A Solution At Left Guard Continues To Evade Jerry Reese.
NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: No Quarter...
I thank the Giants for losing the final game of the season. It makes it easier to keep things in proper perspective, for we need to call the Giants what they were: a woefully inconsistent team.
I can't have a late season surge against the Titans, Hogs, and Rams, change any minds or lend false hope; not again.
Last season, this team lost six straight games. This season, they lost seven straight games. The only team they defeated with a winning record were the (9-7) Houston Texans in Week Three. Otherwise, their 25-24 Week Thirteen loss to the Jaguars was truly the low point of their disappointing 6-10 season.
Problem #1 - The Offensive Line: There's Still A Place In This League For Smash Mouth Football.
Everything starts up front, and the Giants biggest problem remains left guard.
Guard Geoff Schwartz was signed to big money last off-season, and has played all of two inconsequential games for the Giants. He initially started the season on IR for a toe injury, then wound up recently needing surgery to both his ankle and leg.
The Giants signed free agent Adam Snyder late in the pre-season to compensate for Schwartz. But, Snyder only managed to play parts of four games, and wound up on IR for a knee as well.
The Giants then tasked rookie Weston Richburg with protecting Eli Manning's blind side.
The Giants started the same offensive line for the first 10 games of the season: Will Beatty, Weston Richburg, J.D. Walton, John Jerry, and Justin Pugh.
Beatty, Walton, and Jerry, started all 16 games this season. Richburg played in all 16 games, and started 15 games, while Pugh started 14 games. While not the original plan, that amounts to a very healthy season, which is promising.
Behind them, Dallas Reynolds was a routine contributor, while Brandon Mosley played in 9 games.
To his credit, center J.D. Walton played a full schedule after missing nearly all of the previous two seasons. In 2012 while with the Broncos, he went down with a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle. He's certainly been an improvement over David Baas.
However, there is much to consider moving forward.
The Giants running game ranked 23rd in the NFL last season. The Giants barely rushed for 100 yards per game this season (100 yards per game none the less), hardly enough to compliment the NFL's 7th rated passing attack (which started the season without Odell Beckham, and ended without Victor Cruz).
The O-Line has gotten marginally better at protecting Eli Manning, and their run blocking remains well below par. There's no push forward; there's no wearing down of the opponent in the 4th quarter; they simply lack power.
A strong O-Line and running game is the best way to keep the opposing offense off the field; it's the best way to control the clock; it's the key to play-action and creating big plays down field; and the best way to preserve Eli Manning in the latter years of his career.
That's why Jerry Reese needs to spent another 1st round draft pick on a beefy, studly, left guard - a franchise left guard - and steer clear of all these injury prone cast-offs. There's reasons why they become available. The Giants simply need better play from Eli's blind side.
Jerry Reese also needs to either upgrade the tight end position, or get his hands on a traditional lead blocking fullback, or both. If Rashad Jennings (if healthy) and Andre Williams get the assistance they need up front, then they should be able to spot the daylight.
And on that note, Will Beatty is another point of contention for me. He is costly, and is a technique pass protector. He offers little with regards to the running game. At his price, he's just not strong enough. His position needs to be reconsidered.
There is a place in today's NFL for smash mouth football. It's time this organization got back to its roots.