Is the Giants’ Offensive Line Ready For Prime Time?

Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

There was no Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley against the Jets in the Giants’ preseason opener at MetLife Stadium Saturday night.

Instead, veteran backup quarterback Mike Glennon endured the hits of the Jets’ first-team defense’s assault as well as the rest of their backup units. 

Glennon and third-string quarterback Clayton Thurson both were harassed and hurried throughout the game for a total of five sacks, but that truly didn’t relate the whole story.

Instead, the Giants’ offensive line failed to show the chemistry general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge anticipated for the season.Remember, Gettleman stated that his O-Line was fixed and set after the drafting of left tackle Andrew Thomas and others last year. The Giants initially addressed every situation except the line in the offseason.

They did release veteran guard Kevin Zeitler — arguably their most consistent lineman — due to a cost-cutting move, and also cut ties with Cam Fleming, who did an admirable job at right tackle last year.

The future was placed in the hands of Thomas and fellow rookie guard Shane Lemieux and tackle Matt Peart along with inconsistent Will Hernandez and utilityman Nick Gates, who won the job at center. The youngsters need to grow, and Hernandez needs to regain his rookie form.

Lemieux is still battling a knee injury and replacement Kenny Wiggins looked like a turnstile against the Jets.

They struggled initially last season before they played an instrumental part in the team’s second-half surge.

Gettleman did bring in veterans ex-Cowboy center Joe Looney and  ex-Falcon guard Zach Fulton, and the unit appeared totally solidified. Fellow veteran tackle Nate Solder also returned after he sat out for COVID precautions last year.

But Looney and Fulton suddenly retired over the past few weeks, and Solder has yet to regain his touch. 

Gettleman recently added vet lineman and ex-Buc Ted Larsen for help at guard and center. However, Gettleman likely will be busy scouring the waiver wire for additional help after the final cuts.

One game will not this Giants’ line make, but  a red flag quickly surfaced after their putrid performance against the Jets’ first unit. 

An enhanced test will be this week when the Giants have shared practices with the Browns in Cleveland that will culminate with their game next weekend. The Browns are a bonafided contender, and their defensive line certainly will be a major challenge.

This likely will be more of a dress rehearsal with one less preseason game on the docket this season. Any repercussions from this game will sound the alarm.

The Giants’ defense looks to be a solid unit that should be in  the top half of the league. As a result, expectations for this team to win the NFC East or gain a wildcard will be elevated.

Jones will be back before Barkley, but the health of the duo is essential for this season to be a successful one. 

And the Giants’ offensive line will need to be the catalyst for it all to happen. 

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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