EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This is not your father's -- or Kevin Gilbride's -- Giants offense. That much is certain the moment the players take the field.
The pace, the rhythm, the play selection, everything moves quickly and at a high tempo. It's a much different offense than the 2013 version, which imploded in a way that rivaled any explosion in a Michael Bay movie, ever.
The offensive line was savaged by injuries, the receivers and quarterback never seemed to be on the same page and the run game was nonexistent. Those issues cost then-offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride his job, and he was replaced by former Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo.
McAdoo brought with him an offense which features an up-tempo play selection, with a lot of quick reads and short passing routes all of which should mitigate many of the problems the offense had last year. Timing will be everything in this offense.
That all comes down on Eli Manning's shoulders, something he is well aware of.
The Rhythm is Gonna Get You
This is the first time Manning has had a new offensive scheme since coming into the NFL, a source of both excitement and nervousness for him.
"You come into the season a little nervous," he told me on the first day of camp, "You have a good feel for [the scheme] but it's not to where I want it to be."
That is just firing him up though.
"I know we have a lot of work to do," Manning said, "but I'm excited about that challenge."
He should be. One only need look at McAdoo's former team to know how much it could be capable of. Of course, you can also look at McAdoo's old team for an idea of what happens when the quarterback doesn't have a grip on the offense.
When Aaron Rodgers went down in 2013, the parade of backups who wandered through Green Bay struggled, as did the offense. In part that was because they didn't have the chemistry with the receivers -- or the reps to get it -- when they got under center.
That takes time. We saw progress in the first week of practices and Manning is improving every day. He knew everyone's role in the Gilbride offense and he's working hard to replicate that in the new scheme.
"He's getting there," receiver Victor Cruz told us last week. "Coach McAdoo's asking questions, he's the first one to answer … You can tell he's got a good grasp of it so far."
Of course, trying to learn everyone's role as well as your own on the fly can be a bit much. There are times when the offense bogs down, when Manning looks a bit overwhelmed or falls back into old habits and things slow down too much. That's when you get flashbacks from 2013, when Manning tried to do way too much and threw 27 interceptions, the most in his career.
On the positive side, there are many times when the offense crackles, with Manning moving the ball down the field at an impressive pace. On those series, even when Manning misses his receivers, you can see the energy and pace is very good. It's just not consistent at this point in camp.
Again, it's all about repetition and the more Manning gets out there and throws the ball around, the smoother things should get and the quicker he builds that chemistry and timing with his receivers that the offense needs so badly.
One guy he doesn't have to work on timing with is Cruz, who is more than happy with the tempo of the new offense.
Starring Victor Cruz as Randall Cobb
"I like to have the ball in my hands, whether it's on a three-yard route or a 30-yard route."
Cruz smiled as he looked out at what he termed the media's "beautiful faces" and spoke with enthusiasm about his role in the new offense.
"I want the ball in my hands so I can make big-time moves, make people miss and get in that end zone, which is one of the things I feel I do best."
Here's your free fantasy football note of the day: draft Victor Cruz because he may end up as a top ten overall player by the end of the season. Not just a top-10 fantasy football receiver but as an overall fantasy player.
While Manning is still trying to get his timing going with his other receivers, he and Cruz hook up often each day, whether they are in shirts and shells as they were early in the week or full pads as they were this past Sunday. That bodes well, especially given what we've seen in this offense from the Packers' slot man, Randall Cobb.
Cobb was hurt last season and only appeared in six games, but if you look at 2012, he was the most targeted player on the Packers with 80 receptions. While some of that was because Jordy Nelson was hurt that year, just as much of it was because in this type of offense, the slot guy gets a lot of love.
That excites Cruz and it should. He'll get a ton of balls thrown his way on short slants and crossing routes, giving him the football quickly and in space where he does a tremendous amount of damage.
Cruz can make guys miss. Sure, Antonio Cromartie is known for an aversion to tackling, but even so (and with less space than he'll see in the new scheme) he was able to make an amazing play out of very little once he had the ball in his hands.
