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New York Giants’ Offensive Line: Will They Gel in Time?

August 25th, 2012 at 10:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

Within a few preseason games, it remains clear that work needs to be done on the line. Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty again has a bit of shifting and age on the line to contend with. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse or a reason why this line isn’t more of a cohesive unit. They are pretty much the same core of guys and the system has been a constant since 2007.

Due to injury and questionable length of time out, the latest list of starters has been: Left tackle Sean Locklear (as tackle Will Beatty’s back apparently remains an issue), left guard Kevin Boothe, center David Baas, right guard Chris Snee, and right tackle David Diehl. This roster of lineman should be more than capable as their resume is above average and their collective time on the field is over 40 years. Three of these guys have played only in blue since Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride has been given his title and have started 171 games (combined) since. So what’s the problem?

Honestly, there isn’t that much of a problem with the five up front. Taking a closer look, it’s been in their ancillary help. The tight ends have again turned over as have running backs. Folks tend to underestimate the secondary assignments of these position players as the backs usually, umm, carry the rock and the ends split wide/flank to go out for a pass. Understandable, but when a bit of the aforementioned cohesion is that of TEs new to the system and RBs that chip-block (Bradshaw/Ware) rather than create a wall (like former Giants RB Brandon Jacobs), that block isn’t going to be as solid. In fact, consider it brief and very temporary. Quarterback Eli Manning has gotten so much better on his timing with his primary receivers that getting the ball out quick has become part of the play-calling against certain teams and defenses. It’s still the run game that needs attention – especially when defenders stack the line.

Going back to the topic of that supplementary help. In the run game, TE Bear Pascoe isn’t getting the same leverage on his defenders since he practiced more on his receiving skills with the 1’s. Fan favorite FB Henry Hynoski has those “Hynocerous” times that we hope will increase, but he still has those times where he seems to hit a barricade instead of pave the way for his fellow back. Newcomer Martellus Bennett has shown why General Manager Jerry Reese ignored all slights [towards Bennett] that were coming from Dallas (hey, they said the same of Canty too, remember?). He most definitely knows how to block, but can’t do it all. The other running backs and tight ends aren’t nearly as proficient in on-the-line or up front blocking. Using wideouts on the line (WR Domenik Hixon was in there for the preseason game versus the New York Jets) hasn’t helped either (needless to say it irks some fans for fear of injury there). 

Here’s a thought: why couldn’t they call more “eligible” linemen – like a Mitch Petrus or (standby and open your mind some) use one of these extra linebackers or defensive linemen on the other side of scrimmage? Crazier things have been done in the Big Blue past when some players took snaps on all three sides of the ball. Hey, it was a fleeting thought. 

Fine, wait for some of these newer guys to come in and help the line as they get stronger and gel more. Jokes aside, it will happen. Actually, things in fact are not as bad on this line as some are making it out to be. As with the defense last year: they’re all fixable and teachable elements to the youth that’s there – it’s just a matter of repetition and health.

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

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Tags: Bear Pascoe, Chris Snee, David Baas, David Diehl, Football, Henry Hynoski, Kevin Boothe, Kevin Gilbride, Martellus Bennett, Mitch Petrus, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Pat Flaherty, Sean Locklear

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17 Responses to “New York Giants’ Offensive Line: Will They Gel in Time?”

  1.  Krow says:

    After reading the Bears forum I’m much more optimistic about our OL.

  2.  norm says:

    Repost:

    norm says:
    August 25, 2012 at 10:34 AM
    Anyone who persists in making the claim that the Giants have the worst O-line in the NFL must have left the room every time da Bears had da ball in the first half.

    The Giants did not even have the worst starting O-line in Met Life stadium last night.

    As for this idea that Reese has to start throwing high draft picks at the OL, tout suite – I have two words: “Gabe Carimi.” The Bears first round pick from last year (who I recall many here liking coming out of Wisconsin) looked – dare I say it? – scarcely better than James Brewer; overmatched against the Giants defense (even one sans JPP and Boley)

    In a lengthy post yesterday, I put forth some speculation that the overall quality of athletes coming out of school along the O-line may well have deteriorated recently. If there is any truth to that, then Reese will continue to wait until the mid to later rounds to draft them. He only uses high draft picks on premium athletes – and not the relatively unathletic Gabe Carimi types.

  3.  Dirt says:

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills with some of these post game posts!

    A HOF OL says the OL played well, Eli is virtually untouched and should have been 19-21 save for 2 drops, the only back on the team with actual talent dominates, and the OL is screwed?

    Prince breaks a bone last year and has his ankle rolled up un last night and he’s a bust/sally (part of a 13-PPG championship defense down the stretch after his return last year notwithstanding)?

    I’m gonna go enjoy some sunshine whilst some look for ways to hate on a domination of one of the best teams in the league in the dress rehearsal for the season.

  4.  Third-and-5 says:

    Only really concerned with Beatty’s health.

  5.  norm says:

    “Prince breaks a bone last year and has his ankle rolled up un last night and he’s a bust/sally (part of a 13-PPG championship defense down the stretch after his return last year notwithstanding)?”

    Times such as this I find it useful to remind myself that football is just another form or entertainment.

    And, like it or not, one part of that entertainment experience has always been to single out a player (or coach) as an object of derision and spend some of your idle time bashing him when gathered together with your fellow fans.

