The configuration of the 2020 NY Giants offensive line has been a hot topic this offseason, and head coach Joe Judge let something slip on Monday.
All season long since the NY Giants drafted offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the #4 overall pick, a major topic of conversation has been what the final starting configuration of the offensive line will look like when the regular season finally comes around.
Initially, Nate Solder choosing to opt-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns seemed to make the situation less cloudy, but one could actually make the argument that it put everything even more up in the air.
While Andrew Thomas will be playing left tackle – which he should have been whether Solder was going to be on the 2020 team or not – there are still multiple moving parts that need to be settled.
It’s not going to be easy for new offensive line coach Marc Colombo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to deal with this situation under the circumstances they’ve been dealt, but on Monday, head coach Joe Judge let a major detail slip.
It wasn’t enough for versatile offensive lineman Nick Gates to be able to play both guard and tackle, as the third-year pro who recently signed a contract extension has been working extensively at the center position and by all accounts, he’s been holding his own.
So, that takes the most likely candidate for right tackle likely out of the equation, so who does Joe Judge trust the most to man the right tackle position should Gates continue to flourish at center?
NY Giants coach going with familiarity
Before Cameron Fleming signed on with the Dallas Cowboys to become their “swing” lineman (6th lineman), he spent his years under his rookie contract with the New England Patriots where Joe Judge happened to be coaching.
Although Fleming struggled in his first real call to action in 2015 when he started seven games in his second season, Fleming ended up proving his worth as the Patriots “swing” tackle or first man off the bench, putting together two back-to-back solid seasons.
Joe Judge has not forgotten that valuable experience Fleming gained in the Patriots system and he still trusts the now veteran offensive tackle.
Strong words. It’s easy to see why Judge would want a calming presence on the right side of his offensive line due to the fact that every other player on the line will be playing under a rookie contract besides veteran guard Kevin Zeitler.
Over the span of the 2016-2017 seasons with the Patriots, Fleming earned Pro Football Focus pass blocking grades of 75.8 and 76.4, showing he is more than capable of holding down the fort on the right side.
In fact, in 2016 he didn’t even allow a single sack and made just one penalty over five starts and more game action besides that.
For the 2020 NY Giants, starting Fleming who is familiar with just about the entire coaching staff seems like the prudent move to make while rookie mid-round pick, Matt Peart, is groomed behind the scenes as he attempts to make the big leap from The University of Connecticut to the NFL.
As the season goes along, maybe Big Blue will be out of it by midseason like they have been the past few years and Judge and company can take a look at whether they want to insert the youngster so he can learn on the job.
Until then, if today’s quotes are any indication, Joe Judge is going to attempt to put the team’s best foot forward and worry about rebuilding later when it comes to the offensive line.