Cobb is a tremendous playmaker for the Packers in this offense, and Cruz is a far more dynamic player, which means the sky is the limit for him this year.
Run, Rashad, Run!
After an atrocious outing by the Giants backfield in 2013, the team made some changes by bringing in Rashad Jennings and drafting Andre Williams in the fourth round. On top of those acquisitions, the team has David Wilson back and healthy, and kept around Peyton Hillis for good measure.
That's the foundation they have to work with and it is proving to be an excellent one.
After three underwhelming years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jennings looked great in his one year with Oakland. He turned his 2013 numbers into a solid (but not bankbook breaking) four-year contract with the Giants. So far in camp he's taken most of the first team reps, and seen targets in the receiving game as well. Jennings has looked great in both areas and is motivated. Part of that comes from McAdoo, who he had high praise for.
"He's a technician," Jennings told me. "He's very dialed into how he wants this offense run. He's great at communicating and relaying all the information and we're progressively seeing ourselves grow on film. That's one thing he harps on, making the tape look like we want it."
Though the Packers struggled to find the right lead back until last season, right out of the gate the Giants look like they have their guy.
Add in Wilson on third downs and Williams at the goal line and this team will find themselves with the type of backfield the Packers only recently produced with Eddie Lacy.
That gives the offense an important dimension as the Giants reboot their offense.
It's not a bug, it's a feature: potential problems
Not everything is perfect in the new offense, and there are still several question marks.
For example, while Rueben Randle looks much more comfortable in this scheme than he did in Kevin Gilbride's and Jerrel Jernigan has made some nice catches, both are still struggling to get on the same page as their quarterback.
After returning from a two-year stint on the left coast with the San Francisco 49ers, Mario Manningham is still not back in sync with Manning either. All three players have a ways to go before they look as good as the team wants and needs them to be.
And then there is the first round draft pick.
After each practice, Coughlin marches out to meet the press and greets us with a "So what can I do for you folks today?" He could just save himself some aggravation and start with "No, I don't know when Beckham will get out there."
Odell Beckham Jr. pulled up lame during the first week of practice on a deep route and hasn't been seen on offense since. On Monday, The Star-Leger's Conor Orr reported that he was undergoing tests to see if there is a more to the injury.
The team would like him to fill a vertical role on the offense but the longer he is off the field, the further behind the rest of the offense he is. These are real issues for a timing offense; one with very quick passes, plenty of no-huddle and requiring instantaneous reactions and adjustments. The receivers need to know where to be and where the quarterback is throwing to.
So far, that's an aspect of the offense that isn't totally there.
The offensive line is also still a bit of a concern, though the team made great efforts to improve it. The Giants added a lot of new faces like centers J.D. Walton (who hasn't played since 2012) and rookie Weston Richburg, as well as journeymen like Geoff Schwartz, John Jerry and Charles Brown.
Will Beatty has been banged up, but managed to practice during the first week. The line also returns Brandon Mosley and Justin Pugh, both of whom performed well in their rookie seasons.
That's a lot of new faces, though, and it's as vital to get the right chemistry on the line as it is to get it with the receivers and quarterback.
The quick release and up-tempo rhythm should help overcome any line issues, just as it has the last few years for Green Bay. But as the entire offense is still learning the nuances of this scheme, shoddy play by the offensive line can really stymie the overall play of the offense.
Even in Green Bay, plenty of plays were successful, despite an offensive line collapse, only because they were extended by Aaron Rodgers' feet. If this week is an indication, mobility continues to be one of the few things Manning doesn't excel at.
That's absolutely a concern if this line plays like it did in 2013.
Still, despite these worries, this looks like an offense which will not explode on the launch-pad like it did in 2013. It's just going to take some time. If the fans can be patient, it will be worth the wait because if what we saw in just one week of practice is any indication, this offense has the potential to be very, very good.