Giants could be without another starting offensive tackle in Week 7

nfl: new york giants at san francisco 49ers, evan neal
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Giants brace themselves for Week 7, facing the Washington Commanders’ robust pass rush, their offensive line’s vulnerabilities have never been more apparent.

A Giants’ Patchwork Offensive Line

The Giants’ front has been nothing short of a patchwork quilt, with backups frequently stepping up as starters. This trend looks set to continue, especially with recent signee Justin Pugh projected to start at left tackle, an unfamiliar position considering his career history as a left guard.

Pugh was thrust into the left tackle spot during the Week 6 clash against the Buffalo Bills following Josh Ezeudu’s exit due to injury. Despite yielding two sacks and facing three pressures, Pugh’s performance wasn’t entirely negative, given his rapid adaptation to a new playbook and position shift.

The team eagerly anticipates Andrew Thomas’s return from a hamstring injury, hoping for stability and the luxury of reassigning Pugh to his natural guard position.

Injury Concerns Deepen

Compounding the Giants’ woes, another starting tackle, Evan Neal, remains a question mark for Week 7. Neal’s season has been marred by struggles, surrendering 29 pressures and accruing four penalties over 410 offensive snaps. Although he’s shown flashes of adequacy in run blocking, his pass protection efficacy has notably dwindled.

An ankle injury sustained earlier continues to plague Neal, who sat out Wednesday’s practice as a likely precaution. His resilience was on display against Buffalo, but the team seems intent on ensuring his recovery, albeit with the clock ticking down to Sunday.

Reintegrating Tyre Phillips

Should Neal’s recovery fall short of necessity, Tyre Phillips is poised to step in. The lineman, having had a stint with the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad after being cut by the Giants, hints at substantial growth during his time away. Facing the Eagles’ formidable pass rush in practices appears to have honed his skills.

Phillips’ prior tenure with the Giants saw him clock 365 snaps, yielding 16 pressures but earning decent pass protection grades. His return could be timely as the Giants juggle their offensive line personnel in response to an ongoing injury crisis.

Pressures Pile Up

The season has been unkind to the Giants’ offensive trench warfare, culminating in a staggering 114 pressures and 20 sacks over six weeks. The dubious distinction of ranking as the NFL’s lowest-graded pass protection unit hangs over them. Injuries have played a significant role, sidelining key players like Thomas and rookie John Michael-Schmidtz derailing any semblance of continuity or strategic consistency.

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