The New York Giants entered the 2021 NFL season with one of the league’s worst starting offensive lines. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. Despite this, the team made no major moves to upgrade their offensive line in the 2021 offseason.
The team made some lowkey moves towards the end of the preseason, though. The Giants traded for Ben Bredeson and Billy Price right before the start of the regular season. These two players have now been thrust into the starting lineup due to a couple of crucial injuries among the Giants’ starters.
Left guard Shane Lemieux is done for the year with a knee injury while center Nick Gates is also for the year with a leg fracture. The Giants are now starting newly-acquired backup players that do not fully understand the playbook, putting their offense in a compromised position.
The battered Giants offensive line
Ben Bredeson and Billy Price are now starting on the Giants’ offensive line. This is a development that occurred far too early this season. In Week Two, these two linemen did not perform up to adequate standards.
Billy Price struggled tremendously in pass protection for the Giants last week. He filled in at center, getting the start at the position after Nick Gates moved to left guard. Now, with Gates done for the year, Price will continue to man the center position. This development is concerning considering Billy Price currently has a PFF pass-blocking grade of 8.7 with an overall grade of 28.1, making him by far the lowest graded center in the NFL through two weeks. Price has allowed 5 pressures on only 69 offensive snaps, a staggering total.
Left guard Ben Bredeson has not been much better, either. With injuries to Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux, the Giants should expect to see Bredeson in the lineup for the rest of the season (barring any unforeseen midseason acquisitions). Bredeson has earned a 28.6 PFF pass-blocking grade on 100 total snaps this season.
The Giants’ offensive line has given up 6 sacks in the first two games of the season. If the team wants Daniel Jones to play at a high level as he did on Thursday night for the rest of the season, they are going to need to improve the pass protection in front of him. The lack of depth upfront for the Giants has exposed their biggest weakness and put the team in a compromised position. Now, the offense’s success rests on the shoulders of its quarterback.