Eli Manning and Ben McAdoo have done well together so far. No, they obviously haven't won enough games, but Manning's two years with McAdoo as his offensive coordinator have been two of the best and most efficient statistical seasons of his career. Now that McAdoo is the New York Giants' head coach, he and the Giants' longtime quarterback expect to continue to thrive together. But McAdoo knows Manning needs help if they're to do everything they want to do.
"We need to do a good job of keeping him upright," McAdoo said last week at the NFL owners meetings. "To push the ball down the field a little bit more, it takes a little bit longer to do that. So we would like to do that, so we need to keep him upright when we're throwing the ball downfield."
That of course speaks to the offensive line, where the Giants have yet to make any additions this offseason. They've spent a top-43 pick on the line in each of the last three drafts, and those players -- Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg -- appear locked in as the starting left tackle, left guard and center for the foreseeable future. Where the Giants could (and should) look to upgrade is on the right side, where John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse started at guard and tackle last year.
"John Jerry's a battler, now," McAdoo said. "He's going to go out there and give you what he has and he's going to fight you. We like John Jerry. Marshall Newhouse is a guy we brought in for depth reasons, and when he had his opportunity, he played well for us. Glad to have Marshall back."
The point on Newhouse is an important one. The Giants signed him to be a backup tackle, but the offseason injury to Will Beatty forced Flowers to the left side as a rookie and Newhouse into starter's duty on the right. I believe that McAdoo does like Newhouse (who's an eminently likable fellow), but I also believes he'd rather have him in that "depth" role to which he refers. Jerry has been a starter for the Giants the last two years, and while they likely could do better there, they also could get by with him at right guard if they upgraded at right tackle.
But obviously, the offensive line was not as high an offseason priority for the Giants as the defensive line was, and at this point they're left to pick over the bargain bin in free agency. They also could use an early pick on a lineman as they have each of the last three years. I think they're going to take a defensive player with the No. 10 overall pick, but there could absolutely be some intriguing tackle prospects there for them when they pick again at No. 40. Or if one they really like slips out of the first round, they could do what they did last year with safety Landon Collins and trade up in the second round to get him.
I think they need to bring in someone, though. McAdoo had good things to say about 2015 seventh-rounder Bobby Hart and the work he did last year to develop his technique and his physique, but I don't get the sense Hart is viewed as a potential 2016 starter. He's a longer-range project than that. Adam Gettis and Emmett Cleary are guys they like a little bit, but they couldn't beat out Jerry and Newhouse last year.
Expect the Giants to add more pieces on the line as the offseason progresses. They know they need to protect Manning better and run the ball better if they're going to do all they want to do as an offense.