New York Giants: Offensive line shows out in clutch Week 12 win

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants are now in first place in the NFC East. The Giants’ clutch 19-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals put them on top of their division. The Giants barely scraped out with a win in this game that saw starting quarterback Daniel Jones go down with a hamstring injury.

The Giants’ offense struggled to get anything going once Jones exited the lineup. But while Daniel was playing, New York’s offense was efficient, minus a couple of miscues that held them back. The Giants’ offense looked primed to breakout in the second half before Daniel Jones suffered his injury.

The reason why the Giants’ offense was performing so well: the offensive line. What has been the Giants’ biggest weakness for years was arguably their biggest offensive strength this week.

Offensive line stats and highlights in Week 12

For the first time this season, the Giants’ offensive line did not give up a sack. This comes just over a week after Joe Judge fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo and replaced him with coach Dave DeGuglielmo. In DeGuglielmo’s first game as offensive line coach of the Giants, the offensive line had its best performance of the season.

The Giants did not allow a sack and were great in the run-game, helping running back Wayne Gallman total 94 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. The Giants gained a total of 142 rushing yards against Cincinnati.

According to Pro Football Focus, rookie offensive linemen Andrew Thomas and Shanne Lemieux were particularly impressive. PFF states that neither rookie allowed a pressure on the day. This is encouraging for the Giants to see their young linemen continue to improve with a near-flawless game in pass protection.

The Giants saw great improvement from their offensive line this week. But it still was not perfect. Right tackle Cam Fleming struggled against the Bengals, committing a number of costly penalties. This could lead the Giants to start rookie tackle Matt Peart in Fleming’s place once Peart returns from the reserve/COVID list.

This was an encouraging performance from the Giants’ offensive line. New York’s front line has struggled all season long but has seen drastic improvement in recent weeks. As New York pushes for a playoff spot in December, it will be crucial for the offensive line to continue to play at a high level.

New York Giants’ players were shocked about the Marc Colombo firing

New York Giants, Marc Colombo

In the middle of the week, during the New York Giants’ bye week, Joe Judge’s team decided it was time to move on from offensive line coach Marc Colombo. When the news broke, it was a bit of a shock to the players in the locker room and players around the NFL.

The offensive line has been improving week after week during this season. Many players and coaches view Colombo as one of the league’s best offensive line coaches. It was not long until everyone found out what led up to the firing of Colombo.

Joe Judge spoke to the media

Judge finally spoke to the media about the Colombo firing. He decided to part ways with Colombo; it was the best for the Giants organization short term and long term.

“I spoke to the entire team last week. I spoke with the offensive line, I spoke with the captains, I spoke with people both individually and collectively based on the units,” Judge told reporters on Monday. “Again, we’re pretty transparent as an organization. If something happens with the team, we keep it in-house, but I speak very openly with the team about it.”

The Giants’ players have all bought into Judge as a head coach. The players were shocked, but at the end of the day, the player believes in what Judge has to do to keep the Giants’ culture.

What New York Giants’ players said to the media about the Colombo firing:

Evan Engram

“That entire situation is definitely above my pay grade,” tight end Evan Engram said. “As a player and as a team, we know that with Coach Judge, every decision he makes is in the best interest of the team. I know me personally and a lot of guys loved working with Coach Colombo and obviously wish him the best. But like I said, that’s the thing with Coach Judge. His best interest is always with the team.”

Leonard Williams

“Judge’s style of coaching is good for players who want to win and want to play hard, practice hard, and understand that your practice is reflective of how you play. Guys that are willing to buy into a program are going to do great under a system like that,” defensive end Leonard Williams stated.

“There’s obviously some guys who are a little bit harder to coach and a little bit harder to get to buy into systems. They might be a little bit harder to fall into line. At the same time, when you’re a part of this team, you kind of feel the atmosphere of everyone buying in. Even those guys that are a little bit harder to coach, once they see the rest of their teammates buying in, they will come along eventually, too. I think it’s a great way, the way we practice. I think it shows we have a tough team. I feel like after losses or wins we go right back to work. I think it’s a hard-hat type of team that wants to work and grind,” Williams added.

An outsider looking in, Colombo did not buy into Judge. He was an outlier. Judge wants players, coaches, trainers, everyone to be on the same wavelength. Judge wants everyone to buy into the Giants’ culture, and from what it sounds like, it’s either Judge’s way or the highway!

New York Giants: It’s time to relax about the Joe Judge-Marc Colombo situation

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The head coach this time around for the New York Giants is built different, and fans have to be careful to not complain after getting what they asked for. Everyone knows at this point that things weren’t good between Joe Judge and Marc Colombo before the latter was fired and replaced with Dave Deguglielmo. The firing has attracted a decent amount of media attention and the story has shifted a bit since it was first reported, with new details being added on.

But at the end of the day, it’s hard to argue that there’s a major problem with what Judge did. He allowed Jason Garrett to bring in his own man to run the offensive line, and when that didn’t work and attempts to help the problem didn’t work out either, he fired the coach that was a problem.

This hasn’t been entirely non controversial. Especially with new info revealing how the team’s management felt using security to keep the two apart was a necessary move.

There’s a number of things that can be said about this; That Judge shouldn’t have tried overstepping and putting his own man on the staff to supplant Colombo. That he should have had a better working relationship with a member of his staff. That things should have never reached this point.

But it’s important to be careful what you wish for. It wasn’t always that the Giants have had a coach that even has the hard nosed style of leadership that leads to a situation like this in the first place. When Pat Shurmur had the job, he was criticized for not being much of a leader. He gave press conference answers that didn’t mean much, didn’t manage the staff as Judge is doing now to improve the team’s performance mid season, and was generally a “nice” coach but not a good one.

Joe Judge is proving that he isn’t Pat Shurmur

Shurmur lasted a while without losing the team because of that niceness, but it never translated into wins. Judge, meanwhile, has been at the helm while the team starts to turn things around – even after it was projected to have the number one pick after the first few games.

There’s no perfect head coaches without problems. Sometimes, with a tougher head coach there’s disputes with staff and players. And with Judge in his first year, it’s hard to expect an entirely clean transition to a different kind of culture. While Colombo did join the staff at the same time as Judge, he was still a coach getting used to a different culture than his previous one.

But so far, the matter hasn’t been a continuing problem. And before getting mad about it, it’s worth asking yourself if it’s really a problem worth talking about still. After all, the Giants had a nice coach that always kept things professional last time around. It didn’t help them very much when it came to getting in the wins column.

Will the latest New York Giants news stunt the offensive line’s growth?

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants have had one crazy bye week, to say the least. The Giants have made a major change on their coaching staff which also led to some serious drama and rumors surrounding the team and its head coach. The Gmen are also dealing with a small COVID-19 outbreak amongst their team, placing three more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list today.

Amongst those three players, one of them was a key offensive lineman. Rookie offensive tackle Matt Peart tested positive for COVID-19 and will go on the reserve/COVID-19 list, likely keeping him out of next Sunday’s game against the Bengals. The Giants have slowly but surely been working Peart into the lineup on Sundays. He has played a total of 107 snaps this season, rotating into both the left and right tackle positions, seeing limited playing time this regular season.

But Peart has been impressive in his small sample size. He seems to have a bright future ahead of him, as do many of the other young offensive linemen on the Giants’ roster. New York’s offensive line struggled greatly at the beginning of the season but has seemingly improved its play over the past couple of weeks.

But now, the team’s offensive line coach, Marc Colombo, has been fired, and there seem to be some reports indicating that the offensive linemen might not be pleased with this decision. On top of that, the Giants’ new offensive line coach, Dave DeGuglielmo, does not exactly have a reputation for being a likable guy. Maybe the Giants’ offensive line needs a change in coaching philosophy. But could this stark change lead to even more struggles up front?

The potential repercussions of this coaching change

According to reporter Michael Silver, there had been tensions surrounding Colombo and Joe Judge for weeks now. Art Stapleton confirmed this portion of Silver’s report, as both reporters mention a disagreement between Judge and Colombo regarding center Nick Gates’s technique.

Where Silver’s report differs from Stapleton’s and others’, though, is when he mentions the team’s reaction to this move. Silver reports that Judge’s personality has been “off-putting” to some and that Judge and his assistants that came with him from New England “have exuded an alarming aura of haughtiness.”

Art Stapleton responded to this portion of Silver’s report, saying it sounds “like sour grapes” and was “completely unrelated” to the Colombo firing.

Regardless, Silver makes a good point at the end of his report. Silver refers to this Colombo fiasco as an “open sore” and notes that the Giants’ offensive linemen are “unsure” what this sudden coaching change will mean. The linemen are wondering “whether they’ll have to relearn techniques on the fly” amongst other things, which is definitely a fair concern.

