Giants’ center wants to take on more responsibility in 2024 as the focal point of the O-Line

Dec 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz is relishing in an important opportunity before him for the 2024 NFL season.

As Paul Schwartz of the New York Post shared, Schmitz recently basked in his chance to lead the Giants’ offensive line through adversity, something they’ll desperately need in 2024. Schmitz said this, in part:

“I think the biggest thing for me, when times are tough, you really know who a true leader is,’’ Schmitz said earlier this offseason. “When you hit adversity, you hit a tough time. All the guys look to someone, and I want to be that for our room and take charge.’’

John Michael Schmitz is ready to lead the Giants out of the sacks abyss in 2024

Dec 31, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota product has a tall task to tackle. The Giants led the NFL with 85 sacks allowed last season. Had it not been for the Philadelphia Eagles’ 104 sacks allowed in 1986, the 2023 Giants would hold the NFL single-season record in that department.

To add salt to the gaping wound, the Giants saw injuries to starting quarterback Daniel Jones, whose 2023 campaign ended with a torn ACL in Week 9, and backup QB Tyrod Taylor, who was sidelined with a rib injury sustained against the New York Jets on Oct. 29. The Giants’ offensive line didn’t give their quarterbacks time to breathe on the field in any sense of the word.

Schmitz has film from 2023 to correct & a focused approach to improve for next season

New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Though Schmitz has received rave remarks from teammates like John Runyan Jr., who likened the maturity of the soon-to-be second-year offensive lineman to a five-year veteran, he was partly culpable for the Giants’ woes behind, at, and slightly past the line of scrimmage. The Illinois native earned a subpar 41.4 player grade from Pro Football Focus for committing four penalties and allowing five of the Giants’ 85 sacks on the previous campaign.

Schmitz will need to be more disciplined with his timing and footwork, the latter of which he harped on as a point of focus he’s zeroed in on in practice this spring. Should his maturity and leadership skills coincide with him cleaning up the holes in his technical skills, the Giants will have a much better shot of picking up serious yardage in their offensive game.

Schmitz is excited to play alongside his O-Line teammates next season

New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) warms up with New York Giants guard Marcus McKethan (60) before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The 25-year-old is looking forward to bonding with his offensive line and developing chemistry with its new and returning members, including this comment about the unit:

“We made great additions to the O-line room,’’ Schmitz said. “I’m very excited to have those guys here.”

The former No. 58 overall pick in 2023 has eyes on him to produce in 2024. His teammates are confident in him. Schmitz is confident in himself. New York has the makings of a competent center brewing ahead of next season.

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