1. Zero guarantee the offensive line gets better
The Giants have had a bit of a revolving door when it comes to who has coached the offensive line group. Going back to the Tom Coughlin era, he had Pat Flaherty, who was regarded as one of the better coaches they had for the unit. Mike Solari was then the offensive line coach under Ben McAdoo and for Steve Spagnuolo’s interim term. Then there was Hal Hunter for Pat Shurmur’s two-year stint.
Marc Colombo was briefly the offensive line coach during the 2020 season until he had an issue with Joe Judge and was fired midseason. Dave DeGugliemo was brought in to finish the season before he departed for his next venture. Rob Sale was the final line coach under Judge before he left and Judge was dismissed.
That leaves Johnson, who coached the unit for the last two years and the line was ranked near the bottom of the league before Bricillo was hired. The Giants offensive line has seen a lot of coaches come and go to coach the OL. Over the last 10 years, the one unfortunate constant has been low rankings for the units.
The highest ranked unit over the last 10 years was in 2019 when they were 17th best. The rest of the units were in the mid-to-low 20s or in the 30s. With Barkley on board, he’s had poorly played units in front of him, yet, he’s still produced tremendous results that have made many consider him to be a top-tier back in the league.
Even with the arrival of Bricillo, there is no guarantee of an improved line. Would the Giants want to risk not having their best skill player back again with no guarantee of improvement for the OL? There’s no guarantee any running back can step in and do what Barkley has done since his debut. Even when the Giants were without Barkley for the three weeks in 2023, the running game was almost non-existent.
Matt Breida wasn’t good enough, nor was Gary Brightwell. Eric Gray, the Giants fifth-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, looked like he needed much more work. For the “running backs are a dime a dozen” crowd, they really aren’t. Having Saquon makes the Giants a better team and he gives them a better chance to win. He’s the one constant and guarantee on a team that hasn’t had many of them on offense.