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New York Giants: Midseason Grades for Six Key Offensive Players

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New York Giants: Midseason Grades for Six Key Offensive Players
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Eli Manning must do better in the second half of the season.
COMMENTARY | After starting the year with six straight losses, the New York Giants won two straight games to reach the midpoint of the season and their bye week with a record of 2-6.


It's not the record the team or its fans expected to see, and there are plenty of reasons for Big Blue's failures in the first half, starting with the erratic play of franchise quarterback Eli Manning and extending out to the offensive line and wide receivers. But who is most at fault for the team's poor start, and are any players beyond blame? Here are some first-half grades for the key offensive players:

QB Eli Manning -- Manning leads the National Football League with 15 interceptions through Week 8, but he hasn't turned the ball over in his last two games (both wins). So he's played better as of late, but Manning clearly isn't having one of his best seasons. You can point to the lack of a running game or poor play of the offensive line as excuses for Manning's misfortunes, but the bottom line is that he hasn't made enough plays through the team's first eight games. Grade: C

WR Hakeem Nicks -- It's been a turbulent season for Nicks, who started the year by reporting late to training camp and was shadowed by trade rumors the last few weeks (he's a free agent at the end of the season). It hasn't been smooth sailing on the field, either. Nicks, dislocated a finger in Week 2, has dropped some passes and hasn't caught a touchdown pass yet. Those numbers are unacceptable for a top receiver, especially one who expects to be paid like one after this year. Grade: D

WR Victor Cruz -- Cruz has been the team's most reliable offensive player through eight weeks, leading the team in catches and receiving yards with 47 and 677, respectively. However, he's danced his symbolic salsa in the end zone only once since his three-touchdown performance in Week 1 and hasn't topped 100 yards since Week 4. Nevertheless, Cruz is on pace for a career high in receptions and is a lock to top 1,000 yards for the third straight season. He's not the problem. Grade: B+

WR Rueben Randle --
Randle had some rough patches earlier this season. Six of Manning's 15 interceptions have come on passes intended for him. However, the second-year pro has four touchdown catches over his last five games and is showing signs of improvement. If Randle runs more precise routes and develops chemistry with Manning, he'll become the team's biggest offensive threat in the second half and a key piece of the offense moving forward. Grade: B

TE Brandon Myers -- The Giants signed Myers in the offseason as a replacement for pass-catching tight end Martellus Bennett, but the former Oakland Raider has been a bust. Myers has 23 catches for 265 yards and one touchdown, whereas Bennett has 32 grabs for 356 yards and four TDs for the Chicago Bears. But forget the stats. Myers' unwillingness or inability to block has hurt the Giants' offense as much as his lack of offensive production. Grade: F

LT Will Beatty -- Beatty, who signed a lucrative contract extension in the offseason, has embodied the offensive line's failure in pass protection. Manning's blindside blocker is responsible for a large share of the team's 19 sacks allowed. The Giants yielded a league-low 20 sacks all of last season. There have been other weak links on the O-Line, including rookie Justin Pugh and veteran David Diehl, but Beatty should have been the anchor of the unit, thus he deserves the most criticism. Grade: F

Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.

Sources

Pro-Football-Reference.com.

The Official Site of the New York Giants.

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