The New York Giants‘ offensive line faltered once more in Week 3, especially against the defensive might of the San Francisco 49ers. Out of the 17 pressures that the line yielded, Shane Lemieux, the 26-year-old fifth-round draft choice from Oregon, stood out for the wrong reasons.
Since his rookie season, injuries have plagued Lemieux. He managed to log 504 snaps in 2020 and only played a meager 17 snaps in 2021, followed by 39 snaps in the subsequent year. Come Thursday night, he took center stage, but with over 50 snaps, his performance was far from satisfactory. Pro Football Focus (PFF) awarded him a dismal 3.8 pass-blocking grade. He surrendered a sack along with five pressures.
The 49ers’ formidable interior defense relentlessly hassled Lemieux throughout the match, placing quarterback Daniel Jones in an unenviable position. This consistent pressure inevitably affected the team’s overall strategy.
Despite the team’s best efforts, they couldn’t circumvent Lemieux’s lackluster showing. The outcome was a stinging 30-12 defeat, marking the Giants’ second loss of the current season.
- How much would the Giants have to pay Saquon Barkley on the franchise tag in 2024?
- Have the Giants’ found their starting slot cornerback?
- The Giants’ offensive line is failing Saquon Barkley
Evaluating Guard Support: Justin Pugh’s Potential
Amid these challenges, there’s a compelling case for the Giants to bolster their guard support. Their recent tryout with veteran Justin Pugh suggests as much.
Last year, Pugh played 263 snaps for the Arizona Cardinals, conceding eight pressures during that tenure—a commendable record. His career boasts of 4,460 snaps at left guard, reflecting his vast experience. In addition, he’s logged 344 snaps at right guard and an impressive 2,453 at right tackle. While recovering from an ACL injury might mean he’s not as agile as before, at 33, Pugh’s seasoned career can arguably provide a more dependable backup than either Lemieux or Mark Glowinski.
Trench Warfare: The Giants’ Way Forward
The urgency for the Giants’ front office to amplify their trench game cannot be overstated. Relying on Lemieux for another start seems counterproductive. Fans are optimistic about Ben Bredeson’s potential return following his concussion during the previous game against the Cardinals. However, it remains uncertain when he’ll be game-ready.
The Giants keenly felt the absence of stalwarts Andrew Thomas and Bredeson. As the team gears up for their upcoming clash with the Seattle Seahawks, their return to the lineup becomes all the more crucial.