The New York Giants have had some incredibly suspect offensive lines in the last two seasons, but the promise we saw from Shane Lemieux during his rookie season should get him excused from any slander sessions. The former Oregon guard was a rock-solid run-blocker in his first season.
Lemieux’s 2021 campaign was a wash after being placed on injured reserve almost immediately. 2022 promised to be much better, as Lemieux was the projected starter at left guard for a new-look line that added Evan Neal in the draft as well as Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski in free agency.
Unfortunately, the injury bug that has been plaguing the Giants throughout minicamp has started to bite key offensive starters. Just a few weeks after losing an intriguing rookie in Marcus McKethan for the entire season, Lemieux could be on the mend for a while.
Head coach Brian Daboll said that Lemieux is unlikely to play in the Week 1 opener against the Tennessee Titans and may not be in the lineup “anytime soon.” The Giants have put a ton of offseason resources into improving the offensive line, but the injury gods appear to be taking chunks out.
The only way Daniel Jones is going to be a viable quarterback in Daboll’s offense is with excellent protection around him. Losing Lemieux for a long time two years in a row is going to sting.
The Giants might lose Shane Lemieux for some time.
Lemieux may have struggled as a pass protector during his rookie season, but the fact that a fifth-round pick was able to step right in and make himself known as a run protector stands out as an impressive feather in his cap. Daboll would have had him performing better than Judge.
The most logical choice to replace Lemieux is Joshua Ezeudu, a third-round rookie from North Carolina who himself has had injury troubles in the preseason. While still a very raw player, the physical tools we’ve seen from him in his college career are quite intriguing.
If Ezeudu is unable to suit up, look for either Max Garcia or Ben Bredeson to slide over to left guard and earn the start. There’s a small chance that Lemieux’s replacement isn’t even on the roster, as Joe Schoen would be well within his rights to make a late trade for a starter.
The Giants will be trying to improve upon last year’s disaster, but this is still a young team learning the ropes at the end of the day. Helping Lemieux take that next step forward would have been a worthwhile goal to pursue, but accomplishing that might take longer than expected.