I opened a fortune cookie last night after dinner, and my fortune read: “there is no education like adversity.” I chuckled and said “yeah, no kidding” in my head. But as I pondered why they put the lucky numbers on these supposed fortunes, I realized that the saying is very true. There really is no education like adversity. As a matter of fact, that could have been the bumper sticker for the Giants entire 2013 season. I thought about what I learned in 2013 — Eli is not invincible, David Wilson is as fast as he is fragile, and that nothing happens without an offensive line. The line was a huge disappointment in 2013; the result of a number of injuries and some really bad play from some of the veterans of the group. Now it’s time to pick up the pieces. So let’s quickly review the O-line as it stands today.
After an 11 year career T/G David Diehl decided to retire. This comes as a little bit of a surprise, however, Diehl’s play had clearly fallen flat in the past two seasons. He hangs up the cleats after 161 starts, all with the G-men, and one Pro Bowl appearance in 2009. The true difficulty was that in spite of his declining performance, he was still more effective than some of the other members of the line. C David Bass only played four games last season and is expected to take a pay cut in order to remain with the Giants. If he refuses, word is Jerry Reese won’t hesitate to let him hit the market. When Bass went down it was Jim Cordles’ turn — a restricted free agent who graded out in the bottom 10% for centers before suffering a season ending partially torn left patella. That opened the door for now unrestricted free agent Kevin Boothe to play C. He signed a one-year deal in March of 2013 with the G-men and also graded out poorly in 2013, but he was a capable replacement as a third string C.
This left James Brewer and Will Beatty to control the right side. That is, after Chris Snee got injured in week 3. Snee has his own issues. He is responsible for a ridiculous 11.75 million cap hit. Coach Coughlin’s son in law is going to have to sacrifice some of that money, as his play fell off a cliff before his season came to an abrupt end. The Giants had just drafted Justin Pugh and had no intentions of having to start him on the left side in his second season. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned when it comes to NFL roster shaping.
Examining the situation, it doesn’t look good for the Giants. The line collectively lost a step last season. They are old, short on numbers and even shorter on talent.