The Giants need a breakout performance from young offensive lineman

New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) snaps the ball to quarterback Tommy DeVito (15) during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a critical need for emerging talent among their young offensive linemen this coming season. While several players could be pivotal, our focus here is on second-year center John Michael-Schmitz (JMS). Third-year tackle Evan Neal also enters the conversation as a significant figure, but he faces stiff competition this off-season for the starting position, whereas JMS is set to have a secured opportunity to demonstrate growth in his sophomore season.

Rough Rookie Year

Michael-Schmitz’s rookie season was challenging, as he conceded five sacks and 30 pressures across 755 snaps. The 25-year-old center dealt with considerable instability around him, with frequent changes at the guard positions on both sides of him throughout the season. This lack of consistency in his immediate support was akin to playing a high-stakes game every weekend, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes.

New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium
September 21, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; New York Giants center John Michael Schmitz Jr. (61) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Optimism with Giants’ New Additions

The situation looks promising this year with the addition of Jon Runyan, an accomplished pass-protecting left guard, and possibly Jermaine Eluemunor at right guard if he does not secure the starting tackle spot over Neal. These changes could stabilize the line and significantly bolster the young center’s performance.

Coaching and Potential

JMS, known more for his intelligence and solid foundational skills rather than top athletic prowess, was drafted in 2023. Many have criticized Bobby Johnson, the former offensive line coach, for the line’s previous struggles. In response, the Giants have brought on Carmen Bricillo from the Las Vegas Raiders, renowned for developing one of the most effective offensive lines in the league despite limited talent. This coaching change could be transformative for JMS and his colleagues.

The Giants have invested heavily in their offensive line through the draft over the past five years, and with Bricillo’s guidance, there is a strong belief in the potential for significant development. As Michael-Schmitz continues to enhance his already excellent communication skills, his consistent performances are expected to become a cornerstone for the offensive line’s overall effectiveness.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: