New York Giants’ projected offensive line for Week 4 includes shake up at left guard

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are preparing to piece together their 4th offensive line combination in three games, providing a clear indication of severe issues in the trenches. With injuries piling, including a season-ending ailment to Nick Gates, hand injury to Ben Bredeson, and knee surgery to Shane Lemieux, the expectation is that Big Blue will feature former practice squader Matt Skura at left guard in Week 4.

Some might recall general manager Dave Gettleman expressing confidence during the preseason regarding the OL, but that sentiment has been thrown out the window after trading for Billy Price and Bredeson, both of whom have started off the season as liabilities.

Skura taking over at left guard is an interesting development, especially since he’s never played the position in his NFL career. He has played 2,584 snaps under center at 732 right guard, so this will be a new position for him that requires adaptation.

The Giants don’t want to transition their centers too frequently, having already gone from Gates to Price this season. Each individual center has their own knacks, including velocity on their snaps and placement. They prefer to keep Price as the primary option there, despite Skura potentially being a more viable long-term solution.

Last season with the Baltimore Ravens, Skura played in 671 snaps coming off a serious injury. He was once considered one of the rising centers in the league, but wounds have set him back significantly.

It is unfortunate the Giants are still working their way through the offensive line considering the number of resources they spent on solidifying it. Having drafted Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Lemieux last year and spending big money on Nate Solder back in 2018, the Giants are still trying to find solutions at some of the more important spots in the trenches.

They currently feel confident about Thomas at LG and Will Hernandez at RG, but every other spot has presented itself as a weakness through three weeks.

Per PFF, the Giants currently have the 25th ranked pass-blocking line and 14th run-blocking unit, which is an upgrade compared to their 2020 stats. New OL coach Rob Sale has done a tremendous job coaching up the talent on hand, which isn’t much after Thomas and Hernandez. The constant shuffling has made things even more tumultuous, so hopefully, the Giants can experience a bit of continuity moving forward, but that entirely relies on them being healthy.

Giants sign veteran center Matt Skura to practice squad, here’s what he brings

matt skura, new york giants

The Miami Dolphins signed veteran center Matt Skura to a one-year, $1.75 million deal this off-season. Since then, they have released him due to roster cuts, and the New York Giants came calling to scoop him up off the market.

Skura didn’t make it to the regular season with his new team, after spending his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Skura had issues last year snapping the football, which is a serious issue if you play center. It was a glaring problem during the Ravens’ Week 9 and 10 games, which ended up leading to a loss against the Patriots and him finding his way to the bench.

However, Skura is an experienced a veteran who has familiarity with Daniel Jones during their time together at Duke. As a former undrafted free agent, Skura was expected to be a starter for Miami in 2021, but after selecting second-round lineman Liam Eichenberg, things became a bit complicated.

Miami decided to go with a younger option who they can develop, making Skura expendable. This preseason, Matt played 61 snaps, all of them coming at center. He posted an 84 overall pass-blocking grade, per PFF, not allowing a sack, hurry, hit, or pressure. Of course, the sample size is small, but he’s always been known as a stronger pass blocker and inconsistent run blocker.

Skura will serve as a back up to Nick Gates for the time being, and the Giants also acquired Billy Price from the Cincinnati Bengals. While Skura is currently on the practice squad, he could easily end up finding his way to the active roster in case of injuries or deficiencies. The Giants still have a few unsolved positions to deal with, and the former UDFA could end up providing some value as the season progresses.

Last season with Baltimore, Skura was hit with one sack, four hits, five hurries, and 10 total pressures. He played 620 steps at the center, but after being benched in Week 11 against Tennessee, he sparingly played. Again, Skura is a decent center who simply has issues snapping the football at times, but otherwise is a competent blocker.

New York Giants should target former Dolphins center on the waiver wire

matt skura, new york giants

The New York Giants need all the offensive line support they can get, especially with roster cuts due on Tuesday at 4 PM. As the Giants begin to filter out their 53-man roster, it is likely they retain nine offensive linemen, but I wouldn’t guarantee their spots until waiver claims go through.

The Giants have already begun making moves to upgrade the depth on the OL, trading defensive linemen BJ Hill to the Cincinnati Bengals in return for versatile center Billy Price. The Giants also included a seventh-round conditional pick in the deal.

Price, however, is an experienced NFL player, spending the last three years with Cincinnati. Having played left guard, center, and right guard, Price can move around the line if need be, but his best position is center.

By no means is Price considered an above-average player, but he can fill a necessary role if injuries or inconsistencies arise, which the Giants already have in the trenches prior to Week 1 of the regular season. It is possible a change of scenery could spur improvement for Billy, who is a former first-round pick out of Ohio State. The 25-year-old is still young and has solid, tangible traits but simply falters in the fundamentals category.

The New York Giants should consider Matt Skura as a waiver claim:

However, there is another option that hit the market late on Monday that could be of interest for the Giants. The Miami Dolphins released Matt Skura, a 6’3″, 313 pounds center, formally of the Duke Blue Devils. Having been drafted in 2016, Skura could very well know Daniel Jones. As a former undrafted free agent, Skura spent his first four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before latching on with the Miami Dolphins in 2020. Last year, Skura allowed just one sack and 10 pressures over 661 snaps.

Skura enjoyed a few solid performances to start the 2020 season against Cleveland, Houston, and Kansas City but was mainly inconsistent throughout the campaign. He’s played a total of 3,304 snaps in his career, giving up five sacks and 67 pressures. The majority of his time has been spent at center but played right guard during his rookie campaign in Baltimore back in 2017.

As an experienced lineman, Skura is only 28 years old, offering another younger solution. Considering how weak the Giants’ depth in the trenches is, the backend of the unit could be interchangeable in the coming days, despite roster cuts.