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Letís examine how well the Giants used the rookie running ba

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Letís Examine How Well The Giants Used The Rookie Running Ba - Sport
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New York Giants NewsWere Saquon Barkleyís second-half of season targets better than the first half in 2018?New Mark Bavaro Jerseys 2019 ,21commentsLetís examine how well the Giants used the rookie running back as a receiverEDTShare this storyShare this on FacebookShare this on TwitterShareAll sharing optionsShareAll sharing options for:Were Saquon Barkleyís second-half of season targets better than the first half in 2018?TwitterFacebookRedditPocketFlipboardEmailPhoto by Elsa/Getty ImagesAfter the New York Giants selected Saquon Barkley second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the front office and coaching staff sold a plan that would take advantage of Barkleyís skill set and justify such a high pick on a running back. During offseason workouts and training camp, Barkley was being moved around the formation in the passing game, taking snaps and seeing targets from the slot and outside. Everything looked great.Then the regular season started and little of the creativity transferred. Barkley was regularly targeted on panicked check downs well behind the line of scrimmage and zero of 121 passes thrown his way came while he was lined up in the slot.Overall, Barkleyís targets were worth 1.5 Expected Points Added over the entire season, per Sports Info Solutions. He had a positive play rate (the percentage of plays that resulted in positive EPA) of just 43 percent. Among 21 running backs with at least 50 targets in 2018, those numbers ranked 14th and 17th, respectively.The conventional wisdom, though, is that Barkleyís targets got better and more efficient during the second half of the season. Strictly by value, that wasnít the case at all.On 71 targets from Weeks 1-8, Barkley had 6.8 EPA and a positive play rate of 47 percent. On his 50 post-bye targets from Weeks 10-17, Barkley had minus-5.3 EPA and a positive play rate of just 34 percent. His yards per target dropped from 7.1 to 4.5 from the first to second half of the season and his yards per reception dropped from 8.6 to 6.8.Of course, the answer isnít that simple, either. There were some good things to take away from Barkleyís usage over the second half of the season, but also a lot of factors that caused those targets to be so inefficient.Some of this was just baked into an offense that was frustrating and inconsistent in both design and execution. Letís look at Barkleyís first two targets after the Week 9 bye. The first was a third-and-4 midway through the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants came out in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) and motioned Sterling Shepard in tight before the snap. That gave Barkley enough space to release up the sideline for an easy catch and first down.Five plays later on a second-and-10 White Michael Strahan Jerseys , the Giants ran a poorly executed screen that saw missed blocks from Spencer Pulley and Chad Wheeler and a whole lot of running by Barkley to gain exactly zero yards.During the second half of the season, the Giants did throw to Barkley beyond the line of scrimmage more often. In the first half, 61.4 percent of his targets came behind line but that improved to 52 percent after the bye. For a player like Barkley, getting him into space beyond the line of scrimmage is more likely to set him up for success than a dump off and hoping for multiple broken tackles. Still, shots like this one against Washington were the exceptions.Despite the higher percentage of passes beyond the line of scrimmage, Barkleyís average pass was still caught behind it. Drops arenít a long-term concern with Barkley, but he did struggle there in the second half of the season too with a 10.7 percent drop rate opposed to a 4.7 percent drop rate before the bye.There is another part of this that comes down to quarterback play. Many of Barkleyís first-half targets came as rushed check downs, but they were at least catchable rushed check downs. Per SIS charting, 64 of Barkleyís 71 targets (90.1 percent) were considered catchable from Weeks 1-8. That dropped significantly to 39 of 50 (78 percent) from Weeks 10-17. Combine those two factors and itís easy to see why Barkley still caught fewer passes than expected in 2018.Off-target throws were certainly a problem in the second half of the season but more concerning was the number of instances when Eli Manningís internal clock and the timing of routes were in different time zones, even as the offensive line improved.Hereís Barkley getting force-fed a bad pass on second down for a loss of three. Manning turned to Barkley at the top of his drop, despite room to step up in the pocket, and Bennie Fowler (18, bottom of screen) about to come open on a post.On the below play, Manning airmailed a throw to a covered Barkley again with room to step up in the pocket and Sterling Shepard, who started in the left slot, gaining a step on his defender crossing the field.Some of this can potentially be righted with better offensive line play. Some of this can be righted with better quarterback play. Some of this could also be righted by better play from Barkley. There definitely are paths forward to get better usage and production on passes to a start running back, but the Giants will have to identify and fix those problems to move forward. One thing the Giants canít do is believe the problem has already been fixed and the second half of the season represents what the offense should look like in 2019. Plus thoughts on Gettlemanís unwillingness to share his plan, Kyle Laueltta and much moreSomething has been gnawing at me now for quite a while Michael Strahan Jerseys 2019 , and itís this opinion that the Giants got nothing in return for letting safety Landon Collins walk out the door.While I get it that we live in an instant gratification society, there is also a school of thought that says, ďGood things come to those who wait.