This New York Giants' offense led by quarterback Eli Manning is a defined scheme, one that I've broken down many times before whether it's the New York version with Ben McAdoo or in Green Bay with what the Packers do under head coach Mike McCarthy. The passing game is based on quick passes, very simple concepts meant to get the ball out of the quarterback's hands quickly and into the hands of playmakers on the outside. What makes it tough to defend when it's being executed at a high level is that the Giants run so many complementary plays off of those simple concepts to keep defenses on its toes. The staple pass play in this offense? Slant Flat.
Here's an example of the Slant Flat concept at work against Washington. The No. 1 receiver runs a slant route. The No. 2 receiver, who could be either a slot receiver, tight end or running back, goes out on a flat route. The flat route may be a slide or a bubble, any route that runs horizontal to the line of scrimmage to try and draw an underneath defender toward the sideline to create a passing lane. Here, Manning hits Odell Beckham Jr. for a big gain. A window is created when Beckham crosses the face of his defender, and the slot corner runs with Sterling Shepard toward the sideline. Pretty simple play, right? You can expect to see this concept a handful of times on Sunday afternoon.
Shot 2 - But like all of #Giants 3-step pass game, they build double moves off of their basic routes. Sluggo route beats Baltimore deep pic.twitter.com/QiqNye6yoe — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 3, 2016
Here's what appears to be the same exact concept against Baltimore. You have Beckham on the slant, and Shepard in the slot running a route to the flat. Except this isn't a slant from Beckham, because it's actually a sluggo route (slant and go = sluggo). The corner outside hesitates for a brief second, biting on the slant, and Beckham wins over the top for a big gain downfield.
Slant Flat isn't the only quick-game concept prevalent in the Giants' passing game. Like most offenses, they also incorporate two other basic three-step concepts. First, I've always known this play as Spacing.
Here's the Spacing concept at work. There are two hitch routes over the ball toward the middle of the field, and you have a flat route to the outside. The New Orleans Saints are in Cover 3, allowing the two hitch routes to find soft spots in the zone coverage and settle in. Manning starts to his right (notice that the Giants are running Slant Flat to that side), and comes back to the left to hit tight end Larry Donnell over the middle for a first down.
Shot 4 - Another quick-game concept complemented by a lethal double move from Odell Beckham for a long TD #Giants. Spacing w/ Hitch-Go pic.twitter.com/0m4SZSP3xM — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 3, 2016
Against the Baltimore Ravens, the Giants appear to be going back to the Spacing concept again, this time with Beckham running the backside hitch route. But this isn't a Spacing concept because Beckham runs the hitch, then turns and streaks down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown.
Shot 5 - Third #Giants staple in the pass game I'll show. The 'Stick' concept. Every team in the league runs this. They do it a lot as well pic.twitter.com/9df3kNL1uQ — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 3, 2016
Here's another example of a popular quick-game pass play in the Giants' scheme, the Stick concept. The No. 1 receiver runs a vertical route, the No. 2 receiver is an option on an out route and the No. 3 receiver utilizes either a stick or option route. On this example, Manning hits Shepard for a first down on the stick route.
Shot 6 - No surprise here, but they run a lot of 'Stick Nod' as well. Sell out-breaking 'Stick' route then break upfield on this double move pic.twitter.com/bB7xzPPFZn — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 3, 2016
Against Minnesota, tight end Will Tye appears to be running the same stick route as Shepard from his spot on the line of scrimmage. But this isn't a stick route, it's a stick nod, as Tye breaks upfield after selling his outside stem.
This is the basis of what the Giants try to do: beat you with quick throws and get the ball to their playmakers as early in the down as possible. Defenses are lulled to sleep with quick, three-step concepts. Then, before you know it, the Giants run a double move off of one of those three-step routes, beating you for a big gain.
Shot 7 - #Giants have 3 WRs that can all carve DBs up as route runners. Allows them to be simple with concepts in quick game. Tough matchups pic.twitter.com/iJrCfCoVoK — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 3, 2016
These are all three of their starting receivers. We all know the kind of dynamic threat Beckham is, whether he's lined up inside or outside. Victor Cruz is finally back and playing after hurting his knee two years ago here in Philadelphia, which is good to see as a fan of the game. Cruz isn't quite the athlete he was, but is still smooth in and out of breaks. He is also a constant threat to go up and fight for the football. The Giants drafted Shepard in the second round of this year's draft out of Oklahoma, and he is a perfect fit for them in the slot. Shepard's quickness and sharp route-running skills allow him to create separation and get open for big gains in the middle of the field.
The run game has not been very productive for the Giants so far this season. They lost Shane Vereen early in the year to an injury, and they're not getting the consistent blocking up front to open up holes for Rashad Jennings, rookie Paul Perkins, and veterans Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey. That being said, one of their staple runs is a concept that literally every Eagles opponent has run this season, the Trap play.
Shot 8 - Can't draw this Trap run play up any better. Eagles D has seen this play from teams EVERY GAME. Must be ready for it from #Giants pic.twitter.com/vrHqTI8nnt — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 3, 2016
The basic idea with a Trap run is to suck an aggressive defensive lineman upfield only to block him with a blocker coming from the other side of the formation. This, in turn, allows other linemen to climb to the second level to get on the linebackers quickly. Even teams that don't typically run Trap (like the Dallas Cowboys) have run this play against the Eagles, because it is effective against aggressive fronts like what you see here in Philadelphia. You can't draw this Trap play up any better for New York against Washington. Left guard Justin Pugh comes to the play side to block the 3-technique defensive tackle. The guard and tackle on that side, not having to block the 3-technique, can get right up on top of the linebackers, creating a huge hole for the back.
Like every team in the NFL, the Giants are a big RPO (Run Pass Option) team, meaning that they have pass plays built into a lot of their run calls. If the numbers are favorable for the offense to run it, the quarterback hands the ball off. If there is more open field on the perimeter with fewer defenders out in space, the quarterback can throw it outside. Here, the Giants call a Trap play against the Rams, but Manning likes what he sees on the outside, so he throws a quick slant route to Cruz for a first down.
The Giants' offense presents a lot of challenges to any scheme. The Eagles must be prepared for everything they bring to the table. The three-step passing game, double moves, the Trap runs and Run Pass Option plays are all basic staples of this scheme.
Fran Duffy is the producer of "Eagles Game Plan" which can be seen on Saturdays during the season. Be sure to also check out the "Eagle Eye In The Sky" podcast on the Philadelphia Eagles podcast channel on iTunes. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University Football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices and opponents.