New York Giants: Shane Lemieux has surgery on knee, will miss rest of season

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants have taken another loss on the offensive line, but not a surprising one. This time, it’s guard Shane Lemieux that has been marked as out for the season after undergoing surgery on his knee. The surgery is to repair his patellar tendon, after sustaining an injury during training camp and attempting to play through it before deciding on surgery.

Lemieux was on the field when the Giants took on Denver in week 1, but it wasn’t a long day for him. He played 18 snaps before being taken off for newcomer Ben Bredeson, and was absent for the next game. Some of the questions towards the coaching staff after the game were about whether Lemieux would undergo surgery, but no immediate response was given.

Now, we know that Lemieux will miss the rest of the season after surgery turned out to as the only viable option.

This is the second major injury that the Giants are dealing with on the offensive line. The other one, of course, is the leg fracture that will leave Nick Gates out for the rest of the season. Thanks to these two injuries, the Giants have effectively lost two of the players that they expected to start this season on the O-line and will have to rely on a far more unproven lineup.

There’s been talks recently about moving Matt Peart to guard, but those talks no longer seem like speculation. With Lemieux not coming back this season, a change of place for Peart might just be a necessary move for the offensive line’s depth in a season where the position group is especially thin.

New York Giants: Evan Engram out and Saquon Barkley questionable

New York Giants, Evan Engram

Even going into the second game of the season, the New York Giants might not have all of their offensive weapons on the field. The team was missing Evan Engram in the season opener and Engram was confirmed today as set to miss his second straight game with a calf injury from before the start of the season.

He’s not the only player that will miss the Thursday Night Football appearance against Washington. In slightly more minor news, special teamer Cam Brown and guard Shane Lemieux will also miss the game.

Saquon Barkley hasn’t been ruled out of the game like these other players. Despite that, he’s listed as questionable and there’s also no guarantee that he will play. While Barkley played in the opener, it’s clear that the staff are taking a cautious approach with him and that he wasn’t playing at his best while coming back from injury.

While some of the poor performance can be attributed to bad run blocking from the offensive line, a theory which is backed up by the lack of performance from alternative option Devontae Booker, Barkley ultimately didn’t utilize much of his unique skillset in the loss.

He looked like any replacement level running back in the league, and while Barkley himself refused to use his injury as a crutch, we may have to consider the possibility that his return was a bit too quick.

Devontae Booker is still waiting in the wings to take a larger role if Barkley is held back to recover longer before being brought back into the fold fully, but based on his own poor numbers from last Sunday, that may not be the most encouraging prospect for those hoping to see an improvement in the rushing attack against Washington.

The New York Giants might have a big problem at left guard

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

In just the first week of training camp, the expected starting offensive guard for the New York Giants, Shane Lemieux, suffered a knee injury that has kept him out ever since. Slowly rehabilitating and working his way back from the injury, Lemieux is still projected to be the Week 1 starter against the Denver Broncos. However, the knee issue he is facing is far more significant than originally reported.

Head coach Joe Judge indicated that Lemieux’s injury wasn’t notable and that the team had dodged a bullet. Nonetheless, it was discovered that Lemieux was dealing with a partially torn patellar tendon, which doesn’t bode well for the second-year player who struggled considerably during his rookie season. Shane is still committed to starting the regular season and fighting through the injury, despite the pain and the potential for a complete tendon tear.

Last season, Lemieux allowed five sacks, 14 QB hurries, and 25 pressures as one of the worst graded pass-blocking linemen in the NFL. The Giants trusting him with a starting job and injecting minimal competition was optimistic, to begin with, which led to them trading a fourth-round pick for Baltimore Ravens interior guard Ben Bredeson, a 5th round and 7th round pick.

Bredeson played in just five games last year, with all but one snap coming at in-line tight end. However, the fourth-round pick from 2020 out of Michigan had a stellar preseason at right guard, allowing just two hurries and two pressures over 182 offensive snaps.

