PHOENIX — You knew what you were getting from the Giants on offense in 2016. They put three receivers on the field more often than any team in the NFL, with Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Sterling Shepard logging nearly every snap and Victor Cruz, or another wide receiver, right behind.
This is called “11 personnel’’ — three receivers, one tight end, one running back — and the over-reliance on this package was one reason why the Giants finished 26th in the NFL in scoring and 29th in rushing offense.
“Ideally you’d like to have more personnel groups, yes,’’ coach Ben McAdoo said this week at the NFL owners meetings. “That’s the way it shook out. Moving forward, we’ll see how it goes.’’
There is no doubt how this will go for the Giants on 2017. They will use their three-receiver package less frequently for a simple reason: They now believe they have the versatility they need to become more diverse.
Last season, McAdoo went without a fullback on the roster, with Will Johnson and Nikita Whitlock both injured. A replacement never was found, so the Giants scrapped the position from their playbook. What easily could have been explained away as stubbornness by the first-year head coach — and there might have been some of that as he stuck with what was not working — was more the lack of better options.
“It adds an element any time you have a fullback type in the backfield, it adds an element or physicality that’s tough to replace when you don’t have it,’’ McAdoo said. “Just didn’t work out last year, it’s not by design. I hear I don’t want to have a fullback on the roster, that’s news to me.’’
Last season, the Giants did not have a legitimate blocking tight end, so they figured there was not much sense using packages with two tight ends. This is why in free agency they signed Rhett Ellison from the Vikings. He is primarily a blocking tight end and can line up at fullback.
“Rhett is a great kid, number…