A Glimpse of 2017 Comes Back to Haunt the Giants in Season Opener
It may be a new year, but a major problem that haunted the New York Giants throughout last season came back to bite them in a 20-15 home opening loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. An all too familiar narrative for Giants fans, Big Blue’s offensive line failed them once again to begin the new season.
The 2017-2018 season was not one to remember for Giants. Big Blue ended the season at 3-13, good for last in the NFC East. At the end of the season, one thing was for certain for the G-Men, its offensive line needed a revamp.
An offseason which focused on re-tooling the glaring whole the Giants offensive line presented seemed to be all for not Sunday afternoon. An overhauled offensive line that includes left tackle Nate Solder, who the Giants made the highest paid offensive linemen in the league back in May, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Patrick Omameh, and Ereck Flowers, had a tough time matching up with Jacksonville’s defensive front.
The Struggles Continue
On the third offensive play of the Giants young season, Flowers, who struggled mightily last season, is called for a holding penalty inches away from the G-Men’s goal line. Not long thereafter, Flowers is called for a tripping infraction. Over the offseason, the Giants decided to move Flowers off of quarterback Eli Manning’s blind side. This move was in hopes of offering the QB more protection. This decision did not pay its dividends. Flowers ended the game as one of the main causes for two sacks made on Manning.
Meanwhile, others on the Giants offensive line like Hernandez simply looked overmatched against the Jags defensive line. Solder is beaten on several occasions, failing to provide the stability he was paid for. Patrick Omameh struggled just as much as his linemate Flowers.
Big Blue’s offensive line did not provide much room for the number two overall pick Saquon Barkley to run. Running behind a subpar line, Barkley only averaged minus-four-tenths of a yard prior to contact in his eight first-half carries. Through three quarters, Barkley was averaging just over two rush yards per carry. If not for Barkley’s breakaway 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, his performance would have taken a hit.
The Giants offensive line is not yet where it should be. If the G-Men hopes to return to the playoffs this season, it needs its offensive line to show up. Manning hit six times. This is not acceptable for an aging quarterback who sustained many hard hits last season.
After taking the job as head coach, Pat Shurmur mentioned that the team would only go as far as the offensive line could block for them. If Sunday is any indication, this could be a long season for the Giants.
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