The New York Giants, who currently boast a treacherous 4-8 record, have had offensive line problems for much of the past decade, with this season in particular being amongst the worst.
Giants GM Joe Schoen says injuries are to blame for offensive line struggles
The Giants have had multiple games this season in which they allowed 8 or more sacks, including a season-high 11 sacks to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. When asked about the failures of the front line, Giants GM Joe Schoen said that he believes some bad injury luck is the key contributor to the lack of success.
“Andrew Thomas getting hurt the first series of the game of the season. That doesn’t help when you lose an All-Pro left tackle,” said Schoen in a recent press conference. “I think through 11 weeks, we had nine different starting o-line combinations, which is the second-most in 15 years. We have 21 different o-line combinations, which is the fourth-most in 15 years. So, we were down to our fifth and sixth offensive tackles. It’s hard to prepare for that when you have eight or nine on the roster.”
The lack of continuity this season has altered the Giants’ gameplan
Schoen also spoke at length about the lack of continuity the Giants offensive line has faced this season. As the myriad of injuries has forced guys who were not in New York’s preseason plans into big roles in the middle of the season.
“Probably didn’t play as well as we needed to early on and it’s not all on the offensive line, sometimes it’s 11 guys on the same page,” said Schoen. “Whether you’re passing off stunts in games, the communication up there and when it’s a revolving door, it’s hard for the continuity and those guys to gel consistently.”
Evan Neal has been at the forefront of the offensive line woes
In addition, Schoen also mentioned 2022 first-round draft pick Evan Neal, as the second-year tackle has struggled mightily amid an injury-riddled season. Despite the injuries, Schoen acknowledged that Neal’s struggles must be addressed.
“Evan needs to play better. He knows that,” said Schoen. “Look forward to getting him back here when he’s healthy, but I think he’d admit there’s some things that he can do better, and we look forward to him continuing to improve.”
Despite his struggles, Schoen still has faith in the young tackle
Neal’s struggles have been profound for much of his career to this point, so much so that many have questioned if he is meant to play tackle, or would be better suited at guard. Nevertheless, Schoen is confident that the former Alabama product can turn things around.
“The kid can play,” said Schoen. “We just got to get him to be more consistent, I’ve got a lot of confidence in Evan, he’s a hard worker, it’s killing him right now to be out there. He’s missing some valuable reps in year two, but as soon as he’s healthy, he’s scratching and clawing to get back.”
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Schoen and the Giants will have decisions to make regarding the offensive line
As the offensive line has changed week in, and week out, the Giants will have some decisions to make on which players to bring back in the offseason. After all, they have gotten a good look at nearly every available option due to the mountain of injuries at the position.
“Those will be postseason conversations on where we need to address,” said Schoen. “Who do we want to bring back, what does it look like if we do bring some of those guys back and then the landscape of free agency and the draft, so those will be postseason conversations.”