact if Beckham were on the field, as OBJ is a constant worry for defenses. Without him, defenses are free to focus on everyone else.
“Absolutely,” said Coleman, a former NFL safety. “As a defender, when Odell Beckham’s on the field, you are talking about where he is every play because most of the time, your coverage is based on where he’s lined up. I remember playing against Steve Smith in his prime, and we created a whole package to where we had to communicate wherever he was. If he was in the slot, we were going to play Cover 4 and double-team him with the safety and the nickel. If he was outside, we were going to play two-man to him. That opens things up for your tight ends, your other receivers, and the run game because you can’t dedicate an extra defender to the box. You’re double-teaming someone else so that’s one-on-ones with your second-, third-, fourth-best cover guys on a Brandon Marshall or a Sterling Shepard or one of their tight ends.
“So it really does open up what you can do as an offense,” Coleman continued. “Who knows? Maybe once (Beckham) gets back, they’ll open up their offense and have a lot more success. It was just very disappointing to see them play as bad as they did on the grand stage knowing that Odell Beckham wasn’t playing. It wasn’t like they had three days to find out if he was going to play. They had a couple of weeks to prepare for Odell Beckham not playing.”
The Giants will try to get in the win column in Week 2. They host the Lions on Monday Night Football on Sept. 18. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.