The former Michigan stand-out has experience playing right and left guard, giving him a bit of versatility for a team that is still looking for a bonafide starter on the left side.

The Giants have a big decision to make in less than two weeks: either starting an injured player who struggled in his rookie season or plugging in a newly acquired lineman who doesn’t even know the playbook. The Giants will have to provide him with a crash course to prepare to potentially make a Week 1 appearance.

Ideally, the Giants will have Lemieux start against Denver, and Bredeson prepare for Week 2 against Washington, as the Giants play that upcoming Thursday night on a short week.

The issue at left guard is a bit more strenuous than previously thought, especially with the news regarding Lemieux’s injury. The Giants seem to be scrambling but at least have a long-term fix. There’s no guaranteeing Bredeson will pan out. The front office might’ve been a bit too confident considering the turnover they just experienced in the trenches.

New York Giants: Who should start at left guard in Week One?

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2020. 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 until just this week.

The Giants made a couple of key moves on the offensive line this week. They traded for two interior offensive linemen in Billy Price and Ben Bredeson. It was extra important that the Giants add depth to the interior after Shane Lemieux suffered a knee injury during training camp. Two Giants offensive guards also retired this summer.

Shane Lemieux is working back from an injury but is still the projected starter for Week One. The second-year left guard out of Oregon started eight games last season. But, with his injury in consideration, the case could be made for newly-acquired Ben Bredeson to start ahead of Lemieux.

The cases for and against Shane Lemieux

Shane Lemieux started the final eight games of the 2020 season for the New York Giants as a rookie. The Giants would like to keep some continuity across the offensive line this season. Starting Lemieux would allow the team to accomplish that goal.

Shane Lemieux is a young, developing player. He worked extremely hard this summer, sometimes showing up to the facility prior to 6 am to prepare for practice. An improved version of Lemieux was expected to hit the field this season after he struggled in 2020.

In 2020, Shane Lemieux earned a 32.2 overall PFF grade. He was a liability in pass protection, allowing 25 pressures and 5 sacks in eight games.

Shane Lemieux has worked hard to improve his game this offseason and the Giants want to keep that continuity. However, Lemieux is dealing with a partially torn patellar tendon. The team could consider giving Shane some extra time to heal and starting one of their newly-acquired linemen instead.

The cases for and against Ben Bredeson

If the Giants are going to start one of their newly acquired offensive linemen, Ben Bredeson is far more likely to start than Billy Price. Billy Price is mainly a center and the Giants feel comfortable with Nick Gates at that position.

Ben Bredeson, however, is traditionally an offensive guard. He is also coming off of an impressive 2021 preseason. Ben Bredeson was the 11th highest graded guard of the preseason (80.8), per PFF. Bredeson actually played the most snaps (182) among all guards this preseason.

It might be a bit short notice for Ben Bredeson to start for the Giants. They acquired him with under two weeks to go until the start of the regular season. Bredeson is not going to have the same level of chemistry with his teammates or the same depth of knowledge in the playbook that Shane Lemieux has.

Ben Bredeson might be the better, more established, and healthier player between the two. However, it might be a bit short notice for him to start a game for his new team. The New York Giants offensive line struggled greatly in the preseason and is a cause for major concern as the regular season begins. The Giants are going to have to make a confident decision and hope for the best at the left guard position.

New York Giants: Shane Lemieux “avoided worst-case scenario” injury, says HC Joe Judge

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants kicked off training camp this week and on the second day of practice already had a major injury scare. Projected starting left guard Shane Lemieux was carted off of the field on the second day of practice. It was later revealed that Lemieux suffered a knee injury, though the severity of that injury was not initially revealed.

As the Giants get back at it for the third day of practice today, head coach Joe Judge spoke to the media and provided an update on Shane Lemieux’s injury status. According to Judge, the “worst-case scenario looks to have been avoided.”

