The New York Giants are only on their second day of practice in 2021’s training camp. Already, the Giants are dealing with some injury scares. Starting left guard Shane Lemieux was carted off of the practice field today. This injury scare once again sheds light on the Giants’ lack of depth on the offensive line and how it could cost them in a major way this season.
The New York Giants offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL
The Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. Despite this, the team made no major moves to upgrade their offensive line in the 2021 offseason.
A peculiar offseason strategy
2021’s free agency period saw the New York Giants spend big on both sides of the ball. New York made multiple splash signings, like Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, and Adoree’ Jackson. The team filled some gaping holes on their roster, yet ignored the glaringly obvious weakness that is their offensive line. The only acquisitions the Giants made on the offensive line were iOL Zach Fulton (who many believe will play a backup role), and a couple of undrafted free agents. The Giants had numerous opportunities to sign or draft starting-caliber offensive line talent and passed up every single chance they were given.
This leaves the New York Giants in murky water during the first week of training camp. As we wait for an update on Shane Lemieux, the conversation about the Giants’ offensive line is sparked once again. Though Lemieux struggled incredibly in his rookie season (ranking 80/80 in PFF grades for guards in 2020), he was still a projected starter entering his second season with plenty of upsides. Shane Lemieux worked hard this offseason, even showing up to voluntary workouts before 6 a.m. to get some extra work before practice.
Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst
Hopefully, Shane Lemieux was dealing with a minor injury that looked worse from a distance than it truly is. However, if that is not the case, the Giants are in a scary situation. The Giants lost their best starting offensive lineman (Kevin Zeitler) this offseason and brought no one in to replace him. They are rolling into 2021 with basically the same unit that gave up 50 sacks (T-2nd most in the NFL) last season. Some fans might not view Shane Lemieux as a big potential loss to the lineup, but the Giants do not have much depth on their roster at that position, to begin with, so any injury on the offensive line could break their season to pieces.