How Worried Should the Giants Be?
With opening night in Dallas looming just three weeks away, the Giants look anything but ready to perform at a high standard. In their 21-0 loss to the Bills during the second week of preseason action, a multitude of issues were fully exposed. The issue at the forefront for New York, and arguably the most crucial, is the performance of the offensive line.
Check the full highlights from Saturday here.
Throughout the game, the Bills were able to put pressure on Eli Manning seemingly every time he dropped back. New York's running game was also non-existent, as that line up front consistently crumbled.
So what needs to happen for the Giants O-line to protect Eli, and open holes for their backs?
It starts with the left side of that line. Justin Pugh at left guard, and second-year left tackle Ereck Flowers must be more consistent. Both first round draft picks in 2013 and 2015, respectively, these two have not fully lived up to their potential on draft day just yet. The 22-year old Flowers was selected 9th overall last year, and is the highest drafted Miami Hurricane on the O-line since Bryant McKinnie back in 2002. Covering Eli's blind side, his role will be pivotal. Justin Pugh, the 26-year old out of Syracuse, has put on major pounds in preparation for this season. Now weighing in at over 300lbs, you would hope that helps solidify the left side of that line. This side is essentially the backbone of the entire Giants offense, and production hinges on their play every time they take the field.
The opposite side of the line is what could spell trouble for the Giants as the season progresses. After cutting Geoff Schwartz, head coach Ben McAdoo decided to roll with two 5-year vets in Jerry and Newhouse. The two have been criticized greatly leading up to camp, and have not given critics a reason to hush up just yet. Newhouse whiffed on a block early in Saturday's preseason game, and had communication issues with tight end Larry Donnell.
“Just lapses in execution,” Newhouse said. “The runs were there, but there was a holding call here and a missed assignment there. Not good technique. There are just those little things that end up being big things. They look glaring on the film, so it’s about fixing them.”
With just three weeks to prepare for the season, it seems as if the offensive line has their work cut out for them going forward. It'll be interesting to see just how they perform in their next preseason matchup against the Jets on Saturday. For now, Giants fans have to hope that this offensive line ties up their loose ends, and works hard in practice this week.
Look for Victor Cruz to return to practice, more to follow~