Could this whole situation lead to further struggles along the Giants’ offensive line? These young linemen have been coached one specific way since training camp began with Colombo as their coach in the summer. Since then, they have been practicing and learning Colombo’s way of offensive line play. Now, Dave DeGuglielmo will have to step in and try to correct the errors that Judge has seen from his offensive line in the 2020 season.

With so many of the Giants’ offensive linemen being young players, still learning the NFL game, it is fair to be concerned whether this sudden change will affect their growth and development. Losing Matt Peart to the reserve/COVID-19 list for the time being also does not improve the situation. Peart is a young, promising player that the Giants want to see more of, not less. Hopefully, he makes a quick and full recovery and can seamlessly rejoin the Giants as they welcome a new offensive line coach.

New York Giants: Marc Colombo firing reportedly due to fight with Joe Judge

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants surprised everyone by moving on from offensive line coach Marc Colombo in the middle of the season, but this story has more turns than initially believed. At first, it looked like the Giants were just making a move based on performance. Their offensive line has been improving, but started off as one of the worst in the league. The team making a change just because of the poor results doesn’t seem too far out of the range of likely events.

But there’s more to this story than just that. According to a report from Jordan Raanan, Colombo reacted negatively when informed of the plans to hire Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant. Of course, in the end, DeGuglielmo ended up taking the job outright. But it doesn’t seem like that was the plan the whole time.

Colombo did not agree with the move and felt that he was being undermined, a source told ESPN, due to DeGuglielmo’s background as an offensive line coach. Another source added that the hands-on Judge wanted to bring in “one of his guys” to capture more control at a position that is not his expertise.

The report says that Judge and Colombo got into an argument that involved plenty of name calling. For most coordinators in the league, getting into that kind of argument with the head coach is a good way to lose job security, and that’s what happened to Colombo in the end. What does this mean for the Giants?

Joe Judge leaving his mark on the coaching staff

Judge has something of a reputation so far as being a tough but fair head coach, and this seems to back that up further. Earlier in the season, Judge chose to come down on Golden Tate for his outbursts by leaving him out of the Washington game. Now, Marc Colombo has been removed from his position after a vocal argument. However, in both cases, it looks like the actions taken have been mostly justified.

That sets the management style of Judge apart from Dave Gettleman. After all, many still believe that Gettleman drove off players mainly for the crime of being outspoken and too challenging for the management.

The new hire also means there’s a bit more uniformity on the coaching staff. As we know, Colombo wasn’t Judge’s guy. He was Jason Garrett’s guy, and the stylistic difference between Colombo’s way of doing things and Judge’s way of doing them didn’t seem to bring good results. But with Judge’s new hire, the position group may benefit from a coach that’s more in tune with the team’s new systems overall.

And while it’s possible to argue that Judge is overreaching by putting his own guy into place as the offensive line coach, taking a more active role in the team’s vision like this is better than more passive approaches by predecessors Pat Shurmur and Ben McAdoo.

New York Giants need to see offensive line improve after bye week

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants made a shocking move today, firing offensive line coach Marc Colombo after only ten weeks with the team. According to reports, head coach Joe Judge made the decision to fire Colombo after a verbal altercation that saw Colombo insubordinate the team’s head coach. Now, Dave DeGuglielmo will serve as the team’s offensive line coach.

The Giants’ offensive line has struggled immensely in 2020. But, over the past few weeks, there has been some improvement. According to reports, this is correlated to the fact that Joe Judge has spent more time coaching the offensive line himself.

New York’s offensive line is a point of weakness. Judge and DeGuglielmo now have a whole bye week to work together and try to fix the offensive line’s issues. As the Giants make a late-season playoff push, it is crucial that the offensive line improves after the bye week to keep the Giants in the hunt.

New York Giants Offensive Line Stats

Despite investing a hefty amount of assets into the offensive line this offseason, the Giants’ front unit has not looked improved this year. Granted, there have been slight week-to-week improvements from individual linemen, but overall it has been a struggle for this positional group.

According to Pro Football Focus, through ten games, the Giants are last in pass-block grade (47.2) and 29th in run-block grade (56.9). PFF also states that quarterback Daniel Jones has been pressured on 42.9% of dropbacks this season (second among qualifying quarterbacks). Over the last four games, Jones has been pressured on 41.1% of his dropbacks (tied-fourth most).

