EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' players spent the bye week getting away from football. Many of them didn't even watch the action around the league on Sunday. They were decompressing after a disappointing first half of the season.
The Giants' coaches spent their time differently. They were hammering away most of last week at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center trying to figure what went so incredibly wrong. Self-scouting is what they call it.
When the Giants return the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, there will be tweaks and alterations.
"There will be some subtle changes, but, again, our players are our players," coach Ben McAdoo said. "We have good players. We have to put them in a position to be successful on Sunday."
Just how good could depend on who is healthy. But it appears that Giants should get a boost, with wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck) and possibly offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) and defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) having a realistic chance to be on the field against the Rams.
That should help. So too should the adjustments made by McAdoo and his coaching staff. They had already transformed the offense in recent weeks into a more multiple, run-heavy attack. That is likely to continue with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall out for the season.
McAdoo mentioned his staff thoroughly analyzed the team's personnel last week, and noted there could be opportunities to interject some younger players into different roles. But the Giants have already been forced to do that because of injuries. It's possible players such as tight ends Jerell Adams and Matt LaCosse, safety Andrew Adams or rookie defensive end Avery Moss see their roles grow in the second half of the season, but it still isn't likely to be anything extreme.
The Giants made it clear over the past week that we're not going to see Davis Webb at quarterback any time soon, or even at all this season. They're going to stick with Eli Manning for the foreseeable future.
To improve it's more likely the Giants will be attempting to refine their schemes and concentrate on what did work for Manning and Co. over the first seven weeks of the season.
"You can't make wholesale changes in the course of a week," Pugh said. "Find out what we're doing well, keep doing those things, keep getting better at those things and find out areas where you are lacking and obviously make some changes there. You can't make too many crazy changes. We're not bringing in new personnel. We still have the same guys in the locker room."
McAdoo believes the Giants made strides running the football. They've been particularly effective running out wide right [mostly behind guard D.J. Fluker and Pugh] where they have averaged 5.5 yards per carry. They could lean on that more in the second half. The Giants actually ran the ball more to the left side [47 plays compared to 44] more than the right in the first half of the season.
"It will just be like different formations running different plays out of them," Pugh said. "Getting into what we do best and really finding different ways to get that run. That is probably really mostly what [McAdoo] meant."
These are the minor offensive adjustments that could be noticeable over the final nine weeks. The defensive changes might be even harder to notice. The Giants aren't likely to make any significant overhauls there.
"The schemes are fine. I just think it's more the minor details that we have within our scheme that we aren't doing correct," All-Pro safety Landon Collins said. "We figure those out and make it work on the field and do our job, we'll be perfect."
The Giants also will need to find an answer to their run defense, particularly on the left side of the line. They have allowed 5.5 yards per carry over the right tackle and right edge this season. That ranks near the bottom of the league, but there are nine more games this season to see if this group can fix those problems.