NY Giants offensive line will make or break Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants against Randy Gregory #94 and Donovan Wilson #37 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants against Randy Gregory #94 and Donovan Wilson #37 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

While the NY Giants gave Daniel Jones all kinds of weaponry at skill positions, it’ll ultimately be the offensive line that’ll determine his success in 2021.

The NY Giants did almost everything they could to ensure quarterback Daniel Jones can succeed in year three of his pro career.

It’s easiest to look at the splash moves, namely inking the best wide receiver on the free-agent market this offseason, Kenny Golladay, and no one would question general manager Dave Gettleman first trading down in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft and then grabbing Florida wideout  Kadarius Toney.

Tack on tight end Kyle Rudolph, and it’s easy to see why Jones won’t have anywhere near the number of excuses like he did a year ago.

All those moves are great, yes. They’ll certainly assist Jones a lot. Perhaps even helping him cut down on all those turnovers in one way or another.

But Jones’ success or failure in 2021 will ultimately fall upon the success of Big Blue’s offensive line.

NY Giants offensive line has serious questions in 2021

Some might argue a dead-last placement on Pro Football Focus‘ rankings of all 32 O-lines heading into the upcoming season isn’t anywhere close to correct (did they check out the Pittsburgh Steelers, by chance?).

But regardless, New York’s O-line comes in at No. 32 out of 32 teams, and the point here should essentially be that there are a lot of questions:

"Giants offensive linemen have combined to produce the fifth-worst overall grade in the league over the past two years, and they rank in the bottom eight in both pass blocking and run blocking. … The bottom line is that the Giants’ offensive line is a massive question mark. They need their young players to develop and their veterans to provide career years just to rank in the middle of the pack for 2021."

Veteran left tackle Nate Solder could potentially be a cap casualty after training camp, opening up the door for the younger Andrew Thomas to remain in that spot after Solder opted out in 2020. And head coach Joe Judge has pretty high expectations for fellow tackle Matt Peart this season.

But as PFF also pointed out, the interior of the NY Giants O-line is questionable, at best, with both guard spots probably in need of an upgrade in the foreseeable future.

Unless fans are thinking left guard Will Hernandez turns things around.

NY Giants’ O-line impact on Daniel Jones

Jones was sacked 45 times last year, fourth most in the league. And it doesn’t take an expert to figure out how too much pressure can completely derail a young quarterback’s development.

Combine that with the relative lack of weaponry around him, and perhaps Jones deserves a little bit of slack for what transpired last year.

But the bigger factor could be the overall pressure, not just the sacks, which is something NFL Films’ Greg Cosell told the Inside the Birds podcast (h/t Giants Wire):

"Jones was often under duress. And again, when I say under duress, I don’t mean there were free rushers, I mean he was often surrounded by bodies. And he was not particularly comfortable. He was an unsettled player and there were too many snaps in which he did not set and plant his back foot. He probably started to anticipate that he would get pressure and when you anticipate getting pressure, you start to play fast, physically, and you just don’t set."

Cosell also pointed out how the lack of pass protection forced the G-Men to use more tight end and running backs as blockers instead of putting them out there as receiving weapons, further limiting Jones’ options.

Interestingly enough, Jones was pressured on 30.3 percent of his dropbacks. That’s a lot, knowing approximately one pass attempt in three will result in him facing down some sort of pressure.

Jones’ passer rating under pressure was a lowly 55.7, per PFF, so one can see why New York’s offseason pass-catching additions will only do so much if the O-line doesn’t show some serious improvement in 2021.

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