Offseason Playbook: Giants

A look at New York's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: February 28, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
David WilsonElsa/Getty ImagesIs David Wilson ready to be the lead running back for the New York Giants?

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, what are its biggest needs, and which one player could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- The approach of this offense does not change a lot from year to year, but the personnel does -- and there are some weaknesses to be worried about in 2013. By nature this is a run-first scheme with power man blocking up front and the ability to dominate between the tackles. The Giants like to use the run game to set up play-action for Eli Manning. But right now I'm not sure whether they have the personnel to do it. In the passing game, they like to use three wide receivers, and when they can play Victor Cruz in the slot, they are at their best. Manning does a good job of counting defenders in the box, will call a run or pass accordingly, and seems to be more effective throwing inside instead of on the edges. He also throws a nice deep seam route.

The Giants will involve their tight ends in the passing game, especially on underneath routes, and Manning is good on play-action passes in the red zone -- if his run game is going well. A goal for this passing game in 2013 is for those receivers to do a better job of separating from tight end coverages and not asking Manning to put the ball into tight windows on every down.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.