The worst-case scenario would have been a season-ending injury for Lemieux. Thankfully, that has been avoided, and Giants fans will get to see Shane Lemieux suit up at some point this season. However, there is currently no timetable for Shane Lemieux’s return. Giants fans can expect to see players such as Zach Fulton and Kenny Wiggins fill in during Lemieux’s absence.

Joe Judge on Shane Lemiuex’s injury status

Joe Judge could not provide the media with too many details regarding Shane Lemieux’s injury status. But he did promise that more updates will be given in the coming days. Judge said sometime in the next “24-48 hours” the team will have a better understanding of “where he’s at.” The team cannot yet make a diagnosis on Shane.

One thing I’ll tell you about Shane, he’s kind of like a wild animal, he’d chew his leg off through a bear trap if he had to, so him not being out here kind of drives him nuts. – Joe Judge on Shane Lemieux after suffering a knee injury this week

It seems that Shane Lemieux will make a return to the practice field sooner than later. The second-year guard from Oregon was on the practice field today. Lemieux was out there, watching the whole practice today, and was seen walking off the field with his helmet on alongside Will Hernandez (Pat Leonard NYDN).

Kenny Wiggins filled in for Shane Lemieux as the starting left guard during today’s practice (Zack Rosenblatt According to Rosenblatt, the Giants are keen on keeping Will Hernandez at right guard.

The New York Giants caught a huge break with Shane Lemieux. The Giants are already thin on the offensive line and could not afford to lose one of their starters this early in the season. Shane Lemieux is a young hog molly who struggled as a rookie but has worked hard to improve and prepare for the 2021 season. Thankfully, this injury should not prevent Lemieux from seeing the field in the regular season.

The New York Giants’ lack of OL depth could prove to be costly this season

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

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.

New York Giants could roll into 2021 with an unaltered offensive line

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants are preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft, which takes place in just two weeks. The Giants did a tremendous job this offseason addressing their needs in free agency. New York signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph to give Daniel Jones the weapons he needed. They also took a risk and signed cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a big deal to solidify their secondary.

There is one area on offense, though, that went mostly untouched through free agency. Many consider the Giants’ offensive line to be the biggest weakness on the team’s roster. But, looking ahead to the draft and regular season, it appears that the Giants might not feel the same way. It seems like the Giants are confident in their young offensive linemen and expect them to thrive in expanded roles this season.

What will the 2021 offensive line look like?

The tackles

General manager Dave Gettleman and the Giants are confident in what they have at right tackle. New York went offensive line in the first, third, and fifth rounds of the NFL Draft last year. In round three, the Giants selected offensive tackle, Matt Peart, out of UConn. The rookie tackle looked like a solid contributor in his rookie season when he saw the field, albeit in a limited number of snaps. But Gettleman gave his public show of support to Matt Peart, saying he is confident that Peart can start at right tackle this season.

Additionally, the Giants are getting Nate Solder back on a reworked deal after he opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Solder could be a key addition to the lineup, whether he ends up playing right tackle or kicking out to swing tackle. Regardless, the Giants are comfortable with what they have on the right side of the line and are unlikely to reach on a tackle at any point in the draft.

Andrew Thomas was the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for the Giants. He had his ups and downs in his rookie season, but Thomas flashed enough and looks like he will turn into a quality long-term starter to protect Daniel Jones’s blindside.

The interior

On the interior of the offensive line, the Giants have some major question marks. New York cut their best lineman, right guard Kevin Zeitler, as a cap casualty. Now they are left with some questionable starters.

Shane Lemieux started the final 8 games at right guard for the Giants last season. He showed some potential as a decent run blocker but struggled severely in pass protection. There is a lot to like about Lemieux’s game and demeanor, and the Giants seem to be very high on Lemieux, but New York needs him to take a huge step forward to feel comfortable with him as a starting guard in 2021.

