John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Wow. Talk about talking heads not doing their homework or due diligence. All I’m hearing these days is how bad the Giants’ offensive line is. Ridiculous.
Last year, the Giants’ offensive line was depleted and hobbled by injuries. David Baas was finished. So was Chris Snee. David Diehl was on his way out, too. To add to the misery, LT Will Beatty had a rough season and RT Justin Pugh was just a rookie trying to stay afloat.
That was last year. They knew they needed to address the offensive line this past offseason, and they have.
This season, the Giants are sticking with Beatty and Pugh at tackle, but have imported new players to man the middle of the line.
Geoff Schwartz, a guard who has been an integral piece to teams that led the league the rushing the past three seasons (Kansas City, Minnesota and Carolina). Unfortunately, the Giants will be without Schwartz indefinitely with a dislocated toe.
In his absence, rookie Weston Richburg, one of the top C/G prospects in this past April’s draft, will man the LG spot.
JD Walton, 27, a veteran who started 36 consecutive games for the Broncos from 2010-12 before dislocating his knee, is the team’s new center. It’s taken nearly two years for Walton to round back into form, but he has, and in a big way.
At RG, Brandon Mosley, who has incrementally – if not dramatically – improved over the past year, has graduated to the starting lineup. Mosley has played well this preseason.
In addition, the club added veterans Charles Brown and John Jerry. Both are experienced linemen. Brown was a second round pick of the Saints out of USC in 2010 and was their LT for much of the 2013 season. Jerry started all 32 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2012 and 2013.
This preseason, the line has played well. The Giants averaged 4.1 yards per carry on the ground, but the three RBs that made the roster all fared much better than that average: Rashad Jennings (6.1). Andre Williams (5.2) and Peyton Hillis (4.2). I may be naive, but I believe the blocking of the offensive line had a lot to do with those numbers being so healthy.
In addition, Giants’ QBs were sacked only seven times over the five preseason games. Over a 16-game span, that equates to 22 sacks which would qualify for second-best in the league in 2013. Denver allowed only 20 sacks last year. The Giants allowed 40. At this rate, they’d improve by 50% in that category.
Last year, QB Eli Manning had little protection/help on the offense and turned in his worst season as a pro. This year, conditions around him have improved, so now it’s all on him.
So, you’ll excuse me if I ask you to stop blaming the offensive line for the Giants’ problems and start focusing on Eli’s his poor decision-making and lousy timing/accuracy. The emperor has no clothes. The OL will block for the running game and protect the QB better this season. It’s up to the skill players to do the rest.