The New York Giants will put their fourth starting offensive line configuration in as many games on the field in Week 4. With stud LT Andrew Thomas expected to return to the lineup, the line will shift once again.
But with Thomas returning, his stand-in, Joshua Ezeudu, will need to find a new home on the line. Though Ezueudu’s moving away from the left tackle spot, the Giants still need to keep the second-year offensive lineman in the lineup following a pair of solid performances in their past two games.
Joshua Ezeudu has looked solid this season
After opening the season as the team’s backup left guard and tackle, Ezeudu was stuck into the lineup in Week 2 after Thomas went down with a hamstring injury. He started the past two games at left tackle and admirably held down the fort during Thomas’ absence.
In particular, Ezeudu’s performance in the Giants’ Week 2 victory over the Cardinals was a standout. He surrendered just one sack and one pressure with zero QB hits and zero hurries allowed. Pro Football Focus awarded Ezeudu a 65.7 overall grade with 60.5 run block and 78.4 pass block grades for his performance.
In Week 3, against an elite San Fransisco 49ers defense, Ezeudu did struggle, surrendering four pressures and four hurries with an 11.7 PFF pass-block grade. Despite this underwhelming pass-blocking performance, there are still reasons to be confident in Ezeudu.
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Where can Ezeudu fit into the Giants’ starting lineup going forward?
In addition to Thomas’ return, starting G Ben Bredeson will also be back in the lineup after missing Week 3 in concussion protocol. Bredeson has arguably been Big Blue’s best offensive lineman outside of Thomas this season, surrendering just two pressures in Week 1 and zero in Week 2 (prior to his early exit).
With Bredeson taking one of the guard spots, that leaves just one spot available for Ezeudu. Bredeson started at left guard in Weeks 1 and 2, leaving the right guard spot open. Ezeudu does have competition for this position, though, as fellow second-year offensive lineman Marcus McKethan has manned the position for the team’s last two games.
McKethan also looked great in Week 2 but struggled in Week 3. Ezeudu, though, has shown extra adaptability and practiced at right guard during training camp despite never playing the position in the regular season.
Regardless, Ezeudu has flashed the traits of an eventual long-term starter on the offensive line due to his versatility and he deserves some playing time. McKethan is expected to get the start at right guard in Week 4, but Ezeudu could rotate in if his teammate struggles.
Additionally, after demonstrating his ability to play the tackle spot these past two weeks, Ezeudu could become an option at right tackle if Evan Neal continues to struggle.