New York’s second-year quarterback has been under constant duress this season. When kept clean, Jones has been surgical. In Sunday’s victory over Philadelphia, Jones was 18-18 from a clean pocket for 188 yards and a PFF passing grade of 93.1.

But keeping Jones’s pocket clean has been a struggle for the Giants. Rookie first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas leads all offensive tackles in the NFL in pressures allowed. He has struggled to find his footing in the NFL and has even been outplayed by third-round rookie Matt Peart in his smaller sample size.

The New York Giants found their formula for winning against Washington and Philadelphia the past two weeks. Essentially, the offensive line has to give Daniel Jones time to make plays. When Jones has a clean pocket he can make plays and keep the ball out of harm’s way. This is why fixing the offensive line should be the top priority for the Giants to close out the final seven weeks of the 2020 NFL season, as they push to make their first playoff appearance since 2016.

New York Giants fire OL coach Marc Colombo in surprise move

New York Giants, Marc Colombo

In a surprise move on Wednesday, the New York Giants fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo. While the line started out the 2020 regular season with problems across the board, the last few weeks have seen significant progression, especially with left tackle Andrew Thomas and guard Shane Lemieux. Following Will Hernandez’s bout with COVID-19, the Giants made a few changes, taking to a rotational method and utilizing several different players.

Oddly, Colombo and his group were seeing positive momentum, but as head coach Joe Judge stated on Wednesday, he doesn’t believe in momentum and proceeded to fire the coach and help develop the unit on his own.

According to GMFB on NFL Network, Judge has devoted more time to helping coach the line recently, which could be an indication of how poor Colombo was doing. If the line saw success under judge the past few weeks, he might have realized the weakness was Colombo and acted accordingly.

This method is very Bill Belichick-ian, as Judge saw a weakness on his team and decided to spend more time helping in that area. That clearly showed him everything he needed to see with Colombo and his methods, moving on from the former Dallas OL coach.

The Giants are bringing in Dave DeGuglielmo to replace him, who coached the great Colts’ OL in 2018. DeGuglielmo joined the Giants’  staff under head coach Tom Coughlin, who served as a graduate assistant for Boston College 13 years earlier. During his tenure, the Giants made the playoffs for consecutive years and won a Super Bowl, setting a franchise record for rushing yards and yards per carry in 2008.

With the DeGuglielmo wanting to make a return to the NFL, this was a perfect opportunity for the Giants to hire one of the best available. While Colombo was expected to be effective, it seems as if Judge had a different idea.

 

 

New York Giants: Offensive line motivated to improve against Rams in Week Three

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants have been arguably the weakest unit on the team through its disappointing 0-3 start. After investing a fair amount of assets into the offensive line this offseason and acquiring one of the best positional coaches in the sport to guide them, the Giants’ offensive line appears to have somehow gotten worse in 2020.

Quarterback Daniel Jones has been under pressure on 41.5% of his dropbacks in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus. This is the third-highest rate in the NFL. PFF Also states that the Giants’ offensive line has recorded a 46.3 pass-block grade through three weeks, ranking dead last in the league.

The members of the Giants’ front line are not oblivious to their poor performances. According to starting center Nick Gates, the Giants’ offensive line is “pissed off.”

Nick Gates Quotes

The New York Giants’ offensive line has gone up against some of the best defensive lines in the NFL to start the season. The Steelers and Bears were fully healthy and had All-Pro pass-rushers line up against the Giants’ weak offensive line. The 49ers’ defense was injured, but well-coached with a few impact players that gave the Giants plenty of trouble.

Entering Week Four, the Giants are set to face off against another great defense featuring one of the game’s greatest players: Aaron Donald. When asked about this matchup, Nick Gates called the matchup “exciting,” and saying Donald “will be the best player” Gates has “ever gone up against.”

Nick Gates admits that these first three weeks have been “frustrating” and the team is “pissed off.” But he also recognizes that the team has to “focus on the Rams” and move on “to the next game.” This falls in line with Joe Judge’s quotes.

Marc Colombo Quotes

Offensive line coach Marc Colombo also spoke with the media as his unit continues to struggle. Colombo is aware that his line is frustrated, saying, “I love that they’re pissed off. That’s the type of group we want.”

