The New York Giants have been building up their offensive line this offseason, adding three tackles and an interior lineman in the draft and free agency.
The one position they haven’t formally addressed, however, is center. The Giants do have a plan, but is it a solid one? There are a lot of ‘ifs’ surrounding the center position and analyzing the situation, it seems as if they are counting on getting lucky rather getting good.
Last year’s starter, Jon Halapio, is currently not on the roster as he is still rehabbing from a Achilles injury he suffered lat last season. At last glance, Halapio’s rehab is going well and the team has even mentioned re-signing him once he’s healthy.
Halapio’s backup is Spencer Pulley, who has started nine games in his two seasons with the Giants. Pulley is a serviceable option for the Giants at the moment considering the other choices facing them at the moment.
GM Dave Gettleman has intimated that Nick Gates, who has played both center and guard for the Giants can also play center. Then, there is fifth round draft pick Shane Lemieux out of Oregon, a tough interior lineman in the mold of Rich Seubert who is mainly a guard and has never played center.
Lemieux will be working at center and so is Gates but former Giants Pro Bowl center and current NFL Network analyst Shaun O’Hara believes that Pulley is the Giants’ best option right now.
“I think Spencer Pulley is a good center,’’ O’Hara told the NY Post. O’Hara believes that Lemieux’s learning curve will be too steep to displace Pulley in camp this summer.
“The toughest thing a lot of guys have, if you’ve never played center, is shotgun snaps,’’ said O’Hara. “Most guys can figure out the under-center snap. Shotgun snaps, sometimes people become mental midgets with that and they just can’t handle it. It sounds to me he’s the kind of guy that is gonna stay out and snap 1,000 balls if he has to, to make sure he can handle that.’’
The experience angle led O’Hara to say that Pulley should be the starter until the Lemieux or someone else can come in and raise the level of play without sacrificing stability.
“He’s not going to come in and be better than Spencer Pulley right away,” O’Hara said of Lemieux. “Just from a mental standpoint, making the calls. And you got a young quarterback too. Daniel Jones has not seen every defense yet. Would I want a second-year quarterback and a rookie center playing? Heck no.’’
That may not deter the Giants from fast-tracking Lemieux into the center position. They want change up front and quickly.