ĒIn the case of Collins, the Giants, per Over the Cap, are projected to receive a compensatory pick to use in next yearís draft, one of their highest compensatory picks in recent memory. So not only does that count for something, but it could end up being a very valuable bargaining chip if the Giants need to move up in the first round next year for their next franchise quarterback. Not knowing the 2020 draft order, itís impossible to begin calculating what it would take for the Giants to move up to get the quarterback of their choice. What we can probably safely say is that itís going to take a package of picks to move up. This package will likely need to include their first rounder and potentially one of the two third-round picks they are scheduled to have next year (plus my guess is if they have to go very high up in the order, it could cost them their 2021 first-rounder, but Iím getting a little ahead of myself there).The point is that itís inaccurate to say that the Giants let Landon Collins walk away for nothing. I get it that there are some who said that if the Giants knew they were going to move on from Collins last year, why not get something at the time.But if they werenít going to get anything close to what they were looking for (reportedly a second-round pick), it really didnít make sense to move him.to grab Barkley were virtually nonexistent.Gettleman claims he has a plan that will continue to take shape in the draft, where itís believed the Giants will use their abundance of picks to plug a massive number of holes on the roster at right tackle, defensive line, edge, off-ball linebacker, safety White Will Hernandez Jerseys , and cornerback.So yes, there is a plan, and once the draft class takes shape, the picture will hopefully be a lot clearer.Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsKyle Laulettaís futureItís rare, but not impossible, that a quarterback drafted on Day 3 turns into a quality starter capable of taking his team to the Promised Land.Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick in 2000, is the most famous example who accomplished this. So too is some guy by the name of Kurt Warner, an undrafted free agent who got his start in the Arena Football League but who won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams in 2008.So yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, franchise quarterbacks come in the first round ó and the earlier, the better.Which brings us to Kyle Lauletta, who came from a small school program and who was further behind the 8 ball than some of his contemporaries in last yearís class.There were a number of people who thought Lauletta might be the heir to Manningís throne. In retrospect, that was a pretty high expectation for a guy who was expected to go all out on getting up to speed as quickly as he could only to show that he still had a long way to go when he flopped in a late-season game against Washington. I think it speaks volumes that the Giants re-signed Alex Tanney, who took zero regular game snaps for the Giants last year, to a two-year contract. Head coach Pat Shurmur will tell us that Tanney has NFL experience, but according to NFL.com Will Hernandez Jerseys 2019 , Tanney has attempted just 14 passes in his pro career, completing 10 for 99 yards and 1 touchdown.Thatís just a smidgen more regular-season game experience than what Lauletta has.Given all the clues, I think itís plain as day that Lauletta isnít a lock to be on this roster on opening day, especially if the Giants draft another Day 3 prospect to develop.I do think that Lauletta will get the opportunity to compete this summer, assuming he doesnít have any more missteps along the way. But if there was ever any hope that he might one day succeed Eli Manning as the starter (and I donít believe there was), that hope is probably gone.Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY SportsKeep an eye on Evan EngramI often am asked who I think will lead the Giants in receptions and receiving yards in 2019 now that Odell Beckham Jr is no longer with the team.My answer is tight end Evan Engram (assuming he stays healthy).Engram, in my opinion, took the biggest leap forward of any of the Giantsí receiving targets, an occurrence that gets overlooked thanks to him having missed five games last year due to injuries. But letís take a closer look at just what kind of major strides Engram made from Year 1 to Year 2:He cut down on his dropped passes, going from 11 as a rookie to 3 in his second season.He increased his yards after the catch average from 4.7 to 8.7 yards.He had the highest NFL rating (115.6) of all the Giants receiving targets, including the wide outs, running backs and tight ends who were targeted at least 20 times in the passing game And do I really need to tell you what heís been able to do when Beckham hasnít been in the lineup?Ok, if you insist. Evan Engram 2019 Production: With & Without Odell in the LineupTargRecYardsTDsYACDropsTargRecYardsTDsYACDropsTo be clear, Beckham is a generational talent, which as we know doesnít grow on trees. But this notion that the Giants passing game is doomed without him appears to be overblown so long as Engram stays healthy.



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