The New York Giants offensive line poses a huge question mark for the team entering the 2021 season. In 2020, the Giants’ offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL. The New York Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. So while the Giants did upgrade Daniel Jones’s weapons in free agency, fans feel like they still desperately need to fix the offensive line in front of him.
The Giants barely touched their offensive line in this year’s offseason period. They added veteran guard Zack Fulton to the mix but failed to add any offensive line talent in the NFL Draft. The Giants are going to rely on their young offensive linemen to take a jump and see some great development this season.
One of the reasons the Giants feel confident in their young linemen is their coaching staff. The Giants feel like their new revamped offensive coaching staff will be able to get the most out of their front line and fix some of their deficiencies.
How the new coaching staff will help the offensive line
The addition of Rob Sale
The Giants started the 2020 season with Marc Colombo as their offensive line coach. Ben Wilkerson served as the assistant offensive line coach. Colombo was fired midseason, though, for insubordination as Joe Judge was unpleased with the offensive line’s performance and looked to make changes. Dave DeGuglielmo was then brought in as Colombo’s replacement before parting ways this offseason.
Joe Judge hired Rob Sale as the Giants’ offensive line coach this offseason. Ben Wilkerson will continue as the assistant offensive line coach. The hiring of Rob Sale is exciting as he is a coach that Joe Judge describes as an “energetic on-the-field coach and he’s someone who has a very strong relationship with his players.” Sale was hired from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he worked as the team’s offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. His background calling plays and developing schemes could foreshadow a greater role with the Giants in the future.
Coming from the collegiate game, Robert Sale has experience working with young offensive linemen. The Giants will be rolling out a front line that features three second-year players and two third-year players as starters in 2021. Youth means inexperience, but it also means potential, and Rob Sale will try to maximize the potential of these hog mollies.
But Sale and Wilkerson will not coach these linemen alone. Joe Judge rearranged the coaching staff to hyperfocus on the development of his offensive linemen. In addition to hiring Sale, Judge made some other important moves.
Pat Flaherty as an offensive consultant
Former Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty has joined the staff as a consultant. Flaherty served as the Giants’ offensive line coach from 2004-2015, winning two Super Bowls with the team and developing the likes of Chris Snee, David Diehl, Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert, Kareem McKenzie, Kevin Boothe, and David Baas.
Judge brought in Flaherty as a consultant for both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. One thing that Joe Judge noted, though, was the assistance Flaherty will bring Rob Sale as he develops the offensive line, saying, “Part of the strength is we’ve got two young offensive line coaches with Rob Sale and (assistant) Ben Wilkerson, and Pat’s a good sounding board for those guys to have.”
Freddie Kitchens as a senior offensive assistant
Pat Flaherty will help coach up the offensive line and so will Freddie Kitchens. Joe Judge moved Freddie Kitchens into a new role this offseason, promoting him from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant. This will give Kitchens more say in the Giants’ offensive playbook and scheme development, but Judge explained that Kitchens will also work closely with the offensive line.
Head coach Joe Judge said that Kitchens’s “primary responsibility is going to be working with the front.” He explained, “tying into having two young offensive line coaches with Rob and Ben, I think Freddie is going to be an asset up front working directly with them and helping bring together the game planning, like all of our coaches will, but working directly with (offensive coordinator) Jason (Garrett) with some of the things that are going to happen up front.”
The collaborative effort
The Giants now have four coaches on staff whose primary objectives are to develop the offensive line along with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. With all hands on deck heading into 2021, New York might be able to see some serious development from their young group of hog mollies. The Giants’ offensive line should benefit greatly from this strong, revamped coaching staff.