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Giants offense punchless without OBJ

(TSX / STATS) -- EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This offseason, the New York Giants added a pair of potential offensive play-makers, veteran receiver Brandon Marshall and a first-round draft pick, tight end Evan Engram.

Yet, in the 19-3 Sunday night loss to the Cowboys, Marshall and Engram might as well have stayed in East Rutherford given how infrequently they were used during the game.

Marshall caught one of four pass targets for 10 yards, and his quarterback, Eli Manning, didn't even look his way during the team's only red-zone appearance.

Engram, who was mostly kept in-line to block, caught four out for five pass targets for 44 yards, with none of those completions occurring in the seam, a route Engram showed he could exploit this summer and in college at Ole Miss.

The absence of Marshall, who was thought to be in line for additional snaps given Odell Beckham Jr.'s absence, is particularly curious.

"I think it was a product of a lot of things," said head coach Ben McAdoo during his Monday conference call with reporters. "There may have been times where you're trying to get him the ball, but couldn't get it to him for one reason or another. It could've been where he was lined up in the progression, based on the coverage we were seeing.

"It's not just one factor, you can't just point to one thing. It was a variety of things. We certainly want Brandon to get a touch earlier than he got a touch."

Even more curious was that the Giants didn't deploy Engram to break up the Cover-2 coverage deployed by the Cowboys at times Sunday night. It was widely thought that when Engram was drafted in the first round, he would help discourage teams from doubling down on the receivers, so his absence in fulfilling that role led some to question whether the rookie was ready to take on that aspect of the game.

"It wasn't that simple," McAdoo said. "It wasn't just Cover 2. There were a variety of coverages being played. There was a form of quarters, there was some sky weak being played, there was two being played as well, but yeah, it's novice to say that it was just a bunch of Cover 2 (Sunday).

"(Dallas was) playing soft and they were playing to keep the ball in front and to make you take completions and move the ball slow and methodically down the field."

With all that said, McAdoo doesn't seem to be panicking about not being able to fully deploy the new talent he was given this offseason to the team's advantage.

"A lot goes into every game in this league and this just happened to be the first one. It didn't go the way we wanted it to. Didn't go the way we planned, but we need to understand it's one of 16 and we're blessed with a long week this week and we have to find a way to get better going into Week 2."

Updated September 11, 2017

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