As frustrated as Colombo and his unit are, they are also aware that they have been dealt a pretty bad hand in 2020. With the craziness of the COVID offseason, Colombo reminds the media that the Giants’ offensive line is “thousands and thousands of reps behind.” Continuity has also been a problem for the Giants. But Colombo is not here to make excuses. Instead, he is here to find solutions:

“We’ve gotta do better in the run, period. That’s where we’re falling short right now. It’s going to alleviate a lot of stuff in the passing game. That’s something we have to do.” – Marc Colombo on his offensive line’s play through three weeks of the 2020 NFL season

Clearly, the Giants’ offensive line and coaches are frustrated. They need to play and coach better and they are all aware of that fact. If New York wants to turn around its season, the offensive line will need to improve quickly and drastically.

Giants’ Marc Colombo says ‘there’s a lot of room for improvement’ regarding Andrew Thomas

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants haven’t had an easy start to their 2020 season, especially rookie tackle Andrew Thomas, who has faced off against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Coming out of Georgia, Thomas was known as a solid pass protector with run blocking potential. He faced off against Bud Dupree in week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Khalil Mack in week two against the Chicago Bears.

Both represent some of the best pass rushers in the league, and Thomas held his own for the most part despite an overall 56 grade by PFF. He has only allowed one sack against those two behemoth players, so it is fair to say that Thomas has played up to his potential, so far.

“He’s gone against two great pass rushers and he’s held his own for the most part,” Colombo said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement and Andrew knows this. It’s really good for him to get these type of pass rushers right off the bat because his whole career is going to be these type of pass rushers. He’s capable of shutting down anyone he wants to. We just have to keep pushing the fundamentals with him, but I like where he’s headed.”

The New York Giants should feel good about Andrew Thomas:

Ultimately, playing against the best will make you the best. Easing your way into the NFL with lackluster opposition does not spur development. Holding your own against players like Mack and Dupree is impressive, especially at just 21 years old. The former Georgia stand out is extremely young and has a ton of potential in his future. While he isn’t the highest-rated rookie tackle through two weeks, he has done more against some of the best pass rushers in the league than any of the first-round tackles drafted this year.

It‘s important to note that the Giants rebuilt their offensive line again this year, inserting Thomas, Nick Gates, and Cameron Fleming at new positions. Understanding their schematics and communication between each other was always going to take time. Thomas has done a good job considering the factors working against him. He improved in week two, which is all we wanted to see after a tough week one performance against Pittsburgh. Of course, there are snaps that he will want back, specifically in the run game, but his pass blocking was solid for the most part.

In week two against the Bears, Thomas held his own against Mack but was pushed around by DL Robert Quinn. Chicago’s interior players did some damage on Thomas, exposing him in the run game routinely. Nonetheless, the experience he has gained facing off against such quality players will only help him in the long term. It is important to remember that the Giants are still rebuilding, and things will be different in 2021.

New York Giants: Rookie Offensive Tackles Cross Training In Practice

The New York Giants drafted two offensive tackles in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Big Blue selected Andrew Thomas out of Georgia with the fourth overall pick in the first round. They then followed that up with Matt Peart out of UConn in the third round.

Thomas is a polished prospect who will be prepared to start day one for the Giants. Peart, on the other hand, might need to take some time to develop. The ninety-ninth overall selection in the draft is not likely to be a week one starter on the Giants’ offensive line this season.

Andrew Thomas will be a week one starter, presumably. The question with Thomas now, is, where will he start on the offensive line? Will he be the team’s left tackle or right tackle?

Where Will Andrew Thomas Line Up?

After 2019’s starting offensive tackle Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season, it seemed likely that Andrew Thomas would step into the starting left tackle position. But there were some fans advocating for Thomas to play right tackle, instead, even before and after Solder opted out.

This line of thinking pencils Thomas in as the team’s left tackle for the foreseeable future, while planning to move ahead with Matt Peart as the team’s right tackle down the road. But after the Giants’ recent practices, this scenario does not seem set in stone.

While the likely scenario sees Thomas at left tackle and Peart at right tackle, there is another scenario where the two players swap positions. The Giants are preparing for this scenario, giving the offensive tackles practice reps on both sides of the line.

According to Ryan Dunleavy, Matt Peart was working at left tackle today:

Versatility on the offensive line is crucial. The Giants recognize this and are training their rookie tackles to be prepared to play on either side of the offensive line.