New York Giants Must Fix Offensive Line


If the New York Giants fail to improve their offensive line play in 2015, the inability to establish a run game will doom them to a third straight losing season ultimately leading to a full roster re-boot. Despite ranking 10th in the league in rush attempts, the G-Men finished 23rd in the NFL with 100.2 yards per game and a pathetic 28th in the NFL with 3.6 yards per carry.

Head coach Tom Coughlin has counted on a balanced attack during his time in the Big Apple and with the lack of a run game that balance is non-existent. Without the run game, the offense becomes one dimensional and opposing defenses will dictate what the offense can do.

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Despite the fact that the Giants had the 7th ranked passing attack in terms of yards and the 9th ranked attack in terms of touchdowns, they still finished four games under .500 and were out of the playoff hunt by mid-November. 

The absence of the running game was most evident last season when they couldn’t convert short yardage situations. Remember their game last season against the San Francisco 49ers? Four yards away from taking a late lead, the Giants were 1st and goal from the San Francisco 4 yard line. On four consecutive plays, the Giants opted not to run the ball and instead threw three consecutive failed fade routes before the fourth pass of the series was tipped and subsequently picked off.

The re-emergence of a run game will do wonders for a defense that is on the field for too long due to the offenses’ lack of ability to maintain drives and eat game clock. This kept the opposing defenses fresher and tired out Big Blue’s D. The defense looked noticeably worn down in blown 4th quarter leads against the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys (twice), Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars (yeah, seriously!), and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The ability to maintain drives and eat game clock would have netted the Giants a win in at least two of those games. Perhaps last season would have been drastically different if the offensive line were able to come together earlier instead of later.

With the 2015 NFL Draft fast approaching, the G-Men could choose to use their first round pick (No. 9) on an offensive linemen. If they do so, I believe there are four linemen worthy of that pick. Brandon Scherff out of Iowa is the most pro-ready linemen in this year’s draft class. He has excellent size and versatility to play both guard or tackle in the NFL.

Miami’s Ereck Flowers, LSU’s La’el Collins and Stanford’s Andrus Peat also look to be NFL ready, but project to the tackle position and seem to lack the versatility of Scherff. If they choose to draft another position with the No. 9 pick, the Giants could look towards Duke’s Laken Tomlinson, A.J Cann from South Carolina, Tre’ Jackson of Florida State, or even Ali Marpet out of D3 Hobart as mid-round draft picks to help bolster their offensive line.

There are also several free agents remaining that could bolster the trenches for Big Blue as well. Ex-St. Louis Ram’s tackle Joe Barksdale, who graded out as the league’s 11th-best run-blocking tackle in 2014, started all 16 games last season and could add some serious run blocking ability to the line. He could start on the outside, sliding Justin Pugh inside to guard and instantly upgrade the unit.

Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (72) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Blalock formerly of the Atlanta Falcons is still available. He could come in and start at right guard immediately. Blalock has proven to be an extremely durable player throughout his career missing just three games since entering the league in 2007.

A stalwart with the New England Patriots since 2009, Dan Connolly has experience at both guard spots and even center. Connolly has seen action in 12 postseason games as well as two Super Bowls. His talent and experience could go a long way to rebuild a dominant offensive front for the Giants. Like Blalock, Connolly would be an immediate starter over the incumbent John Jerry.

Overall, the Giants are a couple linemen away from solving their problem in the offensive trenches and fixing a weakness that has dragged them down for the past two seasons. The Giants need to fix their offensive line if they are to have any major success come next season and beyond.

Next: New York Giants: Decision By Stevie Brown Coming Soon?

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