New York Giants: Who should start at left guard in Week One?

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux
Sep 3, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants guard Shane Lemieux (66) during the Blue-White Scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2020. 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 until just this week.

The Giants made a couple of key moves on the offensive line this week. They traded for two interior offensive linemen in Billy Price and Ben Bredeson. It was extra important that the Giants add depth to the interior after Shane Lemieux suffered a knee injury during training camp. Two Giants offensive guards also retired this summer.

Shane Lemieux is working back from an injury but is still the projected starter for Week One. The second-year left guard out of Oregon started eight games last season. But, with his injury in consideration, the case could be made for newly-acquired Ben Bredeson to start ahead of Lemieux.

The cases for and against Shane Lemieux

Shane Lemieux started the final eight games of the 2020 season for the New York Giants as a rookie. The Giants would like to keep some continuity across the offensive line this season. Starting Lemieux would allow the team to accomplish that goal.

Shane Lemieux is a young, developing player. He worked extremely hard this summer, sometimes showing up to the facility prior to 6 am to prepare for practice. An improved version of Lemieux was expected to hit the field this season after he struggled in 2020.

In 2020, Shane Lemieux earned a 32.2 overall PFF grade. He was a liability in pass protection, allowing 25 pressures and 5 sacks in eight games.

Shane Lemieux has worked hard to improve his game this offseason and the Giants want to keep that continuity. However, Lemieux is dealing with a partially torn patellar tendon. The team could consider giving Shane some extra time to heal and starting one of their newly-acquired linemen instead.

The cases for and against Ben Bredeson

If the Giants are going to start one of their newly acquired offensive linemen, Ben Bredeson is far more likely to start than Billy Price. Billy Price is mainly a center and the Giants feel comfortable with Nick Gates at that position.

Ben Bredeson, however, is traditionally an offensive guard. He is also coming off of an impressive 2021 preseason. Ben Bredeson was the 11th highest graded guard of the preseason (80.8), per PFF. Bredeson actually played the most snaps (182) among all guards this preseason.

It might be a bit short notice for Ben Bredeson to start for the Giants. They acquired him with under two weeks to go until the start of the regular season. Bredeson is not going to have the same level of chemistry with his teammates or the same depth of knowledge in the playbook that Shane Lemieux has.

Ben Bredeson might be the better, more established, and healthier player between the two. However, it might be a bit short notice for him to start a game for his new team. The New York Giants offensive line struggled greatly in the preseason and is a cause for major concern as the regular season begins. The Giants are going to have to make a confident decision and hope for the best at the left guard position.

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