Most New York Giants fans can attest that their main concern over the last few years is the team’s offensive line. Over the last several offseasons, the team has time and time again overlooked the offensive line in favor of another position. It wasn’t until the 2013 offseason did the Giants begin to take serious action with this concern. They drafted Justin Pugh with their No. 1 pick, receiving praise from fans and critics alike; with Pugh starting all 16 games last year it was an indication that this tackle from Syracuse could be a durable force in the future.
The team also picked up center Eric Herman from Ohio in the seventh round. The Giants again turned to some offensive lineman help in free agency this offseason too with the signing of Kansas City Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz and Denver Broncos center J.D. Walton. And in the draft they selected Weston Richburg from Colorado State in the second round.
Despite these moves, many Giants fans hold their breath as they awaited the diagnosis on Geoff Schwartz’s foot injury from Friday’s game against the New York Jets. The initial diagnosis: dislocated toe and an absence from the Giants roster for at least the first month of the season.
There is no doubt that this has disappointed many fans. However, the Giants can take a closer look at their talent pool and see who has made the grade this preseason and is capable of stepping up in that vacant offensive line spot.
One honorable mention this preseason is guard Brandon Mosley, the Giants’ third-year lineman taken in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. He has shown flashes of brilliance this preseason and has even started some preseason games at right guard with Schwartz on the left. Needless to say, the line has been shaky with giving quarterback Eli Manning time to throw and one too many times this preseason have we seen Eli running for his life. Mosley can’t be excused from the blame for that, but his blocking on running plays has gotten better.
It’s hard to judge which five will be faced with the daunting task of going up against Ndamukong Suh and the Detroit Lions defense on opening night until the Giants make their first batch of cuts, which will be coming early next week. We can point fingers all day and blame individual lineman for not performing well, but we have to remember that at the offensive lineman position, it is the least solitary out of all other positions. A lineman must work with their five man crew in order to get their plays down pat. Ergo, an individual effort is just as good as a team effort when it comes to the O-line.
Manning, Ryan Nassib and Curtis Painter have been getting hit from all over so far in these games, but that’s the growing pain the Giants’ offense must work on as a result of having a team chock full offensive linemen wearing a blue uniform for only a few years. And with a new offensive system, it makes the situation a bit more concerning all around.
But we must remember, like it or not these men are professionals. If they decide not to put in a team effort to get better, then this is not the right profession for them. And the one strength the Giants do have is knowing who are the professionals and who are not. That will indeed show on cut day later on next week.
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