The New York Giants faced a rigorous test in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys that revealed glaring weaknesses. Most concerning was the right side of their offensive line, which surrendered a staggering 17 combined pressures and four sacks—numbers that are simply unacceptable and should never be repeated.
Evan Neal: Hope and Caution
Despite a lackluster Week 1 performance, the Giants maintain their faith in second-year tackle Evan Neal. His showing indeed elicited concern and caution, marking an alarming start to the season. Struggling with fundamental technique and displaying a notable lack of confidence, Neal has a mountain to climb. However, the Giants are not quite ready to throw in the towel.
Rookie Year Retrospect: Neal’s Ups and Downs
Neal comes off a rookie season marred by an MCL injury. Despite these setbacks, he logged 862 snaps, during which he allowed eight sacks and 52 pressures, while also committing seven penalties. These stats set the stage for a “nowhere-to-go-but-up” scenario heading into the current season.
The Dallas Wake-up Call: Immediate Concerns
Neal’s underwhelming performance against the Cowboys should serve as a cautionary tale for the Giants. If Neal fails to demonstrate significant week-to-week improvements, the repercussions could adversely impact quarterback Daniel Jones and, by extension, the entire passing game.
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La’el Collins: A Potential Solution?
One free agent who should be on the Giants’ radar is former Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals tackle La’el Collins. Now 30, the undrafted LSU alumni had a solid run before grappling with some struggles in Cincinnati and subsequently tearing his ACL. Collins has demonstrated his caliber, particularly in his 2019 season when he allowed just 26 pressures and two sacks across 1,000 snaps as a right tackle.
The Market Dynamics: Price and Competition for Collins
However, snagging Collins may not be straightforward. According to analyst Jordan Schultz, no fewer than 12 teams have touched base with Collins’ representatives. With just $4.1 million left in available cap space, the Giants must allocate their resources shrewdly. The team may find themselves outbid in the event of a bidding war for Collins.
A Worthy Consideration: Why Collins Fits the Giants’ Bill
Despite the financial constraints and market competition, Collins remains an attractive option. Proven offensive linemen of his caliber are rare gems in the NFL. Given his large sample size of successful plays, he certainly merits serious consideration, particularly if Neal’s struggles continue to plague the Giants’ offensive line.