Rashad Jennings Giants ‘left our defense hanging’
The post-mortem of the New York Giants’ strange 2016 season is still being written, by scribes and players alike.
On Monday, veteran wideout Victor Cruz admitted that the Giants wide receivers’ much-scrutinized two-day trip to Miami before their wild-card loss to the Packers “definitely wasn’t worth it.”
A day later, running back Rashad Jennings echoed those sentiments on NFL Network’s Total Access, but offered a more detailed explanation as to why Big Blue fell in the opening round.
“We got to the dance but we had two left feet,” Jennings mused. “We stalled out. We didn’t finish. We didn’t finish our drives offensively. We did not put up points like we needed to offensively. Quite frankly, I felt like we left our defense hanging in some areas.
“But what we need to do to make sure that we’re in this position to be one of the 32 teams playing next year is just executing the little, small, minute details because we got a good team.”
Jennings is right to put the onus on New York’s offense to bounce back after falling short in the postseason, and he’s the right mouthpiece for the self-assessment. After all, the Giants’ running game was among the worst in the league and often held back a unit that was destined to be explosive with Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Cruz manning the flanks.
With just one year left on his deal in East Rutherford, Jennings will have to prove that 2016’s down year was a fluke, and that he can outperform rookie Paul Perkins for years to come. Jennings’ 3.3 yards per carry average was his lowest since breaking out in Oakland and he failed to register a 100-yard game in a season for the first time since 2012. Perkins, meanwhile, saw at least 10 carries in New York’s final five games and finished with a higher yards per carry average (4.1).
The Giants are one or two pieces away on offense — an athletic tight end would help — from Super Bowl Sunday in 2018. But Jennings doesn’t want them to reload at his position; his goal is their goal.
“Winning championships is what the Giants organization talks about,” Jennings stated. “That’s the focal point. That’s the expectations that’s put for us every single year and the distractions, you try to eliminate as many as you possibly can, especially in New York.
“Anything you do can and will be held against you.”