Giants’ Nick Gates raves about young offensive line, says offseason is ‘huge’

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants are heavily relying on their offensive line to take a significant step forward in 2021, otherwise, Daniel Jones could revert back to his pocket awareness issues, which are directly correlated to turning the football over and fumbles.

Last season, the Giants ranked as one of the worst OLs in the NFL, ranking 31st in pass blocking efficiency, according to PFF. Operating with new faces at multiple key positions, including left and right tackle, the Giants not only struggled to protect the edges, but they also had a rotational approach at right tackle and an offensive line coach that was fired midseason due to ineffectiveness.

Head coach Joe Judge didn’t take long to make a change, bringing in consultant Dave DeGuglielmo to help smooth over the transition after Marc Colombo. Not only did the unit have little in-person training to gather their feet and build chemistry, but they also had multiple coaches during the regular season, which undoubtedly affected their efficiency in the trenches.

This off-season, however, things are entirely different, as the COVID-19 vaccine provides the ability to practice in person without much risk. The players will have a full off-season, including the preseason, to gather the scheme and take to new OL Coach Rob Sale’s methods.

Starting center Nick Gates was adamant the off-season would be a tremendous bonus compared to last year, and he is quite confident they will have a more productive season in 2021.

“I think it’s huge, especially as young a team as we are right now I think it’s great for us to get in the building,” starting center Nick Gates said Friday via Zoom. “Quarterbacks throw the routes to the wide receivers for timing and the oline getting in here and working technique. Having a new oline coach this year and learning what he likes in different plays and his technique that he likes.”

The OL will look different this upcoming year, as the Giants let Cam Fleming go in free agency and are welcoming Nate Solder back after opting out of the 2020 season. Will Hernandez is expected to take over at RG after the departure of Kevin Zeitler, and Shane Lemieux will earn a crack as the starting LG.
Overall, I think it is fair to be optimistic with this group, despite several years of inadequacy. Having in-person training, a consistent coach, and a few playmakers to take pressure out of the defensive box should be essential factors in their success. For now, all we can do is hope they remain healthy and build upon their experience last year.
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