Will Beatty helps Ahmad Bradshaw score a touchdown during a game against Washington last season. The Giants need the third-year tackle to step up in 2011. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
It is hardly a news flash that the New York Giants offensive line was not as good in the 2010-2011 season as it had been in previous years. Aging and riddled with injuries, the patched-together line did a good job most of the time but hardly resembled the group that was thought to possibly be football's best just a couple of years prior to that.
Well, our friends at Pro Football Focus took some of their data and put together offensive line rankings based on last season. PFF's numbers confirm what our eyes told us while watching the games -- the line isn't what it used to be. PFF ranked the Giants line 13th in the NFL last season, down from sixth overall a season prior to that.
Here is PFF's summary:
Run Rank 17th, Pass Rank 9th, Penalties Rank 14th
Age is starting to catch up with some of the guys on this line, with their bodies becoming susceptible to injuries. Nowhere was this more evident than as a group of run blockers, leaving their backs to get more yards after contact than they’ve been accustomed to.
Best Player: You want a right tackle to hold his own in pass protection and run roughshod over people with his run blocking. You want Kareem McKenzie.
Biggest Concern: It’s important to remember David Diehl was initially a left guard, and a good one at that. You can’t expect him to deal with pass rushers like DeMarcus Ware.
I have said this before, but this is more evidence. The Giants desperately need Will Beatty to step up in 2011-2012 and become the left tackle the Giants envisioned when they drafted him in the 2009 second round. On the current roster, he is the one guy who can really change the perception that the line is an aging, fading unit.