Assuming Lemieux continues as the starter at left guard, who will be the new man at right guard? The Giants potentially have that guy on their roster already. Through the first eight games of the 2020 season, Will Hernandez started at left guard, as he had the past two years as well. But Hernandez struggled a lot in the first half of the season and ultimately lost his starting position.

Could the Giants plug Hernandez back in the starting lineup this season? It is very possible that they go that route. Hernandez is a former second-round pick that showed a lot of promise as a rookie. But the Giants could potentially address the interior of their offensive line in the second round of the NFL Draft.

One position on the interior where continuity is expected is at center. Nick Gates impressed the fan base and the coaching staff in 2020. Last season was Gates’s first year playing center. Gates showed a lot of growth as the season went on and looks to be a quality starter going forward.

Why fans think the line is in need of an upgrade

The Giants seem pretty confident in this young group of guys that it has on the offensive line. But fans are skeptical. The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. So while the Giants did upgrade Daniel Jones’s weapons in free agency, fans feel like they still desperately need to fix the offensive line in front of him. It will be intriguing to see whether or not the Giants address the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft at the end of this month.

New York Giants should see further offensive line improvements in 2021

New York Giants, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants‘ offensive line was inconsistent in 2020. The Giants have had struggles across their offensive line for years now. It is a problem the Giants seemingly cannot fix. However, they are slowly working towards improving the offensive line, investing plenty of assets into the unit over the past two years.

The Giants traded for Kevin Zeitler in 2019 and signed Nate Solder to a huge contract in the 2018 free agency period. These are the two moves New York has made to acquire veteran talent on the offensive line. In 2020, though, the Giants shifted towards a more youthful approach on the offensive line.

New York spent the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on left tackle Andrew Thomas. They then doubled down at the position in the third round, selecting offensive tackle Matt Peart with pick number ninety-nine. But the Giants were not done there. They also spent a fifth-round pick on offensive guard Shane Lemieux in 2020.

These rookies saw plenty of playing time in the 2020 regular season. However, their performance was not always consistently good. However, there are reasons to believe that the Giants’ offensive line will improve further in 2021.

Continuity is key

The New York Giants’ offensive line severely lacked continuity and experience in 2020. Along with the rookies that saw extensive playing time, the Giants started second-year lineman Nick Gates at center, a position he had never played before. Gates was practically a rookie as well.

Taking that into consideration, the Giants had experienced players at only two of the five offensive line positions last season. Right guard Kevin Zeitler is an excellent, veteran player. Right tackle Cam Fleming is also an experienced veteran. However, the rest of the line was comprised of rookies and inexperienced players for the majority of the season.

The Giants also had no continuity along their offensive line. In terms of calling protections and passing off stunts, continuity and chemistry is crucial. No one on the Giants’ offensive line in 2020 lined up next to a teammate that they lined up next to in 2019.

Kevin Zeitler was placed between a brand new center and a brand new right tackle. The absence of Nate Solder left rookie Andrew Thomas as the Giants’ starting left tackle, sandwiching the left guard position between two newly acquired players.

The 2021 season will see the Giants’ offensive line play with far more chemistry and continuity than they did in 2020. There is not likely to be much overturn at all along New York’s offensive line. There could be a change made at the right tackle position, but the other four positions will likely be manned by the same players from last season. Additionally, the Giants made a change at the offensive line coach position midseason in 2020. Hopefully, in 2021, New York’s front line can enjoy the coaching of a singular coach. This second-year together could allow the Giants’ offensive line to grow and develop into a more continuous and consistent unit.

New York Giants getting everything and more out of 2020 rookie class

New York Giants, Tae Crowder

The New York Giants are on a four-game winning streak. This is the longest winning streak the Giants have been on since 2016. New York is also in first place in the NFC East after beating a tough 8-3 Seahawks team on the road this Sunday. The Giants look poised to make a playoff run this season, proving their legitimacy while beating one of the best offenses in the NFL in Seattle.

One of the biggest difference-makers on the Giants this season has been their 2020 rookie class. New York has seen early returns on nearly every single rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. These rookies have been crucial to the Giants’ success in recent weeks.

