New York Giants: Pros and cons for the offensive line ahead of the 2021 season

New York Giants, Daniel Jones
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) directs the offense in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge indicated that quarterback Daniel Jones wouldn’t play in the team’s first preseason game of the year against the Jets. Sitting Jones is a smart decision; avoiding potential injury as the offensive line looks to build chemistry with the regular season starting in less than a month.

That could be perceived as a major reason for concern. Deciding to sit your quarterback because the OL is in murky water suggests the team isn’t entirely convinced of their adequacy. However, plenty of teams refrain from playing their starting quarterbacks in the first preseason game.

Nonetheless, the Giants have a weaker unit than most, having ranked dead last in pass-blocking efficiency last season, per PFF.

New York Giants pros and cons list:

Pros:

-A young group

-Offensive tackles with potential

-Cheap contracts

-In-person training and a full pre-season

There is a reason for optimism regarding Jones’s protection scheme. Ultimately, three of their potential starters were drafted last season, and with COVID-19 making such an impact on the campaign, the unit didn’t have much time to train in person and build chemistry before being thrown into the fire. Facing off against one of the best defenses in the NFL in a Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers surely didn’t brew much confidence.

Having a full off-season to work collectively under a new coach in Rob Sale should spur improvement. Last year’s experience for Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, and Matt Peart will prove to be essential, but cutting Kevin Zeitler could end up biting the team in the butt.

It is hard to believe they will be worse in 2021, but based on a variety of reasons, expecting them to be above average is extremely optimistic. One injury to a starter and the Giants will be in a tough situation, so adding depth is essential.

One opportunity the Giants should consider is the trimming to the 53 man roster. NFL teams always provide a few surprising cuts, so Big Blue could find themselves a solid depth piece in the trenches in just a few days when rosters begin to thin out. That will be a situation to keep a close eye on.

Cons:

-Inexperience

-Lack of depth

-Awful 2020 performances

-Every position is a major question mark

-The success of Daniel Jones relies on the OL

The Giants’ offensive line has just eight years of experience overall, indicating vast greenness for a unit that desperately needs to protect their quarterback in his most important season. With Jones’s rookie window shrinking and the Giants investing heavily at the wide receiver position, it is now or never for them to see his peak potential.

Just referencing their individual performances from last year raises a few eyebrows. Andrew Thomas looked like Ereck Flowers at times but had a much stronger second half of the season. A lot can be attributed to former OL Coach Colombo, who was fired mid-season for interrupting some of the rookies’ development and changing their technique.

As stated above, there is a reason for optimism, but the con list is filled with unpredictable circumstances. We know they have talent at each position, meaning it comes down to the coaching staff and their ability to iron out some of their deficiencies.