    In the old days, these exchanges often took place while seated in a bar. Nowadays, they mostly occur on internet forums such as this one.

    I have Pascoe. And Killdrive. Dirt has Hixon. And Killdrive. kujo has an entire unit. And Flaherty. I could go on – but I think the point has been sufficiently made.

    Seems that a herd of not insignificant number has chosen Prince Amukamara as its target of choice.

    Fair enough. As part of the whole fan entertainment experience, any and all brickbats hurled in Prince’s direction are completely legit.

    But until the content of those brickbats is made up of something more insightful than the usual “he’s a p*ssy”; or “he’s soft and mentally weak”; or simply, “he sucks!” – well, they are useless as a form of cogent analysis.

  6.  Luv2Salsa says:

    Repost:

    I don’t think Douglas has automatically made the team based on last night’s PR success. He and Barden were matched head to head for the #6 WR spot. Barden won. Had Douglas broken a couple for some nice yardage, he might have helped his cause some. But I just can’t see 7 WR’s on this team. Not at the expense of better players elsewhere on the roster.

    For those upset over Carr’s performance, please come in off the ledge. He’d play much better with #1 practice reps, if needed.

    I always wanted to see Brown play behind the #1 line. Now I have. He’s too slow to displace Scott. And probably too dumb to unseat Ware. So best of luck on the waiver wire.

    As for the running back depth chart, throw away all preconceived notions of traditional #1 and #2 running backs. Start thinking 1a and 1b. Wilson isn’t ready to step into the traditional #2 role. The Giant’s weren’t running their regular offense while he was in the game. He was not asked to block on pass plays. Ware or Brown came in for the patented down the field stuff. Wilson is dynamic and is a playmaker and he isn’t going to be relegated to #2 or #3 practice reps. He will be featured each week in plays that maximizes what he does best and minimizes what he is still learning.

    •  norm says:

      I’m hardly on the ledge re: Carr.

      As long as Iron Man remains the Giants QB, I would not care if they went out and signed Jim Sorgi to be the backup QB (oh, wait…)

      Obviously, if #10 is lost for the year, we’re looking at a high draft pick anyways. So the only real question to be asked of Carr – or anyone else – is whether he can hold down the fort for a handful of games, if need be.

      I don’t believe he can. I think Carr is just too skittish; too shell shocked from his years in Houston to play effectively unless he has near-perfect line play in front of him. And even at its best, the Giants #1 O-line is far from near perfect.

      The backups looked horrid last night – but methinks Carr made them appear much worse than they were. He continues to show no pocket presence or awareness.There were a few plays in which the backups managed to hold the pocket – albeit briefly – only to have Carr abandon ship well before it collapsed.

      To his credit, he has proven himself quite adept at carrying a clipboard. And that’s pretty much been the job description of the Giants #2 QB of late. So I guess he’s still good enough to be Eli’s backup.

      •  Luv2Salsa says:

        All true. But he played well in the first pre-season game, as I recall. So what has changed since then? Oh yeah, they broke camp and started gameplanning like a normal work week.

        And the same can likely be said of many camp hopefulls. They looked better when they were getting more work.

  7.  BillyS says:

    Locklear may not has been the greatest last night, but he was facing Julius Peppers. I’ll give him a pass on that one because Peppers is one of the best DE’s in the game. Other guys didn’t even look good against 2nd or 3rd units. I’m done with Petrus.

    •  Luv2Salsa says:

      Okay, everybody on this board wants to throw Petrus under the bus. Who do we keep in his place?

      Capers? White? Goodwin? Please.

      Maybe Petrus will never be starting caliber but he is presently a serviceable backup. With a starter on either side his play would be much better.

  8.  Krow says:

    OK, facts it is. Prince was the 19th pick in the draft that year. Many considered him THE best DB of the class.

    2011

    Holds out. Last #1 pick to sign.
    Gets to camp a week late and promptly breaks foot in first practice.
    Rehabs almost the entire year, but heals up in time to be part of sub-coverage packages in our Superbowl run.
    Play is spotty, but does show some improvement.

    2012

    Unspectacular camp.
    Plays against the Jags and is beaten like a cheap drum.
    Plays credible against over-matched Jets.
    Collapses like a folding chair while making a routine tackle against the Bears and is carted off.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Prince … but his production is virtually zero. Maybe it’s confidence … maybe he’s just one of those guys who take a while to adjust to the NFL. The jury is still out, and I don’t feel that anyone is writing him off. But if he was a UDFA he’d be struggling to avoid IR right now. And that’s a damning thing to say about a mid-first round pick. So I totally get why people are angry and frustrated with him.

    Here’s the company he’s in … as our first selection …

    David Wilson
    * Prince *
    JPP
    Hakeem Nicks
    Kenny Phillips
    Aaron Ross
    Kiwi
    C-Web
    Eli

    Bottom line … he should be playing a lot better.

    •  Luv2Salsa says:

      Yes he should.

      This is one of the reasons why the Giants like to bring their #1 picks along slowly. Early “frustrations” can mess with a kid’s head. It’s easier to slowly build on prior successes than to suddenly snap him out of it.

      But the cure is the same, even at this late date. Make a play. Have a good series. A good quarter.. Half.. Game.. Season.. Career.

      Prince will be the target of many a gunslinger looking to put another notch in their belt this season. He’ll either step it up or be benched for Coe.

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