“Remember when you point a finger three are pointing back at you” – Mark Schlereth
Undervalued, underrated, underestimated are all ways to describe how real football fans feel about the guys with their knuckles in the grass. If you know football, you know that an offense is only as good as the line it sends out there. With an anemic, porous line, your ball carriers get gobbled up on the run, and the quarterback is overwhelmed on the pass. As long as you have an explosive offense, it is easy to get obsessed with the QB, RB’s, and WR’s and attribute most of their success to those great talents. The truth is that those players might as well be rendered inconsequential without the steady help that they get from their O-lines. It is absolutely an undervalued, thankless job to be an O-lineman in the NFL.
Imagine lining up as a running back or a wide receiver in the NFL. You yearn for the gratification that you could receive on this next play. The opportunity that you have on almost every snap to hit that hole that springs you sixty, or to break that tackle in the flats to take it to the house is a feeling that keeps you motivated every time you break from the huddle. The attitude of a guard, center, or tackle is a much more pathological one. These warriors line up with one purpose: to maim, pound, and embarrass the opponent in front of them. To open up a hole big enough so that it enables another guy to get on Sportscenter – to pancake a guy on a screen so that a teammate 1/3 his size can dart past and get himself another TD. These guys pride themselves on jelling together to form a pocket just tight enough so that a guy named the “field general” can bomb it downfield for a TD and then get a phone call on the sidelines to tell him what a good job he is doing. Recognition is not a part of the blueprint for a lineman. Maybe they get shown on TV once or twice, sitting together, going over their non-verbal cues or looking over photos of the defense in order to achieve as close to a synchronized performance as possible. I can’t imagine any other reason for motivation other than a pathological, nasty one.
For the past few years, the New York Giants have had five of the best in the business filling this role. David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O’Hara, Chris Snee, and Karem McKenzie have formed the most consistent line in football over the past four seasons. So let’s give some love to our boys in Blue who have made our terrific running game possible:
2005: Sixth in the NFL with 2,209 yards – 138.1 yards per game
2006: Seventh in the NFL with 2,156 yards – 134.8 yards per game
2007: Fourth in the NFL with 2,148 yards – 134.3 yards per game
2008: First in the NFL with 1,520 yards – 168.9 yards per game (through week 10)
The Giants Offensive Line – Players, stats, and noteworthy material:
David Diehl – 160th Overall Pick in 2003
- Started 86 out of 86 games in his Giants career.
- 1 out of 93 NFL players to start every game since 2003
- First since 1978 to start all games in his first 5 years.
- Played right guard, right tackle, left guard, and left tackle
- Never has missed a practice
Rich Seubert – Signed by NYG as Rookie FA in 2001
- Second longest tenured Giant (A. Toomer)
- 48 starts out of 65 games
- Has played special teams, left tackle, left guard, center, right tackle, and a second TE
- Suffered severe leg fracture in 2003 which forced him to miss the rest of that season and all of 2004. Seubert returned in 2005
- Was ruled the “ineligible receiver” in the controversial last play in the San Fran meltdown of 2002
- Became a fan favorite by having to be formally announced as “No. 69 has reported as an eligible receiver”. This happens about 20 times a game when he is used in that capacity
Shaun O’Hara – Signed (Cleveland) as undrafted FA in 2000. Signed by NYG in 2004
- Started 103 out of 119 games
- Has started 93 the last 93 games in which he’s played
- Has played special teams, left guard, center, right guard, tackle, second TE
- One of the team captains
- Considered a Prowl Bowl shoe-in for 2008
Chris Snee – 34th Overall Pick in 2004
- Started all 65 games in which he has played for the Giants
- 48 consecutive regular season starts – third longest streak behind David Diehl (80) and Eli Manning (55)
- Has only played right guard
- Selected last year as an second alternate to the NFC Pro Bowl squad
- Is married to the offspring of Coughlin – that’s a tough first date to ask for
- Was an all-state defensive player in high school recording 43 sacks in 3 years (101 tackles in senior year)
- Considered a Prowl Bowl shoe-in for 2008
Kareem McKenzie – 79th Overall Pick in 2001 (Jets). Signed by NYG in 2005
- Has started in 103 of the 111 games in which he has played
- In first 3 seasons with the Jints, KM started all 45 regular season games
- Has played right tackle, second TE
- Has blocked for two separate 24,000 yard running backs (Curtis Martin & Tiki Barber)
Looking at the above, the words versatility and consistency come to mind. These are reasons why I believe the Giants are the best offensive line in football. My top lines are
- New York Giants
- Tennessee Titans
- New England Patriots
- New Orleans Saints
- San Diego Chargers
- Indianapolis Colts
- Atlanta Falcons
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Minnesota Vikings
- Cleveland Browns
After the Browns, there is a drop-off in quality. Keeping with the recent past, the Giants O-line is spear-heading quite possibly the most prolific Giants running attack in their 83 year history. Through week 10, the production is as follows:
Brandon Jacobs: 806 yards, 9 TD’s
Derrick Ward: 490 yards, 1 TD
Ahmad Bradshaw: 205 yards, 1 TD
We are averaging nearly 167 rushing yards per game. At this pace, we are projected to finish with a total 2,668 yards. To give some perspective on that number, the 1978 Chiefs are in third place all time for most team rushing yards in one season with 2,986.
No need to expound on this. Without these guys, the Giants might be an afterthought in the 2008 season.
Notes: The new season of the internet sensation Goal Line Blitz is underway. We’ll continue our promotion of this site for two more (GLB – 80 days) seasons before we finally have a fully functional version of our own. So join up, get the feel for it and enjoy what many G101′ers call a “great and addictive game.” (This is the final day for this, so sign up, create a player and enjoy! Give it a few days before you bail, then send a review to Benton.)
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