Just two seasons ago the New York Giants‘ offensive line consisted of Ereck Flowers, Bobby Hart, John Jerry, Justin Pugh, and Weston Richburg. Fast forward to present times and the front five features Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Kevin Zeitler, and Mike Remmers.
A complete overhaul for a unit that’s prioritized by general manager Dave Gettleman. One of the mind-blowing factions set forth by Jerry Reese – skill position players were always the first choice. Now, that’s not to stray from his efforts on the line, and if it wasn’t for Reese’s pure inability to locate talent, the Giants might be in better shape going into 2019.
However, that’s not the case, but the offensive line is far improved and they have a star running back to reap the rewards.
In his rookie year, Saquon Barkley, the 2nd overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, scampered for 2,028 total yards. He joined an elite group of running backs to eclipse 2,000 yards in his rookie season, all behind an offensive line that couldn’t walk straight after a night out at Chucky Cheese.
The stage is set for Barkley to trump his numbers from a year ago in impressive fashion. An upgraded line will provide more holes to run through and protection for Eli Manning to operate. It’s the key to the offense and we will see the full force of a renovated group.
Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber comments on Barkley’s potential:
â€œIf he stays healthy and he stays here, in New York,â€ Barber said Thursday at Yankee Stadium prior to the CC Sabathia’s celebrity charity softball game. â€œMy records donâ€™t have a chance.â€
Health is the key word here, as Barkley had a few scares in 2018 that luckily amounted to nothing. He must manage the hits he takes and the extra yards he decides to grind for. Sometimes, running out of bounds or avoiding a big collision can be beneficial if it’s unnecessary, but Barkley is a competitor and his game-attitude doesn’t allow him to tread lightly.
Tight end Evan Engram advocated for the Giants’ new offensive line:
â€œThose guys work out together each and every day,â€ Engram said. â€œAnd they literally walk around the whole building together. You can just see the talent growing, the chemistry growing and theyâ€™re hungry as well. I canâ€™t wait to see those guys start putting their hands on people.â€
When former greats begin comparing Barkley to players like Adrian Peterson, you know a bright future is ahead. Barber didn’t hold back in his positivity for the young star, and I imagine it won’t as he gains experience as a professional.