Amid uncertainty on the offensive line, New York Giants offensive tackle James Brewer sees an opportunity to become a key asset to the teams' offense heading into the 2012 season. Although the 6'8"/ 331lb second year player out of Indiana did not see any game action last season, there will be opportunities for him to crack the rotation at both offensive tackle positions in 2012.
With the departure of Kareem McKenzie, Will Beatty's health concerns, along with David Diehl's deteriorating play, it is more than likely that James Brewer will see some significant playing time this year. While speaking to Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger, Beatty talked about how it felt to watch from the sideline for all of last season.
"To go from college where you're the man and you start and you get in the habit and routine of playing and then you come here and you take a backseat, it's humbling but then at the same time as a competitor you want to play. People are like, 'You went to the Super Bowl back home. How do you top that?' I was like, 'By playing it.' It's one thing to watch the Super Bowl. I could've been just a fan and had the same kind of experience." Brewer said.
Coming out of college, the team knew that Brewer would be a project. Although he was a productive player at Indiana, he has never displayed the quickness nor the pass blocking technique necessary to play at the NFL level. For his immense size, he has below average strength and relies too much on his figure to block pass rushers.
However, this season Brewer hopes to show that he is capable of not only improving his technique, but also showing his ability to play both right and left tackle positions. When asked if he thought switching back and forth between both spots would hurt his progress as a player, Beatty refuted the notion by stating the following:
"No, you got to be ready because guys get banged up. Will was banged up so they needed a guy to go to left and then when Diehl was gone with some personal stuff I was at right. So being able to step up and go with the ones at left or right, for me, was, one, a great opportunity and, two, I think it showed that they kind of trust in me to be the next guy possibly down the road to actually do that in case it happens during the season."
Although many experts believe that the Giants have serious concerns on the offensive line, it is important to remember that by in large, this is the same group of players that helped the team win a Super Bowl last season. With players like James Brewer having a full year to develop, the team will have some depth as well.
It is unlikely that James Brewer earns a starting spot out of training camp. However, if Will Beatty can not stay healthy, or if David Diehl proves to be an unreliable option at the age of 31, Brewer may get the call to take over starting duties at either tackle position in the middle of the season. He is painfully raw and inexperienced; however, he has the potential to be an outstanding left tackle, which are hard to come by these days. It will be interesting to keep tabs on his development as the season progresses.
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