Rookies on offense

On the offensive line, the Giants have been seeing their young, inexperienced players improve every single week. Andrew Thomas had the best performance of his young career so far this week against Seattle. For the second week in a row, Thomas did not allow a single pressure in pass protection. He also recorded the highest single-game Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 87.1 overall. Not only was this his highest-graded single game this year, but it was also the highest single-game grade among all first-round offensive tackle picks this season (PFF).

Right beside Andrew Thomas is Shane Lemieux, the Giants’ fifth-round pick from Oregon who has been starting at left guard for the past few weeks. The entire offensive line has played significantly better since Lemieux entered the lineup. Lemieux has had his fair share of ups and downs, but he has been very impressive when considering where he was drafted. Lemieux has also been improving week-by-week and looks like he will be with Big Blue for a long time.

In addition to the two rookies on the offensive line, Nick Gates has gotten better every week playing a brand new position. Initially, a guard, then a tackle, Nick Gates has transitioned to the center position and played at a high level in recent weeks after some great struggles early in the season. Gates is basically a rookie as he is learning and playing a brand new position this year. He has shown tremendous progress, though, and is already locked into a contract extension that should keep him as the Giants’ starting center for years to come.

Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Austin Mack also has a game this season as the Giants’ leading receiver. The Giants’ other rookie offensive tackle, Matt Peart (selected 99th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft), has not elevated to starting status yet. However, he has seen playing time while rotating in at both left and right tackle this season. He has been super impressive whenever he is on the field and could play his way into a starting role sooner than later.

Rookies on defense

The defensive side of the ball is where the Giants have really seen their rookies contribute this year. New York has been starting rookies at multiple defensive positions this year. Darnay Holmes, New York’s fourth-round selection out of UCLA, has started at slot cornerback all season long. Holmes has, like the rest, improved every single week. He certainly has not been a liability like the slot cornerback position has been for the Giants in the past. Holmes had his first career interception against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week. A promising future seems to be laid out for Darnay Holmes and the Giants’ defense.

The second half of the Giants’ 2020 NFL Draft class was filled with defensive selections. New York drafted the likes of Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, and Tae Crowder in the sixth and seventh rounds. Whether earned through merit or obtained through injuries, these rookies have all seen significant playing time in the Giants’ defense.

Tae Crowder, Mr. Irrelevant from the 2020 NFL Draft, has been starting on the Giants’ defense this year when healthy. Crowder has been so impressive for a player who nearly went undrafted. Crowder recorded a clutch sack against the Seahawks this week and recorded a game-winning scoop-and-score fumble recovery against Washington earlier this season. He has exceeded all expectations as a starting inside linebacker for the Giants this year.

Crowder was one pick away from going undrafted. When speaking of undrafted rookies, it is hard not to talk about Niko Lalos, the Giants’ undrafted gem out of Dartmouth. Lalos was elevated to the Giants’ active roster last week before their matchup with the Bengals. In his first NFL game, Lalos recorded an interception and earned more playing time this week. Of course, the Ivy League animal went ahead and recovered a fumble this week against Seattle. This undrafted rookie has been forcing turnovers left and right.

Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin were two under-the-radar linebackers that the Giants found late in the 2020 NFL Draft. Coughlin has seen increased playing time with EDGE Kyler Fackrell recently placed on injured reserve. Coughlin has played 79 defensive snaps this season, already totaling 6 combined tackles, 1 sack, 8 total pressures, and 6 hurries. Cam Brown has played 48 snaps, recording 5 pressures 3 hurries, and 8 combined tackles already.

Second-round pick Xavier McKinney has yet to see expanded playing time after returning from a fractured foot, but he is sure to be part of New York’s long-term defensive plans as well.

The Giants have seen early returns on nearly every rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. It was a job fantastically done by Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and company, acquiring young, talented players this offseason. The future is bright in the Big Apple.

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.