The New York Giants’ offensive line has struggled to maintain continuity this season with injuries and poor performances constantly plaguing the unit. Following a Thursday night loss in Week 3, Big Blue has over a week to prepare for their upcoming Monday Night Football matchup in Week 4, giving their offensive line plenty of time to get back to full strength.
The Giants have had a different starting offensive line configuration for each of their first three games and that trend is likely to continue in Week 4. With a couple of key players returning, the offensive line could look different and stronger than ever this week.
Projecting the Giants’ offensive line in Week 4
- LT Andrew Thomas
- LG Joshua Ezeudu
- C John Michael Schmitz
- RG Ben Bredeson
- RT Evan Neal
Stellar left tackle Andrew Thomas is expected to return in Week 4 after missing the team’s last two games with a hamstring injury. During Thomas’ absence, second-year offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu filled in at left tackle, holding his own in Week 2 but struggling against a dominant San Fransisco 49ers defensive front in Week 3.
Ezeudu demonstrated enough potential to be kept on the field, though, at a different position. Typically a guard, Ezeudu made the move out to tackle out of necessity for the team. In Week 4, Ezeudu should still be in the starting five, but returning to his typical guard position.
Former starting right guard Mark Glowinski was benched after a woeful performance in Week 1. Markus McKethan took over and added some reliability as a run-blocker. However, his struggles in pass protection could urge the coaching staff to move McKethan out of the starting lineup as he continues to develop as a backup.
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Ben Bredeson was one of Big Blue’s most efficient starting offensive linemen to open the season. But a concussion suffered in Week 2 kept the veteran guard out of the lineup last week. Once fully healthy, Bredeson will be back in the starting five.
Evan Neal has struggled immensely to begin his second NFL season. However, the former seventh-overall draft pick is unlikely to be benched anytime soon, despite how poor he’s been. Neal will maintain his role as the starting right tackle until further notice.
Could further changes be made to the offensive line?
This will be the Giants’ fourth starting offensive line configuration in as many games. But the unit will still be subject to change following this contest.
Neal has struggled to show any signs of improvement after a disappointing rookie campaign. If he continues to falter, Big Blue could consider moving the 22-year-old inside to right guard and kicking Ezeudu out to tackle, where he showed some promise on the left side.
If the line continues to struggle, the Giants could bring in a mid-season reinforcement. They worked out veteran G Justin Pugh earlier this month; a player who could provide some added depth to the unit or even steal a starting role if other players continue to struggle.
The poor performance of the offensive line has made it difficult for the Giants’ offense to operate this season. If the unit continues to struggle, the Giants will need to make drastic changes to find a solution and ensure the front line doesn’t sink their season.