Giants’ new offensive line coach is confident he can turn struggling young tackle’s career around

Offensive Line Coach Carmen Bricillo, of the NY Giants NFL team at an organized team activity at their training facility in East Rutherford, NJ on Thursday May 30, 2024.
Tariq Zehawi/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants are banking on third-year right tackle Evan Neal to finally take that step forward in 2024. The former first-round draft pick has struggled to live up to expectations thus far, but newly hired offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo still believes in the 23-year-old tackle.

OL Coach Carmen Bricillo has faith in Evan Neal

New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) blocks San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium
September 21, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) blocks San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While speaking with reporters at OTAs on Thursday, Bricillo expressed his excitement and confidence in Neal entering the 2024 season:

“Don’t judge a player when they’re young and don’t judge a player when they’re injured.”

Carmen Bricillo via SNY

He also broke down his evaluation of the offensive line and his plans to coach the unit for reporters:

“Offensive line is a developmental position to begin with,” Bricillo told reporters (h/t SNY). “Your maturation between year one to year two… we should see that development. There’s a myriad of things that we’re trying to work on as a group… But as an individual, you look at some individual techniques and you try to change it.”

Neal’s career has gotten off to a disastrous start

Sep 21, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) attempts to run past New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) attempts to run past New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

According to Pro Football Focus, Neal has posted just a 42.5 overall grade through his first two seasons. He committed five penalties and surrendered 29 pressures and two sacks in just seven games played in 2023. In 2022 as a rookie, Neal gave up 39 pressures and seven sacks and committed seven penalties in 13 games played.

Neal needs to turn things around this season. Many fans have already lost faith, but Bricillo is hoping to restore that confidence that was once present for the 6-foot-7 Alabama product.

The Giants hired Bricillo for his track record developing offensive line talent

nfl: las vegas raiders at pittsburgh steelers, jermaine eluemunor, new york giants
Dec 24, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders guard Jermaine Eluemunor (72) prepares to block at the line of scrimmage against Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants hired Bricillo as their offensive line coach this offseason after firing Bobby Johnson after two seasons. Bricillo was formerly the offensive line coach of the Las Vegas Raiders for the past two seasons.

The Raiders’ offensive line was the 10th-best in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus as they ranked tied for the sixth-highest pass-blocking efficiency rating (86.3) in the NFL in 2023.

The Raiders’ offensive line allowed 75 sacks in total across the past two seasons under Bricillo (35 in 2022, 40 in 2023). Comparatively, the Giants have allowed 134 sacks in the past two seasons (49 in 2022, 85 in 2023).

And despite the success, the Raiders accomplished these feats with a lack of premium talent on the offensive line. Their starting lineup consisted of one former first-round pick, two former undrafted free agents, one former fifth-round pick, and one former third-round pick. The Giants’ offensive line features two former first-round picks, one former second-round pick, one former third-round pick, and one former sixth-round pick.

The Giants’ offensive linemen have not reached expectations so far (outside of LT Andrew Thomas). They are hoping Bricillo can be the man that helps these players